Star countertenor David Daniels will perform the title role in Theodore Morrison’s “Oscar” in February.
Opera Philadelphia’s 40th anniversary repertoire, announced earlier this week, is the company’s most ambitious and star-studded to date. Some of opera’s most well-known singers will be performing in the City of Brotherly Love as part of the five-production 2014-2015 season.
It is one of the first times in recent history that Opera Philadelphia has attracted internationally known and acclaimed performers to its stages at the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts — it’s not every day that Philadelphia audiences are treated to the likes of David Daniels (who many would contend is the world’s leading operatic countertenor), Lawrence Brownlee (an internationally known bel canto specialist, although he won’t be performing from that repertoire in Philly), and Eric Owens (a Philadelphia native whose bass-baritone has been heard at opera houses the world over.)
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In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.
Today: The gifted Cory O’Neill Walker, a recent Philly transplant who has dazzled his way into the local art scene as a singer, actor, designer, composer and all-around lovely spirit. Locally, Cory performs regularly with the Network for New Music, Opera Philadelphia, and The Mendelssohn Club Chorus, but he may be most recognizable for his recent Fringe Festival offerings L’Heure Exquise and Cupids’s Little Prick. Last year he founded Philly’s Artsong Repertory Theater Company (ARTCy), a project that seeks to bring obscure pieces of classical music to the masses. And heads up to any of you aspiring songbirds: He also runs a vocal studio where he teaches people to sing anything from opera to pop to jazz. (Full disclosure: I took lessons from him last year, and would recommend him in a heartbeat.)
Seven questions with Cory O’Neill Walker after the jump
Photo by Fernando Daniel Fernandez.
Five actors shoot three characters at point-blank range on a stage. Then the executioners break into a choreographed flamenco number immediately after, firing their guns to the beat of the music.
You might think I’m describing some sort of variation on the “Springtime for Hitler” sequence in Mel Brook’s The Producers, where we are supposed to laugh at the absurdly developed (on purpose, mind you) theatrical production about the Nazi regime.
But you’d be wrong.
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Cell phone usage and high art usually don’t mix — that is, unless you wish to be a patron of the “wanna-be-so-edgy-it-hurts” Opera Philadelphia. Last week, the company announced that select sections of the audience can live-tweet during the opening-night performance of its latest production, Ainadamar: Fountain of Tears. Its website literally bills the event as follows: “Ever wanted to break the ‘please turn off your cellphones’ rule at the Academy of Music? Here is your chance!”
Opera Philadelphia: What the hell is this?
Or, perhaps, I should rephrase that: @OperaPhila, what the #hell is this? #opera #amateurhour
There’s no doubt Opera Philadelphia has been trying to re-define itself as a relevant artistic company, not only in the city, but in the opera scene nationally and internationally. The company’s name change, from Opera Company of Philadelphia to its current title in 2013, was a clear enough indication of some sort of shift in artistic and public perception.
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