Opera Philadelphia Announces First Annual Opera on a Film Series
Short Films: The Opera We Made
Thursday, September 29, 6 p.m.
An evening of shorts commissioned and produced for streaming on Opera Philadelphia Channel in 2021, making their theatrical debut at the O22 Festival.
Save the Boys, Tyshawn Sorey’s world premiere based on an 1887 poem by abolitionist, writer and black women’s rights activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, performed by countertenor John Holiday and pianist Grant Loehnig. (21:02)
Blessed, composer Courtney Bryan’s multi-layered exploration of darkness and light, hope and love, created in response to the defining events of 2020, in collaboration with filmmaker Tiona Nekkia McClodden, soprano Janinah Burnett, singer Damian Norfleet and sound designer Rob Kaplowitz. (22:02)
We need to talk; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and director Maureen Towey create an environment filled with tension and energy in this short film based on a poem by Anne Carson. Soprano Ariadne Greif embodies a young woman in conversation with herself, recalling our isolated quarantine days: days of frustration, joy and sorrow. (10:44)
TakTakShoo, the fusion of opera and K-pop, marimba, electronics and dance by composer Rene Orth, which creates an eclectic world of sound and movement. With a libretto by playwright Kanika Ambrose, the film stars mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi as an energizing life force inviting people to come into the world again, and is directed by Emmy-nominated director and choreographer Jeffrey L. Page (11:58)
dwb (driving in black) + Soul (Signs): Opera
Thursday, September 29, 9 p.m.
Filmmakers Du’Bois and Camry A’Keen’s 2021 adaptation of Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel’s solo opera incorporates elements of dance, music video production and intimate storytelling. dwb (black driving) is a montage of poetic and haunting moments examining the trials and triumphs that black mothers experience as their children grow up in a society plagued by racism and inequality. In the central story, we meet the Mother (soprano Karen Slack) in her house. The dangerous outside world, however, is beyond his control, and anxiety rises in his mind and heart as his “handsome brown boy” approaches manhood and the realities of modern life as a black person in America. . Produced by UrbanArias.
Soul(Signs): Opera is a 2022 series of three shorts exploring the intersection of opera and American Sign Language. In a queer twist, ASL on Mozart The magic flute, Dickie Hearts signs the role of Papageno and Brandon Kazen-Maddox signs the role of Papagena, with a new audio recording of baritone John Taylor Ward and countertenor Jordan Rutter. Brandon Kazen-Maddox signs the role of Emile Griffith in an ASL version of the aria “What Makes a Man?” of Terence Blanchard’s opera Champion: A Jazz Opera, also featuring Andrew Morrill and Alberto Medero, and a new audio recording by baritone Markel Reed. In an ASL reimagining of “His Name is Jan” by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek Break the waves, Monique Holt signs the role of Bess as she takes on a chorus of church elders – signed by Seth Gore, Dickie Hearts, Andrew Morrill and Zavier Sabio. Featuring a new audio recording by soprano Kiera Duffy and students from the University of Notre Dame. Created by Up Until Now Collective and commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Columbus and Portland Opera.
The copper queen
Friday, Sept. 30, 2:00 p.m.
Originally slated to be a stage production, and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, composer-librettist John of Los Santos’ The copper queen was reimagined as Arizona Opera’s first film project, directed by Crystal Manich. Still healing from the death of her grandmother, Addison Moore (mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit) finds herself at The Copper Queen hotel in Bisbee, Arizona. Aware of ghost stories and hauntings, Addison fearlessly chooses to stay in Room 315, the site of Julia Lowell (soprano Vanessa Becerra)’s heartbroken death a century ago. But what draws Addison to room 315? And why does she want to face Julia’s ghost?
Sibyl + Polia & Blastema
Friday, September 30, 6 p.m.
South African artist William Kentridge has achieved worldwide acclaim with his powerful animated films, charcoal drawings, large-scale installations, stage direction and operatic designs. Sybil is a 10-minute film made in 2020 as a companion piece to Work in Progress, the only stage work designed by American sculptor Alexander Calder for Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera in 1968. Inspired by the movement and rotation of Calder’s works of In art, Kentridge evokes the priestess mentioned by Dante: The Sibyl of Cumae, who wrote her prophecies for the fate of people on oak leaves. The leaves at the mouth of his cave were scattered by the wind, confusing the fates of those who came to collect them. In the film, the contemporary Sibyl is portrayed as an African dancer, who dances against book pages to jazz music composed by Kyle Shepherd and vocal compositions by Nhlanhla Mahlangu. Kentridge notes that the contemporary equivalent of the Sibyl is the algorithm, which relentlessly predicts our fate. On the other hand the drawings, some made on the pages of Dante divine comedy, show changing trees, leaves, animated objects, colorful geometric shapes and dancing silhouettes. They bring new life and humanity to the attempt to discover our own destiny and the resulting feelings of fear and anxiety. With thanks to Marian Goodman Gallery New York and William Kentridge for supporting this presentation of Sibyl.
Polite and blastema (2022) is American director E. Elias Merhige’s first foray into opera (Shadow of the Vampire). This sci-fi operatic film is a Gnostic creation myth told through a visual tapestry that journeys through immensely desolate hellscapes of the inorganic as the organic spirals back on itself, fractally layering wormhole network cataclysms (being) eager. Aesthetically tempered by aspects of decay, decay, earth and the meta-myth structure of human cognition, the multi-leveled world of Polia & Blastema is informed by the visual imagination of David Wexler, a celebrated visual artist who was the mastermind behind live performances by Flying Lotus, The Weeknd and The Glitch Mob, among many other artists. It is also informed by Viennese Actionism as much as Eugene Thacker’s notions of “the world without us”, supernatural horror and dissolution, expressed in the separation and (re)union of two entities that end by enjoying each other. in ritual ecstasy. Starring Nina McNeely and Jasmine Albuquerque and starring singers Micaela Tobin and Sharon Chohi Kim, Polia & Blastema is a unique cinematic journey into the cosmic.
Carmen: a trendy hope
Friday, Sept. 30, 8:00 p.m.
In 2001, Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) directed this MTV adaptation of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, quoting music from the classic opera and fusing it with a new hip-hop score performed by a cast of recording artists, including Mos Def, Wyclef Jean, Lil’ Bow Wow, Da Brat, Rah Digga and Beyoncé Knowles in her acting debut as Carmen.
The human voice + The human voice
Saturday, Oct. 1, 1:00 p.m.