Major works in the country’s most historic opera house
Philadelphia’s only producer of grand opera, the Opera Philadelphia is home to some of the industry’s brightest singers, composers, directors and conductors. The company typically presents four opera productions, six performances each, per season.
The company’s performance venue — the Academy of Music — is another draw. In 2002, the Academy of Music, the oldest opera house continuously in use in the U.S., underwent a renovation to remove its 19th-century stage equipment. The Opera Company now has its sets built precisely to The Academy’s 21st century dimensions in a production facility owned by the Opera Company itself.
Behind-the-scenes glimpses into the company’s productions are provided in “Opera Insights”, along with English translations projected above the stage, “A Taste of Opera” lectures providing a look inside current productions, and outreach programs designed to both educate and entertain.
Opera posters by Rafal Olbinski and exquisite costumes by Richard St. Clair enhance the company’s production values. Many performances are broadcast and Web cast by WHYY-TV 12 and 91 FM.
Longtime rivals, the Philadelphia Grand Opera and Philadelphia Lyric Opera merged in 1975 to pool resources and form OperaPhiladelphia. Under general director Margaret Anne Everitt’s tenure (1980 to 1991), Luciano Pavarotti was a frequent guest; the company produced four cycles of the tenor’s multi-winner International Voice Competitions.
Important premieres by Britten and Debussy were realized, including a double bill of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas featuring Jessye Norman in her American stage operatic debut. Since 1991, general director Robert P. Driver has overseen the company’s dramatic expansion, record subscriptions and fiscal stability.
1420 Locust Street
The Academy of Music
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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260 South Broad Street The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA 19102
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