Opera Philadelphia has revised its upcoming 2020–2021 season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, shifting its focus to the digital stage. The company will launch the Opera Philadelphia Channel in October, hosting streams of both past stagings and new content filmed specifically for the platform.
The initial streaming roster will include a virtual concert curated by tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who serves as artistic advisor to the company, with guest artists to be announced. The channel will also showcase the 2015 production of La Traviata, in which Lisette Oropesa made her role debut as Violetta (she would go on to sing the role around the world, including, earlier this year, at the Metropolitan Opera). Brownlee returns to the screen in November for a stream of Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycles of My Being, which premiered in Philadelphia in 2018 and centers the experiences of a Black man living in America.
Also on tap are a new production of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs starring Jonathan McCullough and a for-camera version of Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón (which was supposed to play this fall as part of the company’s Festival O20), as well as digital commissions to be released throughout the 2020–2021 season.
The in-person fall lineup was supposed to include Macbeth (with Sondra Radvanovsky making her role debut as Lady Macbeth) and the world premiere of composer Jennifer Higdon and librettist Jerre Dye's Woman With Eyes Closed; the productions have been pushed to 2023 and 2021, respectively. Additionally, concert performances of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, slated for January 29 and 31, 2021, will now take place in 2022.
The company now intends to resume performances at the Academy of Music in spring 2021 with its production of Tosca with Ana María Martínez, Piero Pretti, and Quinn Kelsey.
The Opera Philadelphia Channel will offer a $99 annual subscription as well as pay-per-view options for individual performances.