The Comet / Poppea

  • Curtis 100, Curtis Opera Theatre
  • Nov 2, 2024 @ 7:00 P.M.

Lewis and Monteverdi’s Stories of Cultural Transformation

Curtis Opera Theatre launches the East Coast premiere of The Comet / Poppea, the MacArthur Award-winning composer George Lewis’ highly anticipated operatic setting of W.E.B. Du Bois’s proto-Afrofuturist science fiction short story, The Comet (1920), juxtaposed with Claudio Monteverdi’s hot-blooded political thriller, L’incoronazione di Poppea (1643). Presented on a turntable divided in two halves, these worlds unfold simultaneously, with the stage’s rotation creating a visual and sonic spiral for audiences—inviting associations, dissociations, collisions, and confluences. Directed and conceived by fellow MacArthur-winner Yuval Sharon, this innovative co-production features a stellar cast of Curtis singers led by conductor Marc Lowenstein.  

The Comet
GEORGE LEWIS, music
DOUGLAS KEARNEY, libretto
Adapted from the W.E.B. Dubois short story The Comet 

L’incoronazione di Poppea
CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI, music
FRANCESCO BUSENELLO, libretto

The Comet will be performed in English with English supertitles.
L’incoronazione di Poppea will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.

Program

GEORGE LEWIS The Comet
MONTEVERDI L'incoronazione di Poppea

Artists

  • Marc Lowenstein Conductor

    Enjoying a rich and vibrant genre-crossing conducting career, Marc Lowenstein’s work has been described as an “assured conductor” by the New York Times and “awe-inspiring” by the New Yorker.

  • Yuval Sharon Director

    Yuval Sharon has amassed an unconventional body of work that expands the operatic form. Learn more 

  • Curtis Opera Theatre

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

  • Curtis Symphony Orchestra

    Acclaimed for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra offers a dynamic showcase of tomorrow’s exceptional young talent. Each year the 100 extraordinary musicians of the orchestra work with internationally renowned conductors, including Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Yannick Nézet Séguin, who also mentors the early-career conductors who hold Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellowships. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America’s leading orchestras, as well as esteemed orchestral, opera, and chamber ensembles around the world.

2024–25 Season

Great to Groundbreaking

Step into the heart of our centennial celebration as Curtis Institute of Music unveils a season brimming with passion, energy, and greatness. You’ll experience music-making at its highest level—and the energy and excitement of extraordinary young talent. It will be an unforgettable season, where the young artists of Curtis ignite the stage alongside esteemed alums like Yuja Wang, Ray Chen, Teddy Abrams, Time For Three, and many more. 

Special Thanks

The Comet / Poppea is realized through a landmark partnership among organizations across the United States, produced by Anthony Roth Costanzo and Cath Brittan, The Industry, AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), and Curtis Institute of Music.

Curtis’ Centennial Season is made possible through the support of Derek and Sissela Bok, the Mary Louise Curtis Bok Foundation, Deborah M. Fretz, Charles C. Freyer and Judith Durkin Freyer, Lisa and Gie Liem, Mark and Robin Rubenstein, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Curtis Institute of Music received funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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