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World Premiere of MERCY, an Opera/Film from the Curtis Opera Theatre, Opens November 6

Written and directed by Chas Rader-Shieber and Alek Shrader with music based on La clemenza di Tito

PHILADELPHIA, PA—October 27, 2021—The Curtis Opera Theatre radically reimagines Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito with MERCY, an opera/film premiering in four showings at the Philadelphia Film Center on November 6 (1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9:15 p.m.). Co-writers and -directors Chas Rader-Shieber and Alek Shrader tell a new story of jealousy, revenge, and forgiveness through the convergence of two realities—a black and white cinematic mindscape and a real-world recording studio. MERCY will also be available for online streaming beginning November 7.

This innovative project draws on a reorchestrated score of La clemenza di Tito and striking cinematography to reimagine an operatic experience. The talented singers of the Curtis Opera Theatre are accompanied by a small ensemble of alumni and members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, under the musical direction of Grant Loehnig and conducting fellow Robert Kahn. Audiences will experience the vocal artistry of our performers as themselves in the present day. Meanwhile, stories and intense emotions surface as they embody the roles of the emperor Tito, the vengeful Vitellia, and more, transporting viewers to a parallel world inspired by the silent film era. All these elements combine to create an emotionally interactive experience, unlike any production seen before. The opera/film runs about 90 minutes and is sung in Italian with English subtitles. More information and trailer is available at Curtis.edu/MERCY.

MERCY was filmed by the award-winning Neighborhood Film Company at Rittenhouse Filmworks and Rittenhouse Soundworks. All rehearsal and filming took place in March 2021. Writer and director Chas Rader-Shieber is the resident stage director at Curtis, and has created over 30 productions for the Curtis Opera Theatre in his long association with the company. Writer and director Alek Shrader, an in-demand operatic tenor, makes his debut with the school in this project. Grant Loehnig, master opera coach at Curtis, provided musical direction. The Curtis Opera Theatre is generously supported by the Ernestine Bacon Cairns Trust, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.

Tickets to in-person screenings for $13 are available through the Philadelphia Film Center at Filmadelphia.org. Online streaming is $6.99 for a 72-hour rental between November 7 and January 6. Preorder now at Curtis.edu/MercyOperaFilm.

The Curtis Opera Theatre has become known for imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theatre. Under the artistic direction of Eric Owens, promising young singers work alongside established professional directors and designers, resulting in fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of Curtis’s 20 students in vocal studies are cast regularly throughout each season, receiving a rare level of performance in fully staged productions, in recitals at Field Concert Hall, and as soloists with Curtis on Tour and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Curtis’s educational approach opens professional opportunities for Curtis graduates, who sing with top opera companies across the United States and Europe, including La Scala, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.




Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9:15 p.m.

Philadelphia Film Center

1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia


Available for streaming online November 7 through January 6


Chas Rader-Shieber, writer and director

Alek Shrader, writer and director

Grant Loehnig, music director

Robert Kahn, conductor


With music based on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito



Tito Ethan Burck
Vitellia Sophia Hunt
Sesto Anastasiia Sidorova
Annio Sarah Fleiss
Servilia Lindsey Reynolds
Publio Thomas Petrushka


An opera/film with alumni and members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in Italian with English subtitles


Tickets for in-person screening: $13, sold by the Philadelphia Film Center, Filmadelphia.org


Online streaming: $6.99 for 72-hour rental, preorder at Curtis.edu/MercyOperaFilm


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


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