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Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra Launch 2019–20 Season with Opening Night Concert and Gala featuring Audra McDonald September 18, 2019

August 21, 2019

Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Audra McDonald

will perform selections by Gershwin, Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more


Soprano Adela Zaharia to make Philadelphia Orchestra debut


Audience to participate in program through Pauline Oliveros’s “Tuning Meditation”


Opening Night festivities presented by the Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra


(Philadelphia, August 21, 2019)—The Philadelphia Orchestra launches its 120th season on Wednesday, September 18, at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with a special Opening Night Concert and Gala, featuring a performance by award-winning singer and actor Audra McDonald. Led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Fabulous Philadelphians officially kick off the 2019–20 season with a celebratory program featuring selections by Gershwin, Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more. Acclaimed soprano Adela Zaharia will make her Philadelphia Orchestra debut, performing an aria from Verdi’s La traviata. The concert will also include audience participation in the first Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Pauline Oliveros’s “Tuning Meditation,” from Four Mediations for Orchestra.


“We are thrilled to have the sensational Audra McDonald and Adela Zaharia joining Your Philadelphia Orchestra on stage for our Opening Night Concert,” said Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will begin his eighth season with the Orchestra. “In the spirit of togetherness, we also look forward to having our beloved audience join in Pauline Oliveros’s ‘Tuning Meditation,’ which will undoubtedly be a magical moment of the evening.”


Orchestra President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky adds, “From the breadth and power of women in music, to the contemporary relevance of Beethoven on his 250th birthday, to Music that Transforms, there is much to look forward to this season! Our Opening Night Concert and Gala is made possible thanks to the dedication of our Volunteer Committees, resulting in what is sure to be an unforgettable evening and an extraordinary start to a season full of musical memories with Your Philadelphia Orchestra.”


The Opening Night Concert and Gala begins with the Benefactors’ Gala Reception at 5:30 PM in the Kimmel Center’s Tier Two Lounge. The concert begins at 7 PM in Verizon Hall and will be performed without intermission. Immediately following the concert, gala attendees will enjoy a black-tie, Asian-inspired dinner—in celebration of the Orchestra’s upcoming fall Tour of Asia—in Commonwealth Plaza, catered by Garces, with décor by Evantine Design, Inc.


Concert and gala tickets, as well as concert-only tickets, are currently on sale. Gala tickets start at $500 and are available online or by calling 215.893.3124. Concert-only tickets range from $95-$250 and are available through Ticket Philadelphia at 215.893.1999 or by visiting www.philorch.org. Young Friends of The Philadelphia Orchestra are invited to attend the Opening Night Concert and Gala for the special price of $175. For more information, visit www.philorch.org/openingnight.


The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin are graciously donating their services for this concert. All gala events are organized under the direction of Volunteer Committees President Nancy Galloway. Early support of the Opening Night Concert and Gala was led by Opening Night Co-Chairs Richelle Rabenou, Peter Shaw, and Assistant Principal Cello Yumi Kendall, as well as The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Board of Directors and dedicated Volunteers.

The Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra were formed in 1904, four years after the Orchestra’s first concerts. The Women’s Committee, as it was originally called, was the first permanent organization of its kind in the U.S., and has since come to serve as a model for similar groups in the U.S. and abroad. The current Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra include Central, Chestnut Hill, Main Line, Musical Cocktails, New Jersey, Rittenhouse Square, and West Philadelphia. Through their endeavors over the past century, thousands of members of the Volunteer Committees have given countless hours and innumerable talents in service to The Philadelphia Orchestra and the people of the greater Philadelphia region.



Opening Night


September 18 at 7:00 PM—Wednesday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor


Audra McDonald Soprano


Strauss                                                Suite from Der Rosenkavalier

Verdi                                                    “È strano! … Ah, fors’è lui … Sempre libera,” from La traviata

Oliveros                                               “Tuning Meditation,” from Four Meditations for Orchestra—First

Philadelphia Orchestra Performance

Gershwin, Sondheim,                          Selections

   Rodgers and Hammerstein


Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actor. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts. She joins Yannick and the Orchestra, performing beloved selections by Gershwin, Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more, for a truly unforgettable evening.


Join us to celebrate Yannick’s eighth season as music director and the lush sounds of Your Philadelphia Orchestra. Opening Night Co-Chairs Richelle Rabenou, Peter Shaw, and Assistant Principal Cello Yumi Kendall, and the Opening Night Gala Committee look forward to welcoming you to this celebratory evening with Philadelphia’s cultural leaders and arts patrons.


For gala information and tickets, please call 215.893.3124 or visit www.philorch.org/openingnight.

For concert-only tickets, call 215.893.1999 or visit www.philorch.org.



The Philadelphia Orchestra would like to extend sincere gratitude to our 2019 Opening Night Supporters.


Cocktail Benefactor

Edith R. Dixon  


Diamond Benefactor

Patricia and John Imbesi           

Joseph Neubauer and Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer

Mari and Peter Shaw    

Richard B. Worley and Leslie Miller and the Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation 


Platinum Benefactor

Ralph Muller and Beth Johnston

Parx Casino     

Stradley Ronon


Gold Benefactor

Mrs. Constance Benoliel-Rock  

Judith Broudy   

Tobey and Mark Dichter

John and Rosemary Diederich

Lisa and Peter DiLullo  

Dilworth Paxsonb LLP  

Mrs. Elise R.W. du Pont

Alexandra Edsall and Robert Victor       

Joseph and Marie Field

Marcy Gringlas and Joel Greenberg       

Stephen Klein and Toby Strogatz          

Neal W. Krouse

Bong S. Lee and Soyoung Kim 

Malmud-Kavitz Foundation       

Dr. Morton and Rhea Mandell    

Sandy and David Marshall         

Priscilla Seibert McDougal        

John McFadden and Lisa Kabnick         

Mrs. Vivian Piasecki     

Lyn M. Ross    

Dianne and Jeffrey Rotwitt        

Mr. and Mrs. Mark E. Rubenstein           

Marilyn Sanborne and Richard Labowskie

Charles and Suzanne Valutas   

R. Brian Wenzinger       

Alison Young and David Maser


Principal Benefactor

Dennis L. Adams

Vijay and Susan Aggarwal        

Sherrin Baky-Nessler and William Nessler III      

Richard and Claudia Balderston

Edward and Melissa Barnes      

Peter A. Benoliel and Willo Carey          

Joanne M. Berwind

Charlotte H. Biddle

Sibby Brasler   

Naomi and Stephen Breman      

Elaine Camarda 

Rick and Flo Celender   

Sara Cerato     

Dr. Robert Cody           

Suzanne and Norman Cohn      

Michael and Constance Cone    

Sarah Miller Coulson

Christos Coutifaris        

Nancy and Kenneth Davis        

Stacy Maria Dutton and Charles McMahon        

Drs. Bruce and Toby Eisenstein

Katharine and Bill Eyre 

Mrs. Diane Foxman      

Linda Frankel   

Nancy and John Galloway         

Judy and John Glick     

Juliet J. Goodfriend      

Kate Hall          

Lauren Hart and Todd Carmichael         

Martin and Cynthia Heckscher   

Robert Heim and Eileen Kennedy          

Eric and Lenora Hume  

Osagie and Losenge Imasogie  

Rachelle and Ronald Kaiserman

Dr. and Mrs. Roy M. Lerman      

Elizabeth and Edwin Mahoney   

Richard and Florence Maloumian          

Joseph Manko, Sr.

Susan and Graham McDonald

George and Keiko Miller             

Robert E. Mortensen     

Ms. Cathy Moss and Mr. Mitchell Harris 

Mr. and Mrs. John Moyer          

Louise and Alan Reed

Caroline B. Rogers       

Dr. Lee D. Rowe and Lauren Rowe        

 Adele K. Schaeffer      

Carole L. Schultz          

Mr. Lee F. Shlifer         

Constance Smukler      

Mrs. Ann R. Sorgenti    

Dr. Judith Sills Swartz and Randy Swartz           

Dr. Norman L. Sykes    

Leonard and Barbara Sylk        

Barbara Augusta Teichert          

Barbara Y. Tiffany and H. Robert Tiffany III

Maria Vickers

Ramona and Jack Vosbikian     

Alex Westenfield          

F. Gordon Yasinow       

Michael Zisman and Linda Gamble        



George D. Beatty                        

Maggie and Bob Beck                 

Sally and Roland Bullard                          

Mr. and Mrs. James Crowell                      

Alice B. Cullen                 

Kali and Vincent Curran

Henry and Kathy Donner           

John and Gloria Drosdick

Larry Dubinski

Barbara Eberlein and Jerry Wind                          

Phyllis and Howard Fischer                      

Toni and Bob Garrison

Marie and Jeffrey Kenkelen                      

Joseph Kluger and Susan Lewis

Keith A. Layton                

Melanie and Harry Martin

Mr. and Mrs. James W. McLane              

Mr. Mark Mills

Lynn and Anthony C. Salvo

Ms. Adrienne Simpson and Ingres H. Simpson                 

Dr. and Mrs. Alan E. Tasoff                     

Pat West and Tom Vernon                       

Paul and Lisa Yakulis                  



Franny and Franny Abbott                       

Kim and David Adler         

Dr. Susan C. Aldridge                      

Betsy Anderson          

Alexis and Martha Barron                         

Jane Crawford Baumgardner                       

Frank and Suzanne Binswanger

Harris Block     

Ellen and Peter Bodenheimer                   

Dr. and Mrs. Kirk Brandow        

Jennifer and David Cardy

Barbara Chimicles

Peggy Cooke   

John and Karen Cunningham                   

Richard Davidson and Linda Golden                     

Colleen DeMorat and Ray Domboski                           

Helen H. Ford                    

Ms. Noël Butcher Hanley                              

Benjamin Harbold

Russell Harris, M.D., and Carmen Zinni                

Jeff and Breanna Harvey

Marybeth Henry                 

Dr. and Mrs.  Gregory Hillyard                  

James and Hollie Holt                  

Andrea and Warren Kantor                      

Bernice J. Koplin and Guy A. Veroli                                                

Drs. Gary and Deborah Ledley                 

Hon. and Mrs. Stephen Levin                   

Dr. David W. Low and Dr. Marija Ugrinich                         

Constance Madara                          

Terry and Betty McCabe                          

Mrs. Philippus Miller, Jr.                 

Anna and Michael Minkovich                    

Mattie Moore

David and Arlene Morgan

Dr. Gareth Morris-Stiff

Mr. and Mrs. Steven G. Park       

Richelle and Kameron Rabenou            

Robert and Catharine Rauscher                

Diana M. Regan                          

Dr. and Mrs. David J. Richards     

Katherine and Hugh Roome

Roslyn and Frank Roth                

Robin Sagoskin                 

Carol C. Sherman

Stephen and Carol Spinelli

Mrs. Erna Talapan        

Mr. and Mrs. David Teppe                        

Deborah and Andrew Webster                 

Richard Weisenberg and Faye Senneca              

Harriet and Ken Wiseman                        

Lisa Witomski and James Scott              


Young Friend

Miss Heather Aspras                      

James and Micaela Brandau                       

Francesco Caruso

Courtney Carey                 

Kristin Detterline

Drs. John and Jennifer Fontana                   

J. Andrew Greenblatt                      

Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Heilig

Ari S. Kaplan                      

Ronald Kolla, Esq.                        

Phoebe Loh                       

Dr. Nina Radcliff and Carmen Radcliff

Hugo M. Rocha

Len S. and Katie K.

Nicole Salomone

Mr. and Mrs. Justin Shipe                           

Christopher Stearns and Jared Susco

Alvaro Zarate                      



Margaret and Robert Morris

Mr. Barclay Whitaker

David A. Wickard                           



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