Opera Philadelphia's O17 Inaugural Gala
Thank you for being a part of Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Inaugural Gala! From the enthralling World Premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Elizabeth Cree and the engrossing, immersive cocktail reception created by New Paradise Laboratories, to dancing the night away on the Academy of Music stage, we hope you agree it was a spectacular evening and the perfect way to kickoff O17.
Opera Philadelphia was excited to work with New Paradise Laboratories (NPL), who conceived of and developed the cocktail portion of the evening. Please read a message from NPL’s Artistic Director, Whit MacLaughlin, below. If you wish to revisit the immersive world created that night, please go to their website or view the program from the evening here.
|Thu, Sep 14||6:00 p.m.|
A message from Whit MacLaughlin, Artistic Director of New Paradise Laboratories:
“Opera Philadelphia approached New Paradise Laboratories after seeing Gumshoe, an immersive performance built for the Free Library of Philadelphia. It utilized the entire Central Branch Library as its performance site.
We then proposed to Opera Philadelphia that the O17 Gala event might similarly feature the Academy of Music as its central character. We tentatively agreed that this was a splendid idea. The assignment: New Paradise Laboratories was to identify the sweet spot between the ready-made atmosphere of the Academy and the music hall milieu of Elizabeth Cree, the work that Opera Philadelphia was premiering. This was a bold proposal and OP, in its visionary way, said “yes!” What other organization would go so big for a social event?
We knew that the best way to feature Opera Philadelphia’s Academy home was to let it speak for itself: about the people who had occupied the building for close to 175 years, about the magnificently appointed volume of space, about the ghosts that inhabit the space when no one is looking. We cooked up a story that could be told in a series of tableaux vivants – using 35 actors! – that would let attendees eat, drink, be merry, and would be impossible to forget. The result had to be kept a relative secret from you, so that the surprise of entering the space through the stage door would encourage you to see the building in a new way from the very start.”