Opera Philadelphia, creating new films on its own streaming channel

Posted on: January 26, 2021

“What can an opera company actually do in a pandemic? … Opera Philadelphia pluckily spent 2020 commissioning new work and launching its own streaming service,” writes Seth Colter Walls in Friday’s (1/22) New York Times. “OperaPhila.tv, which debuted in October … so far features just one vintage broadcast: an engaging 2015 production of Verdi’s ‘La Traviata,’ featuring a then-rising soprano Lisette Oropesa. Everything else, including a new version of David T. Little’s ‘Soldier Songs’ … has been produced during the pandemic…. What’s most notable about OperaPhila.tv is … the strength of the work on offer [including] tenor Lawrence Brownlee [in] Tyshawn Sorey’s ‘Cycles of My Being.’ … When the baritone Johnathan McCullough proposed turning a new production of the chamber-sized ‘Soldier Songs,’ originally planned for the stage, into a film, Opera Philadelphia President David Devan quickly gave it the green light…. To my eye, this production of ‘Soldier Songs’ ranks with some of the best vintage work in filmed opera.… Devan said that when live, in-person performances resume, the company might take a fusion of approaches. ‘We want to integrate this cinematic work into our in real-life performance world, so that at Opera Philadelphia, you can choose,’ he said.”