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NEWS
November 1, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Opera companies can inspire the hometown loyalty of a sports team, the sort that says, "It may not be the best, but it's ours. " And when a smallish company like Opera Delaware mounts a biggish opera like Puccini's Turandot, the kind of raucous, whooping ovation it received at Saturday's opening is justified even if the production is just an approximation of the piece. The opera is full of "greatest hits" arias one applauds almost by reflex, but it also presents such casting challenges - the biggest one met by the exciting young dramatic soprano Othalie Graham - that it's not coming back any time soon outside any of the major operatic capitals.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 10, 1991 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Luxuriating in its Egyptian name, Memphis is building a giant downtown pyramid to house a sports complex. But at the other end of Main Street, at the newly restored Orpheum Theater, Opera Memphis is hoping the nine-year building project by artistic director Robert B. Driver will stand as tall. Driver, 46, who will become general director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) on March 4, said goodbye to Memphis last week after the company staged his production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 21, 1994 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition is back - and will remain in Philadelphia. Tibor Rudas, the Hungarian-born, California-based impresario behind the Three Tenors extravaganzas, is the producer, and he plans to take the competition big-time, televising the concert finals at the Academy of Music in September 1996, with audio and video releases to follow. "I'm already running it, and I'm very excited about it," Rudas said, speaking by telephone from his Pacific Grove, Calif.
NEWS
April 19, 1988 | From Inquirer Wire Services
John Reardon, 58, a former Metropolitan Opera baritone and a star of the concert hall and musical comedy, died Saturday of pneumonia at his home in Sante Fe, N.M. A spokesman described Mr. Reardon's illness as "sudden and brief. " He had recently completed national tours of Man of La Mancha and Kiss Me Kate with Opera Carolina and appeared in March with the Cleveland Opera, singing Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. His last appearance was March 11 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
NEWS
July 17, 2002 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Savvy opera companies, like nature, abhor a vacuum, and there's a big one where Benjamin Britten's smaller, brainier operas ought to be. These are among the best works of the last century, but they don't reveal their substance easily. So Opera Festival of New Jersey demonstrates courage by producing one of the most challenging Britten works of all, The Rape of Lucretia, at the McCarter Theatre Center. Although the composer's 1946 opera has few of the knotty dissonances of some modern works this company has wrestled with in past years, Lucretia poses the challenge of concision.
NEWS
September 27, 1988 | By Douglas J. Keating, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Opera Theater has been awarded $60,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts to establish a program that will take its productions to cities that do not have opera companies. Under TPOT's plan, according to artistic director Barbara Silverstein, the company would rehearse and mount productions in outlying communities during three-week residencies before opening the shows in Philadelphia. Now, Silverstein said, the company occasionally mounts its productions briefly in other cities after they have been presented to audiences here.
NEWS
July 27, 1995 | By S. Joseph Hagenmayer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Joseph M. Tomei, 102, a self-educated man and a Vineland tailor for more than three decades, died Monday at his home in Vineland. Born in Italy, Mr. Tomei also had homes in Ventnor and Ocean Ridge, Fla. At 17, Mr. Tomei, with skills in barbering and tailoring, was unable to find work in the region between Rome and Naples and came to the United States, said his son, Dr. Mario Tomei of Vineland. At first, Mr. Tomei settled in Providence, R.I., and because he couldn't speak English he worked in mills six days a week, 10 hours a day, for $3 a week, his son said.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
With its history of inhabiting and mixing song genres, Lyricfest eventually was bound to find its way to the spiritual and its offshoots, and did so Sunday with singers who packed the First Presbyterian Church: Denyce Graves, Lisa Daltirus, and Kevin Deas. Lyricfest has a penchant for spoken commentary, and this "Journey Toward Freedom" program had the Rev. Charles Rice sketching the Civil Rights movement's progress, interspersed with songs by Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and more classically slanted pieces by Ricky Ian Gordon, a great champion of Langston Hughes.
NEWS
March 3, 1997 | by Theresa Conroy, Daily News Staff Writer
Boy, does the Fat Lady have something to sing about these days. The old girl's mainstay, the opera, has been gaining a reputation as the coolest art form. Locally, the Opera Company of Philadelphia is riding this wave of popularity clear up to the rafters: For the first time in 20 years, the company is solvent. Ticket sales among those under 35 years old have doubled in the last three seasons, as going to the opera has become a great way to socialize, and a classy date.
LIVING
April 30, 1997 | By Leonard W. Boasberg, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Charles Barkley is the operatic hero, seeming to sing in Italian, in an elaborate and expensive TV commercial for an athletic shoe. Madonna the Material Girl sings, emotes and grimaces through a TV music video loosely - very loosely - based on Tosca. The commercial and the video drew laughter and applause from the audience yesterday at one of the panels of the 27th annual conference of Opera America, the service organization of 150 United States and Canadian opera companies. Elsewhere in Philadelphia during the three-day conference, a president, three former presidents, delegates and citizens were pondering ways to promote volunteerism.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 7, 2016 | David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
The jungle drums began in September, weeks after the August 2015 season of the former Center City Opera, now rechristened Vulcan Lyric. They portended so much trouble that some opera administrators might think twice about repeating the experience. The 28 performances over 18 days at the Prince Theater were a mixed success. One of the best of the four productions, Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied , about a Vietnam War veteran, had played to as few as 20 listeners. Special discounted tickets sold well, but the discounts cut into revenue.
NEWS
July 17, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Trudy Cohen, 83, a photographer and longtime Center City resident, died Wednesday, July 8, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in New York City, Mrs. Cohen graduated from Hunter High School there. She attended classes for three years at the University of Richmond in Virginia in 1952. In 1976, after marrying and moving to Philadelphia, Mrs. Cohen completed a bachelor's degree in photography from Moore College of Art and Design. From 1977 to 1994, she was the official photographer for the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
NEWS
March 17, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
On this February day, the longtime operatic czar of Philadelphia is in a place nobody could ever have expected to find him. Robert B. Driver, who stepped down as director of Opera Philadelphia last year, is desperately seeking decay to enhance the industrial realism of Hans Werner Henze's El Cimarron (The Runaway Slave) , which he'll produce next year - not in a conventional theater, but in the bowels of Old City's Power Plant. " Cosi fan tutte is not where I'm at these days," he mutters, referring to Mozart's classic comedy.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
With its history of inhabiting and mixing song genres, Lyricfest eventually was bound to find its way to the spiritual and its offshoots, and did so Sunday with singers who packed the First Presbyterian Church: Denyce Graves, Lisa Daltirus, and Kevin Deas. Lyricfest has a penchant for spoken commentary, and this "Journey Toward Freedom" program had the Rev. Charles Rice sketching the Civil Rights movement's progress, interspersed with songs by Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and more classically slanted pieces by Ricky Ian Gordon, a great champion of Langston Hughes.
NEWS
September 24, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
If the painting is a still life, it won't stay still long - as it morphs beyond its usual frame while on the Academy of Music stage. Opera Company of Philadelphia's latest outing with Puccini's La Boheme , opening Friday, may well be a night at the opera and an afternoon at the museum - specifically, the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art - rolled into one. The staging concept devised by Italian director Davide Livermore utilizes...
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Deepening its pledge to advance the art form, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in New York, has appointed a second composer in residence. Missy Mazzoli, 31, a Lansdale native now based in Brooklyn, was chosen from 106 applicants and begins her work in September, joining Lembit Beecher, the previously appointed composer in his second year of the three-year shared residency. The post pays $60,000 plus benefits.
NEWS
May 5, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
From the outside looking in, there are so many reasons for Curtis Opera Theater not to mount Bellini's bel canto version of the Romeo and Juliet story, I Capuleti e I Montecchi , you couldn't help walking into the Thursday opening with utmost skepticism. Casting this piece is tough enough for world-class opera companies: It requires high-wire Olympic-gold-medal singing as well as a cultivated, highly specific style. Theatrically speaking, these operas can seem hopelessly static and antiquated.
NEWS
April 23, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Grand opera abhors a vacuum — it's too big and expensive not to — which is why the last-minute loss of a leading soprano didn't spell disaster for the Opera Company of Philadelphia's production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut. The Friday-night opening at the Academy of Music had its glitches. The handsome but complicated scenery didn't always work smoothly. The spotlight had trouble sticking with the person singing. And the opera itself is less than great. But none of that was so important because singers and orchestra rocked — and that included the young replacement soprano Michelle Johnson, who learned the title role in little more than three weeks.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 19, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Depending on the day, hour, and minute, Michelle Johnson is either living the dream or enduring a nightmare. The velvet-voiced soprano, 29, is the latest slated-for-stardom singer to come out of Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts, and was anticipating a relatively light spring schedule to prepare for her first Aida at the Glimmerglass Opera this summer. Then the Opera Company of Philadelphia suddenly needed a replacement soprano for the title role of Puccini's Manon Lescaut.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 5, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Declaring an early victory on the strategic plan that led it safely away from the brink of collapse, the Opera Company of Philadelphia is setting its sights on new and more ambitious artistic and financial goals. In a recently approved plan covering 2012 to 2015, the company aims for more performances in varied sites, bigger names on stage, international coproductions with other companies, and a deeper reach into the city and its neighborhoods - but all tempered by certain conditions.
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