7 Reasons You Need to Check Out Opera Philadelphia’s O18 Festival
Opera Philadelphia’s O18 Festival is just around the corner, boasting a packed lineup of performances over the course of 11 days, from September 20-30. Part “civic engagement” and part joyous (and potentially outrageous) celebration, the festival is sure to be a whirlwind of the booming voices and stunning production values that we have come to associate with the art form. But can opera be hip to the times and a draw for younger folk? Absolutely.
The stories told are larger than life and feature powerful women.
Who doesn’t love a story filled with love, intrigue, and maybe just a bit of murder? The O18 Festival includes performances of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” an oldie but a goodie with a plot that will satisfy anyone with a taste for the dramatic and murderous. And with plenty of operas like “Lucia di Lammermoor” being vehicles for women and providing powerhouse voices with breakthrough roles, the opera remains an art where women can show off their talents in their rightful place – center stage.
New and edgy operas are being produced.
Going to the opera doesn’t have to mean seeing a production of “The Magic Flute” (decadent and mystical as it is) for the 100th time. Opera Philadelphia and other companies are producing new and innovative works all the time, like the world premiere of “Sky on Swings” by Hannah Moscovitch and Lembit Beecher, proving that they know what the people want.
It can help you explore the city you live in.
Like a sprawling pub crawl, operas can encourage you to explore different parts of the city that you’ve never seen – or have only seen in a certain way. The O18 Festival will be taking over Theatre of the Living Arts on South Street, a place you’re likely familiar with if you’re a regular concert-goer and lover of dancing on beer-stained floors. But how will they transform the concert hall? Get your tickets and find out!
Drag queens are welcome — and they are taking over.
Opera isn’t necessarily known for a connection to drag culture and cabaret, but blending the three together could be a ménage à trois made in heaven. Think about it: Opera has some of the most spectacular and lavish costumes and sets in the business — the flair is undeniable. Combine that sumptuousness, the delicious naughtiness and freedom of drag, and the community feeling of cabaret, and you’re sure to get an epic night. Check out “Queens of the Night” as part of the O18 Festival to get some of that fabulous queer cheer.
Opera companies throw one helluva party.
Fans of “The Phantom of the Opera” know that if the “masquerade” scene is any indication, opera company parties are decadent and full of potential for drinks, laughter, and maybe getting up to no good (well, up until a masked stranger comes to crash the joint, but let’s not think about that). The O18 festival is offering not one, but three glamorous soirées, so it’s never been easier to get a taste of the dramatic. Sparkling wine and rubbing elbows with artists awaits.
Opera can awaken the activist in you.
Operas often speak to the political as well as the personal. With new material being produced every day that engages with what’s current and making representation a priority, it’s the perfect opportunity to vote with your dollars by seeing timely art. As part of this year’s Opera on the Mall for the O18 Festival, “We Shall Not Be Moved,” a new opera produced in last year’s festival about Philadelphia in the wake of the bombing of the MOVE compound, will get a screening at the Independence National Historical Park on Sept. 29. Support relevant works, stick it to the man, and get outside all at the same time.
Kids love opera too!
Don’t believe us? Check out this video. If opera has kids hooked, they’re probably onto something, right?