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Opera Philadelphia Announces Its 2016-2017 Season

Dramatic soprano Christine Goerke

Is it a grand opera company, new music ensemble, or one of the weightier additions to Philadelphia’s FringeArts Festival? Opera Philadelphia’s new season seems to be all of those things, says the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns.

David Patrick Stearns: The stentorian Christine Goerke will be the fall centerpiece of Opera Philadelphia’s 2016-2017 season with what promises to be a lavish production of Turandot that’s part dream, part nightmare - in the extreme. Interspersed in the same month will be a brand new opera, Breaking the Waves by Lansdale native Missy Mazzoli and a South African re-imagining of Verdi’s Macbeth that only a Fringe Festival could get away with. 

David Devan: We have a core group of crazy, great, fabulous opera buffs and they want to see it all.

DPS: So says Opera Philadelphia general director, David Devan. 

After Goerke in the fall, Stephanie Blythe will sing Rossini's rarely-done Tancredi.

DD: The fact that the Fringe is in the fall gives us the opportunity to coalesce the festivals and make Philadelphia a place where forward, thoughtful, progressive programming happens, both in theater, dance, and opera. It allows opera to live in that constellation.

DPS: FringeArts president Nick Stuccio tells what that Macbeth might look like: minimal set, lots of video.

Nick Stuccio: The narrative is that there’s this band of para-military quasi-governmental militia that stumbles upon a campsite where there’s a kind of trunk and they begin to discover that it is the basis for a theatrical production of Macbeth. 

DPS: Stars won’t be absent from the season. After Goerke in the fall, Stephanie Blythe will sing Rossini’s rarely-done Tancredi in the winter. Here’s the unsettling part: This new practice of clustering productions together was tried by the much smaller Vulcan Lyric last August with semi-disastrous results. One difference here, says Devan, is budget. 

DD: If you’re going to do something bold, for goodness sakes, make sure you have the money to follow through. 

DPS: And there’s always the crowd-pleasing Turandot to fall back on.