Andy Warhol Gets Opera Inspired by His Life and Work


Artist extraordinaire Andy Warhol will get his own opera, ANDY: A Popera.

Taking center stage at this opera inspired by the life and work of Andy Warhol will be soup cans, Marilyns, and bananas in the company of the many characters who hung around with the artist at his Factory—Edie Sedgwick, Candy Darling, his mother Julia Warhola, and the feminist writer-turned-would-be-assassin Valerie Solanas.

The site-specific performance, a co-production between Opera Philadelphia and the cabaret group Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Popera will be presented at Philadelphia’s Fringe Arts festival which runs September 3–19. The festival was founded in 1997, and today includes over 1,000 artistic performances.

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick circa 1965. Photo: Steve Schapiro/Corbis

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick circa 1965.
Photo: Steve Schapiro/Corbis

“ANDY constitutes a radical and new collaboration both in form and process,” said Bearded Ladies Artistic Director John Jarboe. “It’s a collision between the devising sensibilities of The Bearded Ladies and the epic sweep and power of the opera world.” Jarboe also wrote the libretto and directed the opera.

A continuation of a project first performed in May 2014, the cabaret-opera hybrid came about in a “three-stage public process,” according to the Opera Philadelphia website. Its first stage included pop-up performances that happened throughout the Pennsylvania city, while its second-stage residency was at the Wilma Theater in July of the same year.

Composer Dan Visconti, who co-composed the opera with Heath Allen, said, “Ultimately, the show will make audiences think about the way that Warhol embraced image and branding so as to engage our present day cult of social media, where the dream of fame and the ability to control and craft one’s image have proceeded beyond Warhol’s wildest fantasies.”

Andy Warhol, Flowers FS. II 67 (1970). Photo: via

Andy Warhol, Flowers FS. II 67 (1970).
Photo: via

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