Organ Stops Opera Philadelphia

Organ Stops - For many years, the Opera Philadelphia Chorus has participated in Organ Day, an annual event sponsored by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in celebration of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall. With that program canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, Opera Philadelphia's choristers developed a new program to celebrate the city’s many historic pipe organs.

Organ Stops brings traditional and new music to three venues in the city: Manayunk’s St. John the Baptist Church, Wharton-Wesley United Methodist Church in Cobbs Creek, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown. The program pairs traditional opera choruses from Verdi’s Macbeth and Wagner’s Tannhäuser with several newer works composed specifically for chorus and organ by contemporary composers Hannah Kendall, Melissa Dunphy, Marcus DeLoach, and David Hurd. Performances will be interspersed with interviews telling the stories of each of the three pipe organs, each neighborhood church, and the importance of making beautiful music in these sacred spaces.

“These composers span different centuries, different cultures, different genders, and different world views, and these differences inform everything from their compositional style to the texts they chose to set,” said Opera Philadelphia Chorus Master Elizabeth Braden, who leads the program. “Both a pipe organ and a chorus are a collection of individual voices and unique sounds, which are combined to create new colors, new musical ideas, and offer new ways to hear poetry. This program features three different pipe organs found in three different Philadelphia churches. Each instrument, and each building, is unique, but each allows for music to fill its space, for poetry to be heard in new ways, for our minds and souls to stretch as we sing, listen, and observe.”

Organ Stops
Premieres July 2021
Opera Philadelphia Channel

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