Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival: Shows You Can’t Miss!

Featured Image by Steve Pisano for Opera Philadelphia

Opera has a long-standing stereotype of being high-brow, inaccessible, and only for certain type of person. The O17 Festival by Opera Philadelphia breaks that stereotype head on. The fest is the first of its kind in Philadelphia, and features seven shows over twelve days–original and modern takes of shows composed and written in the opera style. With diverse plot lines authentic to Philadelphia and modern spins on classic opera, the festival is an homage to the richness of our city’s history and celebration of our diversity and devotion to the arts. The festival features twelve days of operatic events all over Philadelphia starting September 14 through 25. To make this a little easier to navigate, Rock On Philly has taken the liberty of carving out what we think you should see, whether you are a novice opera viewer or a seasoned patron.

Opera On The Mall – The Marriage of Figaro

Photo by HughE Dillon

Where: Independence National Historical Park
When: September 23, 2017
Time: 7 PM
Why: Funny, emotional, and witty, this classic opera buffa is full of laughs undercut by a terrific score by Mozart, and perfect for enjoying an early autumn evening outside on the penultimate eve of the Festival, right in view of the Liberty Bell. The best part? This event is FREE. Get more information and register for your free tickets here.

We Shall Not Be Moved

Cast of We Shall Not Be Moved – Photo by Dominic M. Mercier

Where: Wilma Theater
When: September 16-24
Time: 8 PM
Why: This world premiere opera focuses on five close-knit teens who seek shelter in a condemned house in West Philly, the exact, tragic location of the 1985 MOVE organization headquarters. The genre-blending score mixes spoken word, classical music, jazz and R&B, allowing the protagonists (and you!) to explore the past and present through the eyes of the house’s spectral inhabitants. Get more information here.

Elizabeth Cree

Photo by Dominic-M. Mercier

Where: Perelman Theater
When: September 14, 16, 19, 21, 23
Time: Varies
Why: Want to see something a little creepy? Look no further than the world premiere of Elizabeth Cree. Based on the novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree and set in the 1880’s, this original murder mystery is chock full of suspense, murder, and interweaving plot lines, determining if Ms. Cree really is guilty of what she is accused. Get your Halloween-y senses pumping with more information and tickets here.

The Wake World

Photo by Dominic M. Mercier

Where: Barnes Foundation
When: September 18-25
Time: 8 PM
Why: Not only will you be among one of the world’s finest art collections, you will also experience these works come to life in a fantasy journey through time and space in an original opera inspired by Aleister Crowley’s fairy tale of the same name. Get more information here.

The Magic Flute

Where: Academy of Music
When: September 15, 17, 20, 22, 24
Time: Varies
Why: Mozart’s classic opera gets a visually-stimulating makeover that needs to be seen to be believed! Just think–if David Lynch made a 1920’s style silent film. Yeah, super trippy. Get more information and tickets here.

Which shows will you see at the O17 Festival? Comment below with your favorite!

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