Philly Opera works to avoid 'sophomore slump'

This Sept. 12, 2018 photo released by Opera Philadelphia, Mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, in foreground, rehearses the role of Martha in the new opera

This Sept. 12, 2018 photo released by Opera Philadelphia, Mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, in foreground, rehearses the role of Martha in the new opera

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Opera Philadelphia is about to kick off its second annual festival of innovative work, hoping to match last year's success in redefining the company and building new audiences.

David Devan, the company's general director, said that while last year was about "a celebration of composers" with three world premieres, the focus this year is on "performing artists as creators."

Soprano Patricia Racette, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo are among the stars set to perform.

The festival will run Sept. 20-30 at a variety of venues around Philadelphia.