-Courtesy of Allied Global Marketing
Debuting in 2017, Opera Philadelphia’s annual, season-opening Festival O immediately garnered audience and critical acclaim, proving to be “a hotbed of operatic innovation” (New York Times) and “one of the most enjoyable additions to the fall calendar in years” (Washington Post).
Following a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, the annual 12-day gathering for opera lovers returns in September 2022 with its fourth iteration, O22, featuring the company premiere of Rossini’s rarely performed Otello at the Academy of Music in an elegant production starring tenor Khanyiso Gwenxane in his U.S. debut in the title role as well as tenor Lawrence Brownlee (Rodrigo), and Alek Shrader (Iago), vying for the affections of mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack’s Desdemona.
Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting poem inspires an evening of immersive theater, the centerpiece of which is the company premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven. The classic elegy transforms into a chilling monodrama for mezzo-soprano (Kristen Choi, Rigoletto 2022) and chamber orchestra, led by conductor Eiki Isomura, inspired by the supernatural elements of Noh theater.
Before taking their seats on the stage of the Miller Theater for The Raven, audiences will plumb the facets of Poe’s verse as they travel through the theater with a performer as their guide. A collaboration between director Aria Umezawa and the Philadelphia-based Obvious Agency, this interactive discovery of grief, love, and the afterlife will transform how audiences encounter Hosokawa’s music.
The festival will also feature the world premiere of Black Lodge, a new cinematic opera with live musical accompaniment. Part film screening and part industrial rock opera concert, this world premiere event features glam opera band Timur & the Dime Museum alongside musicians from the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra at the Philadelphia Film Center. Renowned musician Thurston Moore, known as a member of Sonic Youth, serves as executive producer. Black Lodge will then make its streaming debut on Friday, Oct. 21, the Opera Philadelphia Channel.
Presented from Tuesday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 2, Opera on Film, is a big-screen binge of the operatic art form’s cinematic possibilities, gathering both feature-length and short-form films featuring an array of artists crossing time and genres: artist and director William Kentridge; opera singers Patricia Racette, Karen Slack, Zachary James, Lester Lynch, and NBC’s The Voice finalist John Holiday; film directors James Darrah, Pedro Almodóvar, Joseph Losey, Mary Birnbaum, and E. Elias Merhige; composers Tyshawn Sorey, Rene Orth, Missy Mazzoli, Terence Blanchard, and Amanda Feery; actress Tilda Swinton; and pop superstar Beyoncé.
Alumni of the Academy of Vocal Arts return to their old training ground and are joined by current Resident Artists of the prestigious institution for a recital series, Afternoons at AVA. Internationally renowned soprano Latonia Moore (AVA ’04), recently seen in the Metropolitan Opera’s acclaimed production of Fire Shut Up in My Bones, headlines the recital on Saturday, October 1, with pianist Laura Ward. On Saturday, September 24, bass-baritone André Courville (AVA ’17) performs in recital with pianist Michael Lewis.
The Bearded Ladies Cabaret returns to Festival O22 with Late Night Snacks, a new selection of guilty pleasures, soul nourishment, and tasty performances. The mixed plate pop-up cabaret bar is 50% Philadelphia flavor, 50% neighborhood jawn, and 100% good to the last bite. This after-hours bar features different artists every night—from opera singers to drag queens, cabaret stars to art clowns, and everything in between, all baked together and seasoned to perfection, taking inspiration from the stories and history of our community. Located at “The Switch” (421 N. 7th St., Philadelphia), Late Night Snacks runs Wednesday through Sunday, now until October 2, 2022. Presented in partnership with the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
Learn more about daily events on the Opera Philadelphia website here.
The program booklet for this year’s festival is available digitally here.