A new work to be premiered in Philadelphia this fall has won an international award.
Denis & Katya, slated to be presented as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O19 festival, drew the top honor from Fedora, a program in Paris whose purpose is to support development of new opera and ballet productions and audiences.
The award comes with much-needed cash: 150,000 euros, or about $170,000.
Denis & Katya, a chamber opera with music by Philip Venables and a libretto by Ted Huffman, is based on a 2016 incident involving two Russian teenagers who streamed live on the video app Periscope their standoff with police, a confrontation that ended in their deaths.
The piece is scored for just two singers and four cellists and aims to go beyond the event itself to explore issues of social media in society, said the opera company’s president, David B. Devan.
Opera Philadelphia is still raising money for this year’s iteration of its annual festival, which runs Sept. 18-29 in various venues around the city.
The direct costs of the festival amount to $3.7 million, of which $1 million is anticipated in ticket sales. Of the $2.7 million coming from philanthropy, the company has $600,000 more to raise, and is “in dialogue with the philanthropic community to secure the remaining funding,” a company spokesperson said.
Denis & Katya, a co-commission by Opera Philadelphia with Music Theatre Wales and Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, runs for eight performances starting Sept. 18 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.