Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. The company presents both traditional and new repertoire and a wide array of programming that aims to diversify opera audiences. Center-supported projects include Silent Night, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music for composer Kevin Puts.
Opera Philadelphia presented the East Coast premiere of Tan Dun's Tea: A Mirror of Soul at the Academy of Music. Composed in 2002, Tea uses the elements of the Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies (water, fire, paper, and ceramic) to tell a tragic love story. Composer Tan Dun conducted the first two performances and David Hayes conducted the remaining three. Bass Kirk Eichelberger performed the role of the emperor. Opera Philadelphia welcomed several artists from the 2007 Sante Fe Opera American premiere: director Amon Miyamoto; soprano Kelly Kaduce; tenor Roger Honeywell; mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby; baritone Haijing Fu; and percussionists Haruka Fujii, Chihiro Shibayama, and Yuri Yamashita. Rounding out the cast were nine baritones from the Opera Philadelphia chorus. Rumi Matsui designed the set and Masatomo Ota designed the costumes. The project featured an artist lecture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.