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Barber's "Antony and Cleopatra" March 17, 19, and 21

Presented in association with Kimmel Center Presents and the Opera Company of Philadelphia

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The Curtis Opera Theatre celebrates the Samuel Barber centenary with sold-out performances of Antony and Cleopatra on March 17, 19, and 21 in the Perelman Theater at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. Based on Shakespeare's drama, Antony and Cleopatra follows the Roman general Marc Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra as they weave their way through deception, political intrigue, and human passions.

Chas Rader-Shieber directs the fully staged production, sung in the original English, with scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Jacob A. Climer, lighting design by Lenore Doxsee, and hair and makeup design by Jon Carter. George Manahan conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Manahan's 2009 Carnegie Hall performance of Antony and Cleopatra with the New York City Opera was hailed by audiences and critics alike. "What a difference it makes to hear the piece performed by an opera conductor who palpably believes in it," said the New York Times. "The fervent and sensitive performance that Mr. Manahan presided over made the best case for this opera that I have encountered."

Antony and Cleopatra is presented in association with Kimmel Center Presents and the Opera Company of Philadelphia as part of an innovative cooperative venture. Begun in 2008 with the Philadelphia premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar and continued in 2009 withAlban Berg's Wozzeck, the initiative combines a Curtis Opera Theatre production with marketing support from the Opera Company and an ideal venue at the Kimmel Center. In 2011 the three organizations will produce Janáček's Cunning Little Vixen.

One of the most important American composers of the last century, Samuel Barber (1910-81) made distinguished contributions to the orchestral, choral, operatic, piano, and chamber music repertories. Among the first students to enter the Curtis Institute of Music when it opened in 1924, he studied composition with Rosario Scalero, piano with Isabelle Vengerova, and voice. It was while studying at Curtis that he met his future collaborator and life-partner, opera composer and librettist Gian Carlo Menotti ('33).

After graduating from Curtis in 1934, Barber soon established himself within America's classical music community, winning the favor of such important artists as Koussevitzky and Horowitz. Antony and Cleopatra was premiered in New York City in 1966 at the grand opening of the new Metropolitan Opera House, and substantially revised eight years later, with the help of Menotti. Writing in the New York Times in 1984, Tim Page reported, "Barber always felt that Antony and Cleopatra was his finest work."

George Manahan (conductor) is in his twelfth season as music director of New York City Opera. Wide-ranging and versatile, he has an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. He has distinguished himself as one of the foremost conductors of our time and is especially known in the opera world for his musical guidance of diverse productions such as La fanciulla del West, Daphne, Ermione, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Cendrillon, and Die tote Stadt. He has also toured Japan with NYCO's production of Little Women. His guest appearances include the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and New Jersey, where he served as acting music director for four seasons, as well as the National Symphony, Juilliard and Manhattan schools of music, Warsaw Philharmonic, Music Academy of the West, and Aspen Music Festival. He is a regular guest with Santa Fe, Portland, and Glimmerglass opera companies and was principal conductor of the Minnesota Opera. For the 2009-10 season, Mr. Manahan conducts NYCO's performances of Weisgall's Esther and Madama Butterfly and Portland Opera's productions of Così fan tutte and Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Chas Rader-Shieber (stage director) began 2009 with new productions of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Lyric Opera Chicago and Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims for the Curtis Institute of Music. In the summer he staged Mozart's rarely heard Il Re Pastore for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and then mounted a revival of his production of Don Giovanni for the Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Rader-Shieber recently made his San Francisco opera debut with Die Entführung aus dem Serail, followed by a debut at the Los Angeles Opera, staging Plácido Domingo in Handel's Tamerlano. In recent seasons he has staged Handel's Flavio and Orlando for New York City Opera, Don Giovanni for Santa Fe Opera, Giulio Cesare for the Pittsburgh Opera, and The Cunning Little Vixen for Lyric Opera Chicago and Houston Grand Opera. He has also directed Mozart's Idomeneo, Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro, and Così fan tutte; Handel's Semele, Ariodante, Imeneo, Alcina, Xerxes, and Partenope; and works of Cavalli, Purcell, Gluck, and Rossini. Mr. Rader-Shieber's work has been seen with the opera companies of Vancouver, Minnesota, Santa Fe, Spoleto USA, and Philadelphia, among others. Upcoming are new productions of Handel's Tolomeo (American stage premiere) for Glimmerglass Opera and Don Giovanni for the Music Academy of the West.

David Zinn's (scenic design) designs for the Curtis Opera Theatre include scenery for Wozzeck and Ainadamar and set and costumes for Miss Julie. His Broadway credits include costumes for In the Next Room, Xanadu, and A Tale of Two Cities, while for opera he has designed sets and costumes for Lyric Opera of Chicago; New York City, Glimmerglass, Santa Fe, and Washington National operas; and others. Mr. Zinn's regional theater work includes set and/or costume designs for American Repertory Theatre, Centerstage, the Guthrie, Yale Rep, Seattle Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and many more. Off-Broadway he has designed set and/or costumes for Manhattan Theater Club, Signature Theatre Company, Second Stage, Atlantic Theater Company, Target Margin, and Salt Theater. Mr. Zinn received a 2008 Obie Award for sustained excellence in costume and set design.

Jacob A. Climer (costume design) has created designs for Barrington Stage Company (Underneath the Lintel, I Am My Own Wife, To Kill a Mockingbird, and This Wonderful Life). As the resident costume designer of the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas for four seasons, he designed Taming of the Shrew; Merry Wives of Windsor, TX; Othello; Romeo and Juliet; All's Well that Ends Well; and Love's Labour's Lost. Further design credits include: Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute (Spring Awakening), The New School (The Caucasian Chalk Circle), Bard College (The Importance of Being Earnest and Dido and Aeneas), and Asolo Repertory Theatre (A Winter's Tale, designed with David Zinn). Mr. Climer has created production design for Hove (The Wind), a short film starring Olympia Dukakis; Shangri La (Queens Theater in the Park); Johnny Applef%#ker (The Ohio Theatre), and Bloody Mary (recognition for excellence in costume design for off-off Broadway). He was also associate costume designer for Broadway productions of In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) and A Tale of Two Cities. Mr. Climer received a B.F.A. from University of Evansville and an M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Lenore Doxsee (lighting design) is a lighting designer for opera, theater, and dance. Her designs for the Curtis Opera Theatre include Il viaggio a Reims, Le nozze di Figaro, Alcina, Miss Julie, The Consul, The Rake's Progress, and L'incoronazione di Poppea. Other recent lighting designs include the premiere of Miguel Gutierrez's dance Last Meadow, Morgan Thorson's Heaven, Psyche and Poppea for Boston Early Music Festival, and Deganit Shemy's Arena. Other favorite designs include The Cunning Little Vixen for Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera, Flavio for New York City Opera, Orlando for New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Tamerlano for Spoleto Festival USA, and Ten Blocks on the Camino Real (set and lighting design) for Target Margin Theater. Ms. Doxsee received an Obie Award for Target Margin's production of Mamba's Daughters and a Bessie Award for Gutierrez's Retrospective Exhibitionist/Difficult Bodies at Dance Theater Workshop.

Jon Carter's (hair and makeup designer) Broadway credits include Joe Turner's Come and Gone, A Tale of Two Cities, Xanadu, and makeup design for In the Next Room. He has also designed hair and makeup for Off Broadway productions of When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center Theater), The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (New York Theatre Workshop), So Help Me God! (Mint Theater), The Good Negro (Public Theater), Chair (Theatre for a New Audience), and End Game (Brooklyn Academy of Music). His regional designs include productions for Centerstage, Dallas Theater Center, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Prince Music Theater, Delaware Theatre Company, and Arden Theatre Company. He has served as hair and makeup artist for Opera Boston, the Beijing Music Festival, Gotham Chamber Opera, and a series of Curtis Opera Theatre productions, including Wozzeck, The Medium, Impressions of Pelléas, and Don Giovanni.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world's leading conservatories, Curtis is highly selective and provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 160 students. In this intimate environment, students receive personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. A busy schedule of performances is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach, a philosophy which has produced an impressive number of notable artists since the school's founding in 1924. 

The Curtis Opera Theatre, under the artistic direction of Mikael Eliasen, is the performing entity of the Curtis Vocal Studies Department. Each season the Curtis Opera Theatre presents at least four performances and concert productions in venues such as the Prince Music Theater, Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, and the Curtis Opera Studio with established professional directors and designers who create fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of the department's twenty-five voice and opera students are cast repeatedly each season, providing students a rare level of performance experience. As a result Curtis vocal studies graduates have sung with opera companies all over the world, including La Scala, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. Several graduates are among the current Met performance roster, including leading tenors Juan Diego Flórez and Michael Schade, bass-baritones Eric Owens and John Relyea, and contralto Meredith Arwady.

As Philadelphia's leading producer of opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia presents large mainstage productions at the Academy of Music each season, along with a more intimate chamber work at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater and a collaborative production with the Curtis Institute of Music. The Opera Company is committed to presenting the highest quality in opera, nurturing rising young talent, and providing educational opportunities to audiences of all ages through extensive community partnerships. The 2009-2010 Season features Madama Butterfly, the East Coast Premiere of Tan Dun's Tea: A Mirror of Soul, and La traviata at the Academy of Music, and Orphée et Eurydice as well as Curtis Opera Theatre's Antony and Cleopatra at the Perelman Theater. For information, call (215) 732-8400 or visit operaphila.org.

Kimmel Center, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center. Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Academy of Music together serve as home to eight Resident Company performing arts organizations including: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, American Theater Arts for Youth, PHILADANCO, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. Kimmel Center, Inc.'s mission also includes arts in education, community outreach, and a rich diversity of programming through its Kimmel Center Presents and Broadway at the Academy series of performances.

 

Curtis Opera Theatre: Barber's Antony and Cleopatra
Presented by Kimmel Center Presents in association with the Opera Company of Philadelphia
Wednesday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT
Friday, March 19 at 8 p.m. SOLD OUT
Sunday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. SOLD OUT
Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

George Manahan, conductor
Chas Rader-Shieber, stage director
David Zinn, scenic design
Jacob A. Climer, costume design
Lenore Doxsee, lighting design
Jon Carter, hair and makeup design

Fully staged production with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in the original English.

 

Cast (singing order) March 17 & 21 March 19
Antony Brandon Cedel Elliot Madore
Enobarbus Evan Boyer Joseph Barron
Cleopatra Allison Sanders Elizabeth Zharoff
Caesar Joshua Stewart Christopher Tiesi
Agrippa Kevin Ray Kevin Ray
Messenger Christopher Tiesi Joshua Stewart
Charmian Jazimina MacNeil Jazimina MacNeil
Iras J'nai Bridges J'nai Bridges
Alexas Thomas Shivone Thomas Shivone
Octavia Kirsten MacKinnon Kirsten MacKinnon
Soothsayer Joseph Barron Evan Boyer
Soldier of Caesar Allen Boxer Allen Boxer
Eros Diego Silva Diego Silva
Rustic Allen Boxer Allen Boxer

 

Funded in part by:
The Pew Center for the Arts & Heritage, through the Philadelphia Music Project
William Penn Foundation

 

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Press Contacts

Jennifer Kallend
Senior Director of Public Relations and Patron Engagement
(215) 717-3190
jennifer.kallend@curtis.edu

 

Elizabeth Racheva
Vice President of External Affairs and Patron Engagement
(215) 717-3187
elizabeth.racheva@curtis.edu
 


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