Opera Philadelphia, the company that earlier this year announced its plan to stage Daniel Schnyder’s opera about the jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker in 2015, is pushing further into the world of popular culture in its search for unusual subjects. The company’s plans for 2015 also include “ANDY: A Popera,” a work about Andy Warhol with music by Heath Allen, a Philadelphia composer and pianist.
The company, which described the pieces as a “cabaret-opera hybrid,” is collaborating on the project with the Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe. Mr. Allen is the group’s resident composer, and writes in a style closer to jazz than opera. A spokesman for the company said that as the work gets closer to completion, Mr. Heath will work with a composer with more operatic experience. That composer has not yet been selected.
Audiences will have a chance to see this work-in-progress as it develops. On May 2, some Mr. Allen’s music will be included in a concert at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at which the Bearded Ladies, singers from the opera company’s chorus and a rock band will present selections from the piece.
The Bearded Ladies are also planning to perform selections at pop-up concerts around the city in May, to be announced on Twitter by both the group and Opera Philadelphia. An hourlong concert version of the opera will be presented at the Wilma Theater, in Philadelphia in July. From there, the team will transform its materials into a completed work, suited to the opera stage. The date of the premiere has not yet been set, but the process is expected to take about a year.
Kozinn, Allan. “Opera Philadelphia to Take On Andy Warhol.” NY Times. 24 April 2014. http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/opera-philadelphia-to-take-on-andy-warhol/