Les Mamelles de Tirésias & The Seven Deadly Sins

Transformations of Desire: A Captivating Opera Double Bill

Curtis Opera Theatre presents a double bill featuring Francis Poulenc’s outrageously funny farce, Les Mamelles de Tirésias, alongside Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s darkly satirical “ballet chanté,” The Seven Deadly Sins, at the Philadelphia Film Center.

Gender norms explode in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Poulenc’s surreal opéra bouffe. Thérèse, a bored housewife, grows weary of her daily routine and suddenly becomes the male General Tirésias when her breasts turn into balloons and float away. As they lead a new life fighting distant wars on foreign battlefields, their stay-at-home husband discovers a way to make babies on his own—but not just one: 40,049 of them. This clever comedy features a delightfully fizzy cocktail of opera, cabaret, and jazz, with a tale as consciously arty, feminist, and political as it is insightfully witty. 

Les Mamelles de Tirésias is sung in French with English supertitles.
Francis Poulenc, music and libretto  

A biting critique of industrial capitalism, Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins follows the perils of a woman sent away by her exploitative family to earn enough money to buy a house on the Mississippi River. In this sung ballet of split personalities, a singer (Anna I) and a dancer (Anna II) face down the seven deadly sins, each testing her wavering moral compass at every turn. This sardonic tale of sacrifice draws on the classic pop song and dance numbers of the 1920s and ’30s, blended with that quintessential Weill sound and a timeless commentary on values, virtues, and the “almighty dollar.” 

The Seven Deadly Sins is sung in German with English supertitles.
Kurt Weill, music
Bertolt Brecht, libretto

Location

Philadelphia Film Center
1412 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Directions and Parking

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Cast

Les mamelles de Tirésias
Le Directeur Nathan Schludecker
Thérèse/Tirésias/La Cartomancienne Juliette Tacchino
Le Mari Erik Tofte
Monsieur Lacouf Morgan-Andrew King
Le Gendarme Evan Gray
La Marchande de journaux Judy Zhuo
Le Journaliste Landry Allen
Le Fils Jackson Allen
Une Dame Shikta Mukherjee
*La Dame élégante Juliet Rand
**Le Monsieur barbu Yulin Yan
The Seven Deadly Sins
Anna I Katie Trigg
Anna II Maya Mor Mitrani
Brother Evan Gray
Mother Morgan-Andrew King
Father Hongrui Ren
Brother Landry Allen
*listed as ”Une Grosse Dame” in H.31162
** Sings also “V.M.” in H.31162

Artists

  • Michelle Rofrano is a Sicilian-American conductor with a keen interest in the intersection of art and social activism. An avid opera conductor, she has recently led productions of Viardot’s Cendrillon with City Lyric Opera; The Queen of Spades and Trouble in Tahiti with The Glimmerglass Festival; Telemann’s comic opera Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding with Opera Saratoga; Le nozze di Figaro with the Crane School of Music; Trouble in Tahiti, Service Provider, Avow, and A Flourish of Green with Westminster Choir College; Così fan tutte and The Turn of the Screw with DC Public Opera; Così fan tutte with the Oberlin in Italy opera festival; and Suor Angelica with the New Jersey Opera Project. She has served as assistant conductor for productions of La Bohéme and Le Nozze di Figaro with Florida Grand Opera; The Cunning Little Vixen, La Traviata, Blue, and Silent Night with The Glimmerglass Festival; Eugene Onegin and Salome with Spoleto Festival USA; L’elisir d’amore  and The Merry Wives of Windsor with Juilliard Opera; Man of La Mancha with Opera Saratoga; and La Bohéme with Opera Birmingham.

    A Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship Mentee, Rofrano enjoys performing orchestral repertoire in addition to opera and has led concerts with the Spoleto Festival USA orchestra, CJMEA youth orchestra, and The Little Orchestra Society. Her recording of Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C from the Spoleto Festival’s Classical Showcase in 2019 has been featured multiple times on classical music radio program Performance Today, reaching a national audience.

    Learn more about Michelle.

  • Eve Summer is a director, producer, and choreographer. Her work has been called “eye-poppingly contemporary,” “transfixingly personal,” a riveting, glorious production from beginning to end,” and “can only be described as brilliant.” Critics raved that her production of Xerxes for Connecticut Early Music Festival was “a delight, and a testament to Summer’s gift for banishing stodginess from an art form too often seen as fossilized and elitist”. Her Cosi fan tutte for Commonwealth opera was hailed as “amazing…brilliantly staged, beautifully sung and acted, touching, intimate, and hilarious.” Her style is naturalistic and modern and rooted in the visceral truthfulness of stage plays where she started her directing career. Her theater productions have included The Merry Wives of Windsor, Extremities, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Woolgatherer, ‘Art,Two Gentlemen of Verona, and her own play Neighbors, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Thomas Berger.

    A former professional ballet dancer and choreographer, Eve’s choreography credits include a commission to choreograph a new ballet, Jeanne’s Fantasy, by composer Mark Warhol for the premiere with Contrapose Dance and Fort Point Theatre Channel, Elektra at Des Moines Metro Opera, Falstaff at Opera Colorado, and Don Giovanni for Boston Opera Collaborative. She recently collaborated with renowned choreographer Karole Armitage on the critically acclaimed American premiere of Philip Glass’ Opera-Ballet The Witches of Venice at Opera Saratoga. Notable assisting engagements also include Francesca Zambello on the world premiere of Ben Moore’s Robin Hood at The Glimmerglass Festival, Julia Pevzner on her widely acclaimed production of Shostakovich’s The Nose at Opera Boston, and Tim Albery on Janáček’s Katya Kabaonova at Boston Lyric Opera. Eve has been on staff as an assistant director and choreographer at The Glimmerglass Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Colorado, Tulsa Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Opera Boston.

    Learn more about Eve.

  • Through imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theater, the artists of the Curtis Opera Theatre prepare to become stars of the world stage. The combination of key elements of artistry—music, acting, singing, and costumes—allows these student-artists to create a lasting connection with audiences.

Special Thanks

The Curtis Opera Theatre is generously supported by the Ernestine Bacon Cairns Trust, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.

This performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY