The grant will support O, the opera's twelve-day season-opening festival, which is scheduled to launch in September 2017. Featuring seven operatic happenings in six venues across the city, the festival will bring together some of opera's most sought-after creative and performing artists for an immersion in new American opera and innovative stagings. The 2017 festival will offer more than twenty-five performances, including world premieres of Elizabeth Cree, a chamber opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, and We Shall Not Be Moved, an opera developed by composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph from the company's Hip H'opera program in local inner-city schools.
Opera Philadelphia developed the festival in response to a data-driven study that revealed a need for unexpected and immersive experiences that speak meaningfully to both new and existing audiences.
"With this groundbreaking festival, Opera Philadelphia has the opportunity to re-envision the discipline, curate a series relevant to today's audiences, and demonstrate that opera is an accessible, vibrant, multidimensional art form reflective of our lives," said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. "We're looking forward to seeing the results, not just for Opera Philadelphia, a beacon for innovation in the field, but also for companies around the country."