OPENING NIGHT PHILADELPHIA Draws Thousands to Independence National Historical Park for CARMEN!
Thank you, Philadelphia!
With over 5,000 members of the community pre-registered for free tickets, the threat of rain didn't stop thousands of Philadelphians from packing their picnics, beach chairs and blankets and joining the Opera Company of Philadelphia for opening night of the season and a live, public simulcast of Bizet's CARMEN. On Friday, September 30th, Independence Mall at Independence National Historical Park became the site of a vast movie screen, and an iconic backdrop for this first-ever event that brought an enthusiastic audience together to enjoy this blockbuster opera packed with greatest hits. This event was generously underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge, with matching support from Philadelphia's own Wyncote Foundation.
With a packed house of over 2,200 audience members at the Academy of Music in addition to the audience at Independence Mall, opening night of Carmen enjoyed one of the largest opera audiences in company history.
Aside from behind-the-scenes interviews and extras that the audience enjoyed, the crowd was greeted by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, as well as Independence National Historical Park Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod and Knight Foundation Vice-President of Arts Dennis Scholl. Attendees received free, waterproof seat cushions underwritten by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance's Phillyfunguide, and many took advantage of a "Take your photo with Carmen!" photo booth that was set up on the Mall by photographer Chris Dawson.
Even after rain put a damper on the evening's festivities, hundreds of faithful fans stuck it out until the last notes, and feedback from audience members was overwhelming in its message: "Do it again!"
Some feedback that the Opera Company received from attendees:
"I loved it! I have never seen an opera before and this was fantastic. The performances and the voices were outstanding. I am blown away! Thank you for this experience - great job, even in the rain!"
"This has been an incredible idea, one that I am grateful to be able to experience with my daughters, who are 20, 18 & 12!"
"I can't thank you enough for this presentation. We loved all of the close-ups, and we loved the subtitles! Even all of the young children were able to follow the on-screen action in every scene. See you at the next simulcast!"
"It was really inspiring to see so many people come out for the simulcast - and stay in spite of the rain!"
"Totally found this event while walking around the neighborhood. This was just an awesome welcome to Philadelphia. Thank you!"
"Absolutely would come in the future. Such a blessing to be able to introduce your family to the arts. Thank you, Opera Company!"
Special thanks to: