PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In April, Opera Philadelphia will make history in New York when it stages its first performance in another city, in a production that will be the first full opera to be performed at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.
In June, Opera Philadelphia premiered Charlie Parker’s Yardbird to critical acclaim. In October, the Gotham Chamber Opera, scheduled to stage it at the Apollo, went belly-up. Opera Philadelphia President David Devan says that left the opera in limbo.
“The Apollo and Opera Philadelphia quickly got to work together,” he says. “We formed a partnership that would allow us to co-produce our work from Philadelphia in New York at the Apollo.”
Devan says staging an opera about the jazz icon seems tailor-made for the storied Harlem theater.
“Operaphiles are very excited about it, but then the jazz community’s also super-excited about it, and people that grew up at the Apollo are excited about it,” he says. “So I think it’s going to be a crazy mashup of people in the audience, which is exactly what we were hoping for.”