When the acclaimed Philadelphia Opera Festival O returns in September for the first time since 2019, it will not only bring multiple live opera performances to multiple venues across the city; it will also spawn a new film festival within the opera festival, comprised of some 30 cinematic operas across 12 screenings at the Philadelphia Film Center.
Opera on Film, running from Tuesday September 27 to Sunday October 2, is a big-screen frenzy of the cinematic possibilities of the operatic art form, bringing together both features and shorts featuring an array of artists crossing time and genres: artist and director William Kentridge; opera singers Patricia Racette, Karen Slack, Zachary James, Lester Lynch and NBC’s The Voice finalist John Holiday; directors James Darrah, Pedro Almodóvar, Joseph Losey, Mary Birnbaum and E. Elias Merhige; composers Tyshawn Sorey, René Orth, Missy Mazzoli, Terence Blanchard, Paola Prestini and Amanda Feery; actress Tilda Swinton; and pop superstar Beyoncé.
“Since 2020, we have witnessed an unprecedented period of creativity and flexibility in the opera industry, as the pandemic and our inability to come together on stage has spawned tremendous growth in the cinematic experimentation of opera,” said David B. Devan, CEO and President of Opera Philadelphia. “As we return to Festival O, we have created a series to celebrate this unprecedented period of artistic achievement by opera performers, directors and producers from around the world, screened alongside classic opera films and films inspired by opera Whether you’re an opera lover or a movie buff, Opera on Film is six days of binge-worthy art we can experience together on two screens at the Philadelphia Film Center, the premier film center in the city.”
The company received over 800 submissions to Opera on Film via FilmFreeway. In choosing 20 official selections to screen alongside special presentations and films produced by the Philadelphia Opera, series producers Frank Luzi and Sarah Williams worked with a selection panel consisting of film expert Rob Buscher, chairman of the board. of Directors of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival; Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Philadelphia-born visual artist and filmmaker; and director of casting and artistic administration Michael Eberhard.
Audiences can enjoy the entire series for just $25 with an Opera on Film badge. Festival packages, movie badges and performance tickets are now on sale at operaphila.org or by calling 215.732.8400 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Tickets for the individual film screenings will go on sale at the Philadelphia Film Center box office in September.