Philadelphia will soon be transformed into an urban stage for opera with Opera Philadelphia's Festival O18.
It's a celebration of the human voice with more than 20 performances over 11 days in five venues around the city, what David Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia describes as, "a mashup binge watching opportunity for opera that you didn't see coming."
It's Opera Philadelphia's way of kicking off a new season with a bang.
"A world premiere at the Perelman Theater, we're taking over TLA with drag opera," Devan says.
And, for the first time in more than 20 years, Opera Philadelphia is staging the legendary composer Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Academy of Music. But this is a new production of the classic show.
"So even people who have seen Lucia one hundred times, this will be a brand new take on it," says Soprano Brenda Rae.
Often considered the Scottish Romeo and Juliet, the show explores the passion and despair that overtakes its heroine.
"It's my favorite style of opera. It's really beautiful melodies, but it's also got a lot of drama to it," says lead singer Lucia Rae.
It's the flagship performance of the festival.
"Last season, O17 was the hottest ticket in town and, this season, it just seems like they're kind of upping it," Rae says.
Festival O18 includes new productions, world premieres, art installations at the Barnes Foundation and a massive free broadcast of opera on Independence Mall.
"Our festival, each year, really is charting a future for opera in the 21st century," Devan says. "It's going to be bust you out of your regular life and it's going to let you touch beauty and thought and meaning in real time."