Pittsburgh Opera presents two modern operas in May to coincide with international opera conference
Pittsburgh Opera is producing two different contemporary operas in May to coincide with OPERA America’s Opera Conference 2023.
- Denis & Katya will be performed at the Bitz Opera Factory, 2425 Liberty Avenue, in Pittsburgh’s Strip District on May 6, 9, 12, 14, and 18.
- We Shall Not Be Moved will be performed at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in downtown Pittsburgh on May 13, 16, 18, 19, and 21.
OPERA America’s Opera Conference 2023, May 17-20, is the largest assembly of opera administrators, artists, trustees, and associates in the world. Hosted by Pittsburgh Opera, hundreds of stakeholders will convene for discussions, networking, and performances that move opera forward.
Overview of the operas:
Denis & Katya
On November 14, 2016, Denis Muravyov and Katya Vlasova, fifteen-year-olds in the rural Pskov region of Russia, died after a three-day standoff with Russian Special Forces. They live-streamed their last hours onto internet sites, leaving behind a trail of devastating video footage: drinking and smoking, cuddling and crying, and preparing to die.
Denis and Katya could have been your children, best friends, or classmates. Two teenagers who lived every moment—including their last—online. What led to their violent deaths? Why did they choose to broadcast their final moments on social media? And what does it say about the voyeuristic society that watched, liked, and objectified them in real-time, transforming two kids into clickbait?
This visceral opera uses verbatim text to examine the vast public response to the events surrounding the tragedy of these two Russian runaways, exploring how stories are shaped and shared in our age of trolls, conspiracy theories, fake news, and 24/7 digital connection.
The New York Times called Denis & Katya "an intimate, haunting triumph", and Musical America called it “ … the most brilliantly original operatic work I’ve seen in a decade."
We Shall Not Be Moved
On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philadelphia teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is assuaged and even inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance rather than urgent fear.
Combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B, and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility, We Shall Not Be Moved is a timely exploration of past and present struggles that suggests an alternate future through the eyes of its young protagonists.