Hats off to the Opera Company of Philadelphia, who announced their 2012-13 season yesterday. The company’s five productions include the East Coast premiere of Kevin Puts’s new “Silent Night,” which premiered at the Minnesota Opera in November; Britten’s “Owen Wingrave,” in a coproduction with the Curtis Institute, and Thomas Ades’s “Powder Her Face.” In short, following the current season’s final opera in June, a coproduction of Nico Muhly’s new “Dark Sisters,” the Philadelphia Opera is putting its money where its mouth is in terms of investing in new work — something partly possible by going a step down in scale and putting on some of these new pieces in smaller theaters. The season includes a couple of chestnuts — “La boheme” and ”The Magic Flute” — but it also subverts what’s become the standard small American opera-company recipe of one new work, one less-known 19th-century piece (“less known” often meaning “bel canto”), and three warhorses. (Heidi Waleson reviewed both “Dark Sisters” and “Silent Night” in the Wall Street Journal after their world premieres last fall.)
Another notable initiative in the news yesterday: the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is creating its own version of the YouTube Symphony by holding a video talent search. Viewers can vote on the video auditions; the top four will get auditions with the orchestra’s music director, Manfred Honeck, and a chance to play a concerto with the orchestra in November/December. Submit your video now.
And finally, a new initiative for opera fans from WFMT: on Saturday, the Chicago-based station is offering an all-day seminar on great opera voices with Henry Fogel, who, though his career has been mainly with orchestras (running the Chicago Symphony and the League of American Orchestras), is one of the great opera aficionados on the planet. The seminar, from 9 am to 4 pm, was conceived as a live event, but is now offering live streaming as well, for a $20 fee.
Above: the YouTube Symphony’s second iteration demonstrated that classical music and YouTube auditions can make beautiful things happen. Now, the Pittsburgh Symphony is setting out to find a concert soloist through a similar process.