May 2013

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Opera Philadelphia

Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles

Opera Philadelphia creates outstanding productions of both classic and new operatic works that resonate within the community, assembles the finest international creative artists, and presents a wide array of programming that educates, deepens, and diversifies the opera audience in Philadelphia and beyond. Performance offerings include large-scale works at the historic Academy of Music, intimate chamber operas as part of the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater, and frequent community performances which focus on creative partnerships and enhanced accessibility. The company has launched the American Repertoire Program, a commitment to produce a new American work in each of ten seasons, which began in 2012.

In February 2013, Art of Life visited with Opera Philadelphia as they prepared for the East Coast premiere of Silent Night, which was co-produced with the Minnesota Opera company as part of the American Repertoire Program. Between the premiere in Minnesota and the performances here, the opera won a Pulitzer Prize and received rave reviews from the critics. We went behind the scenes to meet and talk with the director and three of the stars, to see how this enormous production all comes together on opening night. We also had the opportunity to talk with David Devan, the company’s General Director and President, to learn about the groundbreaking new initiatives they are launching to make the rest of the opera world stand up and take notice.

Through These Photographs

Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly

A man lands at a major-metropolitan airport somewhere in the United States at night. He leaves the baggage claim and sets out on foot with an old fashioned large-format view camera slung over his shoulder like a hobo’s bindle. He is walking to the city center taking pictures along the way. The photographer is Will Steacy and these photographs will ultimately form the basis of his book DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS. A contributor to Harper’s and Esquire, Steacy’s photos of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina are used in the opening credits of the HBO series, TREME. Steacy recently did a presentation of his STREETS photos at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC). In this ART segment, we talk to Steacy and Sarah Stolfa, the founder and director of PPAC about the need she saw in the Philadelphia area for an organization that could help with the emerging technology of digital photography, and about how she started doing her own work, taking pictures of the regulars at McGlinchey’s, where she tended bar while in school.

Fresh Palates to Palettes

Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

Fresh Palates to Palettes is a program implemented at the Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School created in collaboration with their lead art teacher, Deva Watson, and the national award winning Philadelphia-based non-profit, Fresh Artists. This project allows students from disadvantaged neighborhoods to experience both fine and culinary art and learn how the attributes of both fields can enhance work. The students are able to see first hand how a fine dining meal can translate into pen and paper while learning how they can use these skills in a business sense by reinterpreting their drawings into a marketing campaign.

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