On Stage This Fall: Opera Philadelphia’s First Festival, Premieres from New Paradise Laboratories, Thaddeus Phillips, Tempesta di Mare, and More

21 Aug 2017

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Hello Blackout, New Paradise Laboratories. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

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The Magic Flute, LA Opera. Photo by Robert Millard.

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Destiny Estimate, MJ Kaufman. Photo by Kate Raines/Plate 3 Photography.

An abundance of Center-funded performances take the stage this fall. New works from New Paradise Laboratories and MJ Kaufman experiment with narrative and form, while performances from Thaddeus Phillips and Pig Iron Theatre Company blend artistic disciplines, and projects from Tempesta di Mare and Opera Philadelphia reinterpret historical events and figures. See our preview of upcoming performance events below, and visit our events page to discover more programs coming this season. Plus, explore our roundup of fall exhibitions, here.

Hello Blackout!
September 5–17

New Paradise Laboratories’ devised theater work—part horror, part philosophical investigation—centers on an eccentric family at the beginning of time. Choreographed to an original score by Pew Fellow Bhob Rainey, the work explores an unpredictable and untapped universe.

Sophia’s Forest
September 8–9

A multidisciplinary chamber opera by composer Lembit Beecher investigates the experience of childhood through the eyes of 9-year-old Sophia, whose inner thoughts are evoked through nine sound-producing sculptures that act as both musical instruments and characters in the drama.

Sophia's Forest Sculpture Demo

Sound sculptures for Lembit Beecher's Sophia's Forrest in rehearsal.

A Billion Nights on Earth
September 14–17

The world premiere of theater artist Thaddeus Phillips’ visual theater work blends performance art, pop-up storybook design techniques, and a cinematic score. The work is anchored by a series of bold visual installations, including a 15-foot inflatable whale and deep sea underwater lights, and will feature an evolving, circus-style environment.

O17 Festival
September 14–25

Opera Philadelphia’s inaugural season-opening, multi-venue festival features seven operatic happenings over the course of 12 days in six venues across Philadelphia. Performances include the world premiere of the chamber opera We Shall Not Be Moved, the East Coast premiere of Komische Oper Berlin’s Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and the annual free outdoor event “Opera on the Mall.”

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The Magic Flute, LA Opera. Photo by Robert Millard.

Close Music for Bodies
September 2024

An immersive, participatory vocal piece by composer Michael Kiley creates acoustic sound and movements from nine performers who move in geometric patterns throughout the standing audience, as their movements become the sound design of this intimate performance experience.

A Period of Animate Existence
September 2224

The world premiere of Pig Iron Theatre Company’s symphonic theater hybrid brings together actors, classical musicians, intergenerational choirs, and electronic music. Set in a time of rapid ecological and technological changes, the work echoes the character and pacing of a 19th-century symphony as the story contemplates the future of the planet.

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Destiny Estimate, MJ Kaufman. Photo by Kate Raines/Plate 3 Photography.

Telemann 360º
October 11–19

A two-part concert program and symposium by Tempesta di Mare offers audiences a renewed perspective on baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann. Commemorating the 250th anniversary of Telemann's death, the program will be performed by Tempesta’s largest band to date and will unravel the composer's remarkable, yet under-appreciated craft.

Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole
October 11–December 3

People’s Light presents the world premiere of a new music-theater work that opens a window into legendary vocalist and jazz pianist Nat "King" Cole's public and private personas. Written by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor, the play examines the 1957 demise of Cole’s groundbreaking national television series.

Destiny Estimate
October 19–23

Playwright MJ Kaufman’s new theater work is an experiment in narrative structure that combines several forms of storytelling, mythology, movement, and music. The play follows a trans theater professor who struggles with trauma, death, and personal beliefs.