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Missy Mazzoli’s ‘The Listeners’ finally gets premiere date at Opera Philadelphia after four-year delay

missy-mazzoli’s-‘the-listeners’-finally-gets-premiere-date-at-opera-philadelphia-after-four-year-delay
Missy Mazzoli’s ‘The Listeners’ finally gets premiere date at Opera Philadelphia after four-year delay

Missy Mazzoli’s “The Listeners” will be given its delayed U.S. premiere on Sept. 25 to open the season of the Opera Philadelphia, which abandoned the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s “Woman with Eyes Closed” because of budget.

“The Listeners,” with a libretto by Royce Vavrek and based on Jordan Tannahill’s story, is about charismatic leaders, cult-like rituals and an environmental hum only a few people can hear. It premiered at the Norwegian Opera on Sept. 24, 2022, and returns soprano Nicole Heaston from the original production.

Lileana Blain-Cruz directs and music director Corrado Rovaris conducts the three performances at the Academy of Music that run through Sept. 29, the company announced Tuesday.

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Missy Mazzoli

Composer Missy Mazzoli’s “The Listeners” is finally being given its U.S. opera premiere after being cut in 2020 for budget issues.  (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

“Woman with Eyes Closed” will now debut at another company. It was to have premiered in 2020 and was rescheduled because of the pandemic to September 2024.

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“The Anonymous Lover,” a 1780 work by Joseph Bologne who is believed to be the first Black classical composer, will be performed on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, 2025, in a semi-staged production after a one-year delay caused by finances.

The company dropped its season-opening festival, which began in 2017 and featured several acclaimed contemporary works. General director David Devan announced last summer he is retiring at the end of the current season after 13 years in the role.

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Next season’s $10 million budget is down from $11.2 million in the current season, which was cut from an original $13.3 million with “The Anonymous Lover” postponement.

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” will be the season’s third production and get four performances starting April 27, 2025. The Alison Moritz staging will be seen at the Cincinnati Opera this June.

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