A Sneak Peek at Opera Philadelphia’s 2015-16 Season

Isabel Leonard.

Isabel Leonard.

Opera Philadelphia announces their 2015-16 season today, and we’ve got a first-hand preview of the divas and divos they are bringing to town to belt their brains out. Opera enthusiasts will recognize many a famous name as they peruse the upcoming talent that will take to the stage to perform classic tunes from Verdi and Donizetti, plus a few new arias they’ve never heard of before in works making their East Coast or world premieres. You’ll even note some very well-known Philly-bred artists will be making their company debuts.

The season opens in September rather unconventionally with Andy: A Popera, which is co-produced with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Venue information and distinct dates are not yet available, but the show will be helmed by Bearded Ladies’ Artistic Director John Jarboe and will feature the talents of Kristen Bailey, Scott McPheeters, Kate Raines and Sean Lally.

The fabulous Lisette Oropesa, seen on opera stages the world over, will take on Verdi’s tragic heroine Violetta in La Traviata, opening in October at the Academy of Music. Scottish director Paul Curran leads the large-scale musical forces, including tenor Alek Shrader who plays Violetta’s love interest, Alfredo, and Stephen Powell, who plays Alfredo’s father, Giorgio. This will also be the season’s popular Opera on the Mall broadcast on October 3.

The winter will usher in an amazing cast of opera greats—Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard, and Jay Hunter Morris—in the East Coast premiere of Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higdon‘s Cold Mountain. The work, which is based on the novel and movie of the same name, might easily be the highlight of the season: Gunn, Leonard, and Morris, all seasoned vets on The Met stage (and other opera houses around the globe), are quite literally a triple threat of gorgeous talent.

The season’s traditional co-production with The Curtis Institute of Music will be Strauss’s lyrical Capriccio, featuring the world-class talent of tomorrow featured today. The role of Countess Madeline is no walk in the park for the soprano who dons the part, especially her final aria, usually sung on an empty stage. It will be a treat to see who performs the role in March at the Kimmel Center’s Perleman Theatre.

The season closes in April and May with the popular Donizetti opera L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love), which will transplant the action of the comedy romp to World War II. Rising superstar soprano Sarah Shafer will play Adina, and handsome tenor Christopher Tiesi will play her befuddled lover Nemorino. The fun will take place at the Academy of Music.

Season tickets are on sale today, February 17th, starting at noon; individual tickets will go on sale this August. For more information, visit Opera Philadelphia’s website.