Have you ever seen an opera in the making? Double Exposure, presented by Opera Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group, expertly puts you on the cutting edge of theatre, art and music. What could be more exciting than being a part of an opera as it is being developed? David B. Devan, General Director and President gave the audience just that chance. Double Exposure, an Opera from the Lab Initiative allowed the audience to actively participate in an experiment to see the research and work that goes into the development of an opera.
Double Exposure highlights the developing operas of Composers in Residence, Lembit Beecher and Missy Mazzoli. Beecher is in the process of writing two operas I Have No Stories to Tell You and an untitled work. The audience had the pleasure of seeing a moving scene, Sunny View, from the untitled work about a character that has Alzheimer’s disease and a captivating scene from I Have No Stories to Tell You, with a libretto by Hannah Moscovitch. The story is about a female soldier who returns home to her husband but haunted by experiences during her deployment. Mazzoli’s spiritual and tender work, His Name is Jan and Without Jan is based on the tragic love story Breaking the Waves. Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek are currently working on this chamber opera.
The audience shared the experience of seeing the operas performed twice with an interesting twist. The scenes were performed by two different teams under the direction of two remarkable and talented directors Daniel Fish and Stephanie Havey each putting their own visionary touch on the works. The music vibrantly told the stories under conductors Kensho Watanabe and Edward Poll. Pianists Benedicte Jourdois and Matthew Brower were outstanding. The String Quartet of Olivia De Prato, Emma Kummrow, Jonathan Kim and Priscilla Lee were superb. The wonderful and powerful voices and acting of Melinda Whittington, Sean plumb, Heidi Kurtz, Matthew Brower, Veronica Chapman Smith, Andre Courville, Lauren Eberwein, Thomas Shivone, Ashley Milanese, Johnathan McCullough, Jennifer Beattie, Julia Dawson, and Joanna Gates held the audience captivated throughout the spell-binding scenes.
The March 21st performance at the Fringe Arts Theatre was followed by a rousing reception which joined cast and audience for questions and responses. Among the cast, musicians and composers enjoying the reception along with Michael Bolton, where Linda Pratt, Raina Yancey, Gavin Lockard, Steve Schatz, Gwynne Scheffer, Kinan Faham, Tim, Jimena and many others.
Michael Bolton, Vice President of Community Programs must also be hailed for his passionate work in and with community programming and relations. If you love opera, theatre and art you will love the opportunity to see behind the scenes and be a part of Opera Philadelphia’s, Opera from the Lab.