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The side-by-side productions can also be seen live at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Graphic: Opera Philadelphia
The side-by-side productions can also be seen live at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Graphic: Opera Philadelphia

George Walker and Igor Stravinsky: Stream ‘Oedipus Rex + Lilacs’ for free this Friday

Opera Philadelphia will be streaming the Friday, Jan. 21, concert of 'Oedipus Rex + Lilacs' free of charge for a limited time. Live performances will be held…

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Starting Friday, Jan. 21 at 8:00 p.m. EST, the Opera Philadelphia Channel will offer a free, live streamed recording of their most recent Oedipus Rex + Lilacs concert.

The concert program is split between George Walker’s Lilacs and Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, with Walker’s composition beginning the program.

The concert of the same time slot will be available on the Opera Philadelphia channel for a limited time, until Feb. 20 of this year.

The 70-minute, no-intermission concert will be performed from the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Verizon Hall in Philadelphia. 

The concert is a significant event for Opera Philadelphia, as the company has not held audiences at the Kimmel Cultural Campus since January 2020.

The concert program will feature a dedicated and distinguished arrangement of soloists and the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra. Chorus will be led by Jack Mulroney Music Director Corrado Rovaris.

Another concert of Oedipus Rex + Lilacs will be held on Sunday, Jan. 23 at 2:00 p.m. EST. This performance will not be recorded and presented for later viewing.

Lilacs composer George Walker became the first African-American composer to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Lilacs was the work that earned him the award.

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1922, and having started to play piano by the age of five, Walker would receive his Pulitzer Prize in 1996. 

Walker’s Lilacs, a 15-minute work, was written in honor of the renowned Black tenor Roland Hayes. 

The composition also features stanzas from Walk Whitman’s "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d," a poem written in response to Abraham Lincoln’s assaination.

After graduating from the Philadelphia conservatory, Walker won the Philadelphia Youth Auditions.

This allowed Walker to play with the Philadelphia Orchestra, making him the first Black instrumentalist to appear in the orchestra.

Stravinsky is considered an influential and pivotal figure in modernist music. His work Oedipus Rex is considered to be a product of his neoclassical period.

In a press release, Opera Philadelphia described Oedipus Rex as a “Handelian opera-oratorio for orchestra, narrator, soloists and male chorus.”

In Oedipus Rex, Opera Philadelphia promises a bold intersection between the drama and grandeur of this work and Stravinsky’s later, more religious ones. 

“And although Oedipus Rex is seldom performed, its drama, wit, and consummate artistry does full justice to the composer’s formidable legacy,” said Opera Philadelphia.

Opera Philadelphia says the recording will be available ​​on TV screens via AppleTV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon FireTV, and Chromecast, and on mobile devices via iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

The Opera Philadelphia Channel is available for viewings of other works, with Oedipus Rex + Lilacs becoming available for free this Friday.

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