It is no surprise that Andy led an eventful life; a journey which included the friendship of celebrities, drag queens and businessmen from all walks of life, a dramatic attempted murder and of course, fame and recognition as one of the most revolutionary artists to influence the trajectory of modern art. And, what better way to commemorate this bigger-than-life persona than with an opera?
In September 2015, Opera Philadelphia, in partnership with the experimental troupe The Bearded Ladies, plans to launch the world premiere of “ANDY: A Popera”. Inspired by the infamous artist, this cabaret-style opera will feature original music by composer Dan Visconti and Heath Allen.
This Popera is being developed in three collaborative stages. Stage one was a series of pop-up performances held throughout Philadelphia in May 2014. Stage two was an hour-long cabaret version of the piece performed by The Bearded Ladies. And, the third and final stage will be the Popera scheduled for next year.
Dan Visconti, whose style blends contemporary music with the vitality of jazz and rock, is new to the project. After watching The Bearded Ladies rehearse and perform the short version of the piece at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia in July, he agreed to stay on to expand the work into the full-length opera version.
It sounds like Visconti is interested in creating with a similar creative drive as Warhol, who was a fan of experimentation and collaboration. Visconti described the next steps in developing this contemporary opera as a combination of talents and styles:
“By combining the collaborative rehearsal and creation process of devised theater with the compositional rigor of classical opera, I’m hoping that ANDY (the Popera) will develop into a project that combines the best qualities of both genres into something new and promising.”
This opera/cabaret could be the most ambitious interpretation of Andy Warhol’s philosophy, works, life and legacy yet! Stay tuned for more details on Andy: The Popera, planned for Spring 2015.