Glass Handel Opera Philadelphia

Glass Handel - Premiering as part of O18, the second edition of Opera Philadelphia's fall festival, Glass Handel was a bona fide ‘happening’ ─ an immersive, multidisciplinary operatic installation headlined and created by American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in collaboration with producer Cath Brittan and avant-garde fashion/art company Visionaire.

Under their curation, music by Baroque master George Frederic Handel is juxtaposed with that of living legend Philip Glass, and each finds unexpected points of intersection with the worlds of art, fashion, dance, and film. A host of luminaries interpret the music through their own lens: painter George Condo; designer Raf Simons with the fashion house Calvin Klein; choreographer Justin Peck with dancers Patricia Delgado, Daniel Applebaum, Ricky Ubeda, Zoe Zien, and David Hallberg; filmmakers including Tilda Swinton, James Ivory, Maurizio Cattelan, Mickalene Thomas, and Mark Romanek, and performance artist Ryan McNamara who keeps the audience moving while they never leave their seats. The event marked the official launch of ARC, Costanzo’s hit solo album debut featuring a collection of Glass and Handel arias released on Decca Gold and subsequently nominated for a GRAMMY.

The exhilaration of those 2018 performances becomes a new multimedia event with a streaming premiere on the Opera Philadelphia Channel. A concert film of the shows at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine featuring Eric Jacobsen conducting The Knights will show a breadth of perspectives that no one audience member saw live. In addition, there will be never-before-seen footage in a documentary that details what it took to make such an ambitious project, from the inspiration to the nuts and bolts to the intricate execution. Filmmaker Pix Talarico, who has documented the entire process since its inception, will direct both.

“What does it mean to be an opera singer in the 21st century? I think about this a lot, and how it is the job of the artist not simply to be a brilliant performer, but to hone their imagination and cultivate an extensive tool belt so that they can be an active part of propelling the art form forward,” said Anthony Roth Costanzo. “Glass Handel was an insane idea, a project that seemed impossible, but it was one of those rare moments in my artistic life, where the right group of people came together to make something that felt truly new. We hoped to create access points both for new audiences and for core audiences that might hesitate about venturing outside of their comfort zone. I can’t wait to share, for the first time, the agony and the ecstasy that led to one of the most important experiences of my life.”

Glass Handel
Premieres October 2021
Opera Philadelphia Channel

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