Poe’s spirit revives the opera

Opera Macabre's Poe performance runs Sept. 13 through Sept. 19.
Opera Macabre’s Poe performance runs Sept. 13-19.

Picture a night at the opera. Let me guess: large, ornate concert hall, an audience packed with silver hair and deep pockets adorned in their finery, archaic music on an elaborate stage? Well, the Philadelphia Opera Collective wants to erase that image from your mind.

“The Philadelphia Opera Collective was founded few years ago on the basis that opera is not simply empty spectacle or an unrelatable piece of canon that belongs in a museum,” says producer and co-founder Michael Lienhard. “We believe, in fact, that opera is a living, breathing demonstration of real human emotions.”

That feeling is exemplified in the POC’s latest production, a new opera based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe that will premiere as part of the FringeArts festival. The piece is directed by EgoPo Theater’s Brenna Geffers, with music composed by POC co-founder Reese Revak and a libretto culled from Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Black Cat” and a selection of his letters on the subject of writing.

Lienhard describes Revak’s music as “hauntingly beautiful” for the “Usher” portion, while it takes on a jazz-oriented, almost vaudeville feel for the black humor-laced “Black Cat.” He likens the structure to Puccini’s triptych opera “Il Trittico,” explaining, “The three pieces are completely dependent upon each other. ‘The Black Cat’ is so raucous that it needs the languid, gothic style of ‘Usher’ to balance it out, and vice versa.”

Because of their mission to expand the reach of opera, Lienhard insists that FringeArts is the perfect setting for the small company’s productions. “Fringe is perfect because opera has always been so polished and clean,” he says. “But we work in very intimate spaces, where the opera singers are really in your face. If you wanted to, you could reach out and touch them. You don’t need a tuxedo to attend our operas.”

The POC faces challenges not only from newcomers to the opera world, with their preconceived notions, but from aficionados who arrive with their own. “Aficionados wonder why we’re not doing ‘La Boheme’ or ‘Carmen’ or Mozart, operas that have been tested through time. But opera has to continue to grow and evolve. People have been reaching out to opera for centuries and we believe now in this century, opera needs to reach back.”

Opera Macabre: Edgar Allan Poe
Sept. 13-19
The Adrienne Theater Playground
2030 Sansom St.
$15-$20, 215-413-1318
www.fringearts.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Local

Behind the costumes at the Brooklyn Cosplay Fashion…

Echo Chronum, 17, is a quiet and reserved Brooklyn high school student who often buries herself in her homework. But there is another side to…

Local

Reddit helps man locate missing mother in New…

The Reddit community helped Josh Goldberg find his missing mother on Tuesday.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

Movies

Review: 'The Railway Man' is a literal-minded look…

In "The Railway Man," Colin Firth plays a WWII vet suffering from massive trauma acquired from his days as a beaten POW.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

NFL

Jets announce they will return to Cortland for…

The tradition of holding camp in Cortland began in 2009 when Rex Ryan wanted to get his Jets away from the distractions of New York City.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."