Missy Mazzoli, Frederica Von Stade Headline Opera Philadelphia’s ‘Digital Festival O’

By David Salazar

Opera Philadelphia has launched the “Digital Festival O.” which will stream five major productions from the company’s past.

“The unprecedented social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized the performing arts community, sparking generous artist relief funds and online expressions of creativity as we all navigate this challenging time in our history. Digital Festival O, which premieres when we had originally planned to gather at the Academy of Music for a live production of ‘Madame Butterfly,’ celebrates the joy so many singers, musicians, composers, librettists, conductors, directors, and designers have brought into our lives through these new operas and productions, giving us an opportunity to share in the power of music and theater while reminding us that we will all gather together again in the future,” stated David B. Devan, the General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia in a press release.

It all kicks off with “Denis & Katya,” which will be showcased starting on May 1, 2020. The work by Philip Venables and Ted Huffman had its world premiere at the O19 Festival and starred Siena Licht Miller and Theo Hoffman. It will be available on YouTube and operaphila.org.

We Shall Not Be Moved,” a work by Daniel Bernard Roumain” will be next to premiere. It will arrive on YouTube and operaphila.org starting on May 10 at 7 p.m. Audiences can also check it out on WHYY-TV at 2 p.m. that same day. It will also be available via several other TV networks including  Comcast 812 & Fios 512; Y2 is available on 12.2, Comcast 257 & Verizon Fios 474.

Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” which was produced in collaboration with Opera Theatre of St. Louis will be broadcast starting on May 15, 2020 at 8 p.m. The production stars Jonathan Beyer, Jennifer Holloway, Taylor Stayton, and Kevin Burdette, among others. It can be watched on YouTube and the company’s official website.

Lembit Beecher and Hannah Moscovitch’s “Sky on Swings” will premiere on May 22 on YouTube and the company’s official website. The work, which had its world premiere at O18, stars Marietta Simpson and Frederica Von Stade.

Finishing off the festival will be Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s iconic “Breaking the Waves,” which had its world premiere in September 2016. That performance, which will be made live to sream on May 29, 2020 on YouTube and the company’s official website, starred Kiera Duffy and John Moore.