Thanks to rigorous instruction and coaching for young opera artists, and presentations of resident artists from around the world in concerts, oratorios, public programs and fully staged professional opera productions, the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is distinguished by its reputation for high-quality, critically acclaimed performances. Each year AVA resident artists are presented in fully staged opera productions accompanied by orchestra. With Center support, AVA produced Jules Massenet's Don Quichotte in spring 2012. The opera is one of Massenet's great overlooked works and had not been performed on the East Coast since 1926.
The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA), a long-standing Philadelphia institution devoted to opera training, produced French composer Jules Massenet's Don Quichotte, in recognition of the centennial of his death. Written toward the end of Massenet's life, Don Quichotte debuted in 1910 and had not been performed on the East Coast since 1926. The production was directed by Tito Capobianco of the Metropolitan Opera, and Maestro Christofer Macatsoris, hailed by Opera Magazine as "one of the treasures of the Philadelphia music scene," served as conductor. Burak Bilgili, a 2004 AVA graduate who has already performed at distinguished venues such as La Scala, Milan, performed the title role. Second-year AVA students, mezzo-soprano Chrystal Williams and bass baritone Musa Ngqungwana, performed as Dulcinée and Sancho Pança, respectively. The production debuted in March 2013 at AVA's Helen Corning Warden Theater, toured to nearby venues, and was broadcast on WRTI-90.1 FM.