Philadelphia opera co.: New name, new vision

AP News
Posted: Jan 29, 2013 11:24 AM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Opera Company of Philadelphia is getting a new name that officials say is in better harmony with the organization's move toward more innovative programming, public outreach and greater diversity in its repertoire.

The company announced Tuesday, in conjunction with the unveiling of the 2013-2014 season, it will now be known simply as Opera Philadelphia. The new name and logo will appear on all of its brochures and ads.

"The rebranding is not just an expression of Opera Philadelphia's future ambitions but the next step in a creative journey that began several years ago," said David Devan, the company's president and general director.

Opera Philadelphia plans to continue bringing free performances to new audiences in famous Philadelphia locations, both with surprise "flash mob" mini-concerts as well as a live outdoor simulcast.

As in the past, the opera's spontaneous "Random Acts of Culture" performances in 2013-2014 will be announced on Twitter shortly before they begin. And on Sept. 28, Verdi's "Nabucco" will be broadcast from the august Academy of Music live — and free — on a high-definition screen outdoors on Independence Mall.

Last year's "Random Acts of Culture" at popular downtown spots like Macy's and the Reading Terminal Market received widespread kudos and millions of views on YouTube, and 3,000 people gathered on Independence Hall's lawn last fall for a simulcast of "La Boheme."

"Nabucco," a Philadelphia Opera premiere, opens the 2013-2014 season and is followed by Mozart's classic "Don Giovanni" and "Ainadamar: An Opera in Three Images," the Grammy-winning first opera from Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov that tells the story of Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca.

Rounding out the season in 2014 are the Curtis Opera Theater's new production of Francis Poulenc's "Dialogues of the Carmelites" and the East Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's "A Coffin in Egypt," a new commission and production in partnership with the Houston Grand Opera starring celebrated mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade.

"We believe this season embraces this art form in its entirety, for the full enjoyment of our local, national and international audiences," said Corrado Rovaris, Opera Philadelphia's music director.

Opera Philadelphia said it has five new operas in development and aims to present challenging contemporary works along with more standard fare.

The company was formed through the 1975 merger of the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company and the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company.