It’s Valentine’s weekend, so don’t mind me if I talk about the music of love and the sounds of romance. To me, the dulcet tones of l’amour happen to be opera — Opera Philadelphia’s Ainadamar at the Academy of Music to be specific. The 21st-century tango-and-effects-driven opera got a leg up from an army of local Twitterers meant to market Osvaldo Golijov’s poly-stylistic work. Bravo. Anything that brings attention to Opera Philly and its cause is greatly desired. As long as they were on mute, it’s cool. Helping to drag opera into the modern age is Karina Kacala, the onetime marketing manager at First Person Arts. This week, she starts the same role at Opera Philadelphia. (Becca Jennings, meanwhile, takes over for Kacala at First Person.) “I’m a former opera singer, so I’m very excited about the move,” says Kacala. Brava to her. Having new opera news to crow about is better than a dozen Pitchfork headlines.
Speaking of romantic music, the soulful Sound of Philadelphia and the men who made it famous — Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell — have some things cooking. Bell, the arranger and composer best known for stirring up the sweeping sound of the O’Jays, clued me in to some happenings within their partnership. It’s already known that Philly developer Carl Dranoff took over the trio’s Philadelphia International Records’ offices and studios on Broad Street in December 2013 to build SLS International. Its 47 stories (150 hotel rooms, 125 luxury condominiums) will make it the tallest original residential building in Pennsylvania. But Bell offered me a fun fact I didn’t know. “We bought that property from Allen Klein, the guy behind the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and ABKCO, in 1973,” says Bell. “And no, I won’t tell you what we paid for it then or what we got for it now.” The other notable progress on the Gamble/Huff/Bell front has to do with the planned jukebox musical of Sound of Philadelphia material hopefully bound for Broadway: It just finished its first draft last week. “Now things are getting good,” says Bell. The musical’s libretto is rumored to have been penned by writers from the Tyler Perry camp.
Supper is a good place to eat any time of the week, but I can’t help but confess that Sundays somehow feel homier to me at Mitch Prensky’s South Street eatery. With Valentine’s Day coming, so too must come Prensky’s annual post-V-Day pajama brunch (Sun., Feb. 16), where diners are encouraged to wear their jammies and get a free mimosa.
More icepack at citypaper.net/nakedcity.
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