Opera Philadelphia performs The Listeners at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA

September 25, 7:00 pm September 29, 2024, 2:00 pm

240 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102 map

The Listeners

American Premiere
Music by Missy Mazzoli
Libretto by Royce Vavrek
Based on an original story by Jordan Tannahill
Performed in English with English supertitles

The Sound of a Divided Nation

Composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek follow up on their acclaimed 2016 world premiere Breaking the Waves with a thriller about the seductive power of cults and charismatic leaders in a divided nation.

The Listeners examines the lengths to which we, as Americans, are willing to go to find a sense of place and purpose, and the way in which confident, charming leaders can exploit these needs to their own ends.

A middle-class mother (soprano Nicole Heaston in her company debut) living in a southwestern U.S. suburb notices a “hum,” a high-frequency environmental noise that only a select few people, the “Listeners,” can hear. A community organization quickly forms to solve the mystery of the hum, but when the de facto leader (Kevin Burdette) suggests a spiritual significance, the meetings become increasingly cult-like. Is this community of “Listeners” on a collision course with destruction?

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