Curtis Opera Theatre’s ‘Owen Wingrave’ opens at the Kimmel

Director Daniel Fish gave the opera “Owen Wingrave” a modern twist. Credit: Curtis Institute of Music
Director Daniel Fish gave the opera “Owen Wingrave” a modern twist.
Credit: Curtis Institute of Music

Composer Benjamin Britten wrote “Owen Wingrave” for an unconventional stage: television. The opera premiered in 1971 on Britain’s BBC2 and has only rarely transitioned to the live stage in the 40 years since. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth, Curtis Opera Theatre is presenting a new production of the little-seen piece in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center.

To guide Curtis’ new production, artistic director Mikael Eliasen enlisted the irreverent theater director Daniel Fish, who has offered new twists on classics by the likes of Shakespeare or Rodgers and Hammerstein, and found inspiration for new works in unlikely sources, such as the films of Nicholas Ray or the novels of Jonathan Franzen. “Owen Wingrave” will be his first opera, but Eliasen nevertheless found him the perfect candidate.

“Because the opera was conceived for television, there are a number of problems in doing it onstage that are tricky to solve,” Eliasen says. “I chose Daniel because of those difficulties, and he’s found some fantastic solutions. I think probably one would call it an edgy production, but it’s been wonderful having him here making everybody think in a very different way about what theater is.”

The production will make use of video, a technique that Fish has used in the past. It will also call on some more conventional resources, such as the voices of the Philadelphia Boys Choir.

Aside from the appeal of celebrating Britten’s centenary with one of the composer’s more obscure works, Eliasen was attracted to “Owen Wingrave” because of its topicality. Based on a short story by Henry James, the opera deals with the title character’s resistance to following in the footsteps of his military family. “Britten was a great pacifist,” Eliasen says, “and this is a piece about why we continue to kill each other. It’s extremely relevant in today’s world as we read the papers and see wars going on everywhere.”

 

If you go

‘Owen Wingrave’
Through March 17
Perelman Theater,
Kimmel Center
300 South Broad St.
$72-$132,
www.operaphila.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.