Andrew Kurtz, who founded Center City Opera Theater in 1998 and continues to serve as its general and artistic director, is a busy man. He also serves as music director of several orchestras, is a frequent guest conductor, and is a respected music educator.
CCOT reflects Kurtz’s versatility as it seeks to build new audiences and provide performance opportunities for young singers. It offers at least two well-known operas annually in the 563-seat Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center. The scene shifts to the smaller Ethical Society of Philadelphia for Opera Encounters, a series of staged works with piano accompaniment.
The company isn’t afraid to leave the theater behind. In the first of what it hopes will become an annual tradition, CCOT presented Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love in South Philly’s open-air Italian Market in 2010. “You get that town-square feel,” Kurtz noted. “People will watch the opera, but they are going to be freer to get up, buy a sandwhich, get a coffee. More like a ball game than an opera.”
In collaboration with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, CCOT has presented ConNEXTion: The Next Generation of Opera for several years. The program offers semi-staged performances of world premieres of works-in-progress by American composers and includes the opportunity for post-performance feedback. The CCOT’s OPERAtunities brings opera to school audiences in the Greater Philly area. Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs help young singers to develop in a professional setting.
Center City Opera Theater Information
- Public Transportation: Excellent (Easily accessible by SEPTA subway, rail and bus lines)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: 9–10 per season with multiple performances of most
- Ticket Prices: Individual ticket prices start at $38.