Press Room


Opera Company of Philadelphia Launches National Opera Week with Oct. 26 Recital at The Barnes Foundation featuring Soprano Michelle Johnson and Baritone Troy Cook

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, Joins National Effort to Celebrate Opera in America

October 11, 2012

Contact:  Frank Luzi



The Opera Company of Philadelphia is proud to join opera organizations nationwide to celebrate National Opera Week (October 26 – November 4), coordinated by OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, with support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

National Opera Week celebrates the vibrancy of opera in America today, and brings the inventiveness and excitement of opera to a national audience. The strength and diversity of established opera companies, community opera ensembles, and opera training programs across the United States will be shared through fun, free activities designed to engage novices, opera lovers, and everyone in between. 

Proving that opera has plenty of soul, legendary artist Aretha Franklin will serve as the first Honorary Chairman of National Opera Week 2012. As a celebrated artist of immense talent and deep resonance, a nurturer of young opera singers through her opera contest and as an opera enthusiast, Ms. Franklin is a wonderful advocate for the importance and vitality of opera to a national audience. 

The Opera Company of Philadelphia is proud to participate in this fourth annual celebration through a series of public performances and educational programs which are aimed at expanding the reach of the classical arts beyond the concert halls and into the community.

Friday, October 26, 6:30–7:30 p.m.


Continuing its partnership with The Barnes Foundation – and just on the heels of OCP’s new production of Puccini’s La bohème which highlights art from Dr. Barnes’ renowned collection – the Opera Company of Philadelphia will kick off National Opera Week with a handcrafted musical program at The Barnes.  Soprano Michelle Johnson and baritone Troy Cook, who starred together in the recent production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, are joined by pianist Laura Ward in a recital of operatic favorites, classical song, and treasured American standards. In honor of National Opera Week, a pair of tickets to an upcoming OCP production will be raffled off at the event.  It is not necessary to purchase a museum ticket to attend the free recital. Recital seating is first-come, first-served. If you would like to visit the museum's galleries after the recital, museum tickets may be purchased here.

Sunday, October 28, 2:30 p.m.

NATIONAL OPERA WEEK MASTER CLASS at The Curtis Institute of Music:

Want to learn more about singing? Interested in insights about the creative process behind vocal technique, role interpretation and more? Join us for a free master class with star baritone Troy Cook and accompanist and coach Lisa Harer de Calvo at the Curtis Institute of Music’s Field Hall. Learn more and Register.

Tuesday, October 30

Times: Grades 3-5 (10 a.m.-11 a.m.); Grades 6-8 (11 a.m.-12 p.m.)

The Singing Voice – Internet2 event

Have you ever wondered how opera singers manage to propel their voices over huge orchestras without using a microphone?  The Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Mike Bolton brings you on a journey of self-discovery as you find your own opera singing voice by finding the resonance in your own bodies to get you ready for your opera debut!  Learn more and Register.

Thursday, Nov. 1, 9:30 – 10:30a.m.

Choral Festival – Internet2 event

Here’s an opportunity to have your school or community choir critiqued by Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus Master Liz Braden, Opera Company of Philadelphia Artistic Administrator Michael Eberhard, and respected Philadelphia voice teacher, conductor and singer Holly Phares. The panelists will give advice to middle school, high school and college choral groups, highlighting praise of their strengths and suggestions on how to improve their challenges via an interactive Internet2 video teleconferencing event.  Learn more and Register.

Thursday, November 1, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Opera Audition Workshop – Internet2 event

Hundreds of singers audition each year to get into conservatories or young artist programs. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re singing the right repertoire or making the right impression, here’s an ‘operatunity’ to get advice from the professionals. Baritone Troy Cook, OCP Artistic Administrator Michael Eberhard and coach/accompanist Lisa Harer De Calvo will critique and give advice on how to improve for an upcoming audition. Learn more and Register.


Opera Company of Philadelphia Videos

Want to see some of the best moments from the Opera Company's recent productions? How about artist interviews or a Random Act of Culture or two? Visit the Opera Company of Philadelphia on YouTube to enjoy a growing archive of behind-the-scenes extras that enhance your enjoyment of opera. Visit!

For more information about National Opera Week events around the country, please visit Join the National Opera Week conversation on Twitter with #OperaWeek.

Additional press contact for OPERA America/National Opera Week: Patricia Kiernan Johnson, 212-796-8620, ext. 217,