Opera Philadelphia’s return to the stage after two years was greeted by a cheering crowd who clearly would have been happy to stay longer, but as director David Devan acknowledged, this was a step in a continuing trajectory.
The specter of COVID still shadowed this event. The company was in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center rather than their home theatre, the Academy of Music. More to the point, the evening was a concert performance rather than a staged one, pairing Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with a short prelude of George Walker’s Lilacs, a setting of Walt Whitman’s famous elegy to Abraham Lincoln.
As you might imagine, the mournful notes of Lilacs and the dark cloud of the Theban plague in Oedipus Rex took on additional resonance in this moment.
Yet there was much to feel reassured and joyous about, though as an evening of drama in music, Oedipus + Lilacs was successful more in parts than as a whole…
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