Pittsburgh Festival Opera adds more in-person programming with new Legends in the Limelight series | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Festival Opera adds more in-person programming with new Legends in the Limelight series

click to enlarge Pittsburgh Festival Opera adds more in-person programming with new Legends in the Limelight series
Photo: David Bachman Photography for Pittsburgh Opera
Alexandra Loutsion in Pittsburgh Opera's 2019 production of Florencia en el Amazonas
Alexandra Loutsion has secured her reputation as a rising opera star. She's performed on stages across North America and represented the United States as a quarterfinalist in the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Spain. The soprano has garnered abundant praise for her performances, stretching back to 2015 when the Washington Post called her “a singer to watch” in a review of Wolf Trap Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly.

She has since racked up starring and supporting roles, recently being noted for her performance in the Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Taking Up Serpents.

She is also a native of Canonsburg, Pa., and a frequent performer with the Pittsburgh Opera. Her local contributions continue when she kicks off Legends in the Limelight, a new four-part series presented by Pittsburgh Festival Opera at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

Legends in the Limelight, which begins on Aug. 3 and continues through Nov. 16, is described in a press release as allowing audiences to “experience the voices, stories and glorious songs that enchant opera lovers around the world, without leaving Pittsburgh.” Besides Loutsion, the series will also stage performances by baritone and Avalon native Michael Chioldi, tenor Gregory Kunde, and soprano Marjorie Owens.

“I am thrilled to be able to invite these four truly great opera stars, who happen to be my dear friends and colleagues, to Pittsburgh to debut Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s Legends in the Limelight concert series,” says Pittsburgh Festival Opera artistic director and celebrated mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti. “This type of concert series doesn’t exist here in Pittsburgh, and I truly believe our audiences deserve to hear these great artists.”

Each Legends in the Limelight performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. and be followed by a reception, during which audiences can mingle with the artists.

Like many arts organizations, Pittsburgh Festival Opera had to find ways to still perform over the past year as entertainment venues and live shows had to shut down due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company, which is based in the East End and touts itself as being “dedicated to presenting innovative opera,” had to switch gears with digital programming, podcasts, and other offerings.

In May, Pittsburgh Festival Opera executive director Christopher Powell said in less than a year, the company created over 50 hours of all-new digital programming – all of which is still available to stream on its website – and employed over 60 artists.

Over the past few months, Pittsburgh Festival Opera has begun to emerge from the digital realm with live performances. Besides the upcoming Legends in the Limelight, the company also participated in the Open Air Series on Flagstaff Hill and presented Voce al Fresco: Fresh Voices Under the Stars at various outdoor locations.

Even so, some programming will continue online, including a filmed production of Lysistrata, or The Nude Goddess and the digital release of the family-friendly Cinderella adaptation Cendrillon.

“As we emerge from this extended pause in live performances, Pittsburgh Festival Opera will return stronger and more focused on showcasing the artists who bring opera to life,” says Powell in a press release. “Through all the uncertainty of 2020, the good people of Pittsburgh supported us. What better way to give back than to celebrate opera throughout the year.”

Pittsburgh Festival Opera presents Legends in the Limelight. 7:30 p.m. Tue., Aug 3. Continues through Nov. 16. Carnegie Music Hall. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $10-75. Additional $50 for reception. pittsburghfestivalopera.org