Pictured, from left: Musa Ngqungwana, Burak Bilgili, and ensemble. Photo by Paul Sirochman.
Pictured, from left: Chrystal E. Williams and ensemble. Photo by Paul Sirochman.
Pictured, from left: Musa Ngqungwana and Burak Bilgili. Photo by Paul Sirochman.
Pictured, from left: Burak Bilgili and Chrystal E. Williams. Photo by Paul Sirochman.
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.