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.)
The season opens with Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in September at the Academy, and features rising mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway, fresh from her Metropolitan Opera performances of Verdi’s Don Carlo. This production will also stream live in HD at Independence National Historical Park on Sept. 27th, marking the fourth year of the company’s popular Opera on the Mall program.
In February 2015, the highlight of Opera Philadelphia’s seasonal repertoire opens: Theodore Morrison’s Oscar, which is not only the East Coast premiere of the new work, but features David Daniels in the title role. This co-production with Santa Fe Opera, based on the writings of gay poet Oscar Wilde, is the one to watch this upcoming season, if for no other reason than Mr. Daniels’ presence at the Academy of Music.
Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos will be presented in March at the Perelman Theater as a co-production with the Curtis Institute of Music, and will feature promising young talent from the Curtis Opera Theater.
In April, Philadelphia native Eric Owens leads the cast of Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Academy, playing the feisty King Philip II. The opera is classic Verdi, and centers on an explosive politically driven love triangle. Owens, who recently starred in Robert Lepage’s daunting, if somewhat controversial, new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Metropolitan Opera, returns to Philly in this production, what he calls “a homecoming for [his] voice.”
The season concludes at the Perelman with the world-premiere production of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, by Daniel Schnyder, featuring Lawrence Brownlee as the ill-fated jazz master in the title role. Brownlee has played opposite many of the great leading ladies of opera (Renee Fleming and Joyce DiDonato both immediately come to mind), and is one of the world’s most sought-after tenors. Philadelphia audiences will get a chance to see Brownlee in this new work, a change in pace from his traditional bel canto repertoire.
For more information on Opera Philadelphia’s upcoming 2014-15 season, including production video previews and dates, visit its website.