Sunday, July 14, 2024

Digital Festival O

Opera Philadelphia presents its first-ever digital festival this summer with free on-demand streams of past productions. Enjoy opera on the couch with their first-ever Digital Festival O, featuring streams of Denis & KatyaWe Shall Not Be MovedThe Barber of SevilleSky on Swings, and Breaking the Waves.

All the operas can be viewed on Youtube until August 31, 2020
For more information visit:

Opera 1: Denis & Katya

Digital Premiere on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
World Premiere during Festival O19
Music by Philip Venables
Libretto by Ted Huffman
Performed in English and Russian with English subtitles
Turn on YouTube subtitles by selecting the “CC” icon

They could have been your teenage children, best friends, or classmates. Two beautiful 15-year-olds who lived every moment−including their last−online. What led to their violent deaths? Why did they choose to broadcast their final moments on social media? And what does it say about the voyeuristic society who watched, liked, and objectified them, transforming two kids into clickbait? 

This visceral production from composer Philip Venables and director Ted Huffman−the duo behind the award-winning 4.48 Psychosis−uses verbatim text to examine the vast public response to the events surrounding the tragedy of Russian runaways Denis Muravyov and Katya Vlasova, exploring how stories are shaped and shared in our age of trolls, conspiracy theories, fake news, and 24/7 digital connection. 

This broadcast contains some strong language.

Video by Dave Tavani. Since its world premiere during Festival O19, Denis & Katya was named one of the best classical music performances of the year by The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and is a 2020 International Opera Award nominee for Best New Opera.

Opera 2: We Shall Not Be Moved

Digital Premiere on Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
World Premiere during Festival O17
Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain
Libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Performed in English with English subtitles
Turn on YouTube subtitles by selecting the “CC” icon

On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philly teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is assuaged and even inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance rather than urgent fear. This World Premiere chamber opera by Daniel Bernard Roumain, an acclaimed composer and performer whose work defies genre, and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, an arts activist known for spoken‐word performance, is “ambitiously interdisciplinary,” according to Bill T. Jones, the celebrated director, choreographer, dramaturge, and dancer. Combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility, We Shall Not Be Moved is a timely exploration of past and present struggles which suggests an alternate future through the eyes of its young protagonists.This broadcast contains some strong language and violence.

This broadcast contains some strong language and violence.

Opera 3: The Barber of Seville

Digital Premiere on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
(Il barbiere di Siviglia)
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Performed in Italian with English subtitles
Production Premiere in September 2014

Rossini’s rapid-fire romp kicks off with a famous overture and veers into a hilarious series of disguises, trickery and tomfoolery. Determined to win the heart of the beautiful, strong-willed Rosina (mezzo Jennifer Holloway, in her role and company debuts) with charm and wit— rather than nobility and wealth—Count Almaviva (tenor Taylor Stayton) enlists the help of the wily Figaro (baritone Jonathan Beyer) to steal her away from the lecherous Dr. Bartolo (bass Kevin Burdette). This 19th-century love story gets a rousing facelift complete with vibrant Spanish staging that evokes the comic films of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and a catalog of hits from the famous “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!” of “Largo al factotum” to Rosina’s equally spectacular “Una voce poco fa.”

Opera 4: Sky on Swings

Digital Premiere on Friday, May 22, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
World Premiere during Festival O18
Music by Lembit Beecher
Libretto by Hannah Moscovitch
Performed in English with English subtitles
Turn on YouTube subtitles by selecting the “CC” icon

Is there any grace in forgetting? This chamber opera finds fleeting beauty in memory loss through an unflinching yet uplifting exploration of living with Alzheimer’s disease. Frederica von Stade and Marietta Simpson embody this fantastical world premiere from composer Lembit Beecher, librettist Hannah Moscovitch, and director Joanna Settle.This broadcast contains some strong language.

Opera 5: Breaking the Waves

Digital Premiere on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
World Premiere in September 2016
Music by Missy Mazzoli
Libretto by Royce Vavrek
Based on the film by Lars von Trier (Zentropa Entertainments3)
Performed in English with English subtitles
Turn on YouTube subtitles by selecting the “CC” icon

This World Premiere chamber opera by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek is based on the 1996 Academy Award-nominated film by Lars von Trier. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, Breaking the Waves tells the story of Bess McNeill, a religious young woman with a deep love for her husband Jan, a handsome oil rig worker. When Jan becomes paralyzed in an off-shore accident, Bess’s marital vows are put to the test as he encourages her to seek other lovers and return to his bedside to tell him of her sexual activities. He insists that the stories will feel like they are making love together and keep him alive. Bess’s increasing selflessness leads to a finale of divine grace, but at great cost.

Winner of the 2017 award for Best New Opera from the Music Critics Association of North AmericaThis broadcast contains violence, strong language, sexual situations, and partial nudity. Recommended for mature audiences.


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