Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, May 2–5

Director John Matsumoto Giampietro and conductor Vinay Parameswaran (’13) lead an exciting cast of rising young opera stars and members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

Press Contacts:
Patricia K. Johnson | patricia.johnson@curtis.edu | (215) 717-3190
Ryan Scott Lathan | ryan.lathan@curtis.edu | (215) 717-3145

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PHILADELPHIA, PA—April 11, 2024—The 2023–24 Curtis Opera Theatre series concludes with one of the most vivid and colorful operatic works of the 20th century, Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater on May 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and May 4 and 5 at 3:00 p.m. Widely acclaimed director and playwright John Matsumoto Giampietro, associate director of the Chautauqua Opera Conservatory and a member of the Curtis Opera Theatre’s dramatic faculty, leads a cast of rising young opera stars accompanied by members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Curtis alumnus Vinay Parameswaran (Conducting ’13).

This innovative new production, featuring a collaboration with the talented young singers of the Philadelphia Boys and Girls Choirs, places the opera in a world of magical realism, in a fusion between the forest and a contemporary rehearsal studio. Led by a plucky heroine, Janáček’s poetic parable celebrates the eternal cycle of life and death as it spins a comical yet bittersweet tale of Vixen Sharp Ears. Captured by a forest gamekeeper, the mischievous young fox cub grows up to become a strong, independent vixen, escaping into the wild, where she encounters a world full of possibilities. Janáček’s stirring adaptation of the beloved serialized novella Liška Bystrouška by Czech writer and poet Rudolf Těsnohlídek features a lushly orchestrated, folk-infused score bursting with boundless invention and an imaginative array of dazzling colors, as it depicts the cycle of life, the vitality of youth and love and the truth of nature.

“It’s such a privilege to be working on this masterpiece of 20th-century opera, almost exactly 100 years after its premiere in Brno,” says director John Matsumoto Giampietro. “This opera explores the profound connection we have with Nature [and] how humans, the animal world, and our environment are all woven together into the fabric of existence. It highlights the similar journeys we all take from birth to death. This opera is both heart-building and heartbreaking. It touches on the deep experiences of life, love, and loss.

“Our production takes a special approach to highlight these elements of the piece. We are exploring the themes of the opera through the ideas of Spaces, Memory, and Return. Our relationship with Spaces is a shared one. Nature isn’t ‘outside.’ Our ‘inner’ lives are not separate or removed from Nature. This is reflected in our set, our playing area: a fused, shared place where the interior co-exists with the forest.

“We are exploring the idea of Return as coming back to a place of renewal and change as nature does through seasons and generations. And finally, Memory, a form of Return. Our production frames the action as a memory play. The story of the Vixen and all the opera’s characters, human and animal, all connect to individual or shared memories of life, loss, and renewal.”

Internationally recognized for his energetic presence, imaginative programming, and compelling musicianship, Vinay Parameswaran is one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors on the podium today. Last seen by Philadelphia audiences conducting Curtis Opera Theatre’s 2013 production of Gaetano Donizetti’s bel canto comedy, The Elixir of Love (L’elisir d’amore), Mr. Parameswaran returns to the podium and his alma mater to conduct members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and the remarkable cast of this striking new production performed in Czech with English supertitles.

Curtis Opera Theatre’s The Cunning Little Vixen features an elegant set by Barrymore Award-winning theater and opera set designer Alexis Distler, with atmospheric lighting design by Kate Ashton, heightening the drama of the libretto, evoking the wonder of the forest, and capturing the emotional core of the piece. Award-winning visual artist and costume designer Ashley Soliman and hair and makeup designer Brittany Rappise bring to life the playful energy of these unforgettable creature characters through color and silhouette. Together with visionary director John Matsumoto Giampietro, the creative team enhances the beauty and poignancy of Janáček’s classic and explores the connection between the human and animal worlds and the life force behind nature that carries us all.

TICKETS
Single tickets for The Cunning Little Vixen start at $19 and can be purchased at the Ensemble Arts Philly Box Office, EnsembleArtsPhilly.org, or (215) 893-1999.

2024–25 Season
Subscriptions for Curtis Institute of Music 2024–25 season, Great to Groundbreaking, celebrating the school’s 100th anniversary, are now on sale. The flexible Choose Your Own subscription option offers 25% off ticket prices when purchasing tickets to two or more performances. For the 2024–25 season, Curtis is also offering a Season Pass, with access to all events in 2024–25 for one flat rate of $279. Each Season Pass is valid for one best-available ticket to each paid season performance. To order a subscription, visit Curtis.edu/100, call (215) 893-7902, or email tickets@curtis.edu.

Curtis Opera Theatre’s bold and visionary 2024–25 series launches with the East Coast premiere of The Comet / Poppea by George Lewis and Claudio Monteverdi on November 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and November 3 at 2 p.m. at Philadelphia’s historic 23rd Street Armory. The series continues with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comic masterpiece, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), on February 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. and March 1 and 2 at 2 p.m. at the Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center. The series concludes with Leonard Bernstein’s outrageous, philosophical operetta Candide on April 11 at 7 p.m. and April 13 at 2 p.m. at the Forrest Theatre.

Single tickets for the 2024–25 season start at $24 and will be available on May 7.

Curtis Opera Theatre
Through imaginative productions and extraordinary musicianship, the promising young artists of Curtis Opera Theatre work alongside renowned conductors, directors, and designers to present audiences with fresh and passionate performances from across the operatic repertoire. With the visionary leadership of Eric Owens and Miloš Repický, Curtis’s voice and opera students are cast regularly throughout the season, providing a unique level of performance experience to draw upon throughout their careers 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.

About the Curtis Institute of Music
At Curtis, the world’s most talented young musicians develop into exceptional artists, creators, and innovators. With a tuition-free foundation, Curtis is a unique environment for teaching and learning. A small school by design, students realize their artistic potential through intensive, individualized study with the most renowned, sought-after faculty. Animated by a learn-by-doing philosophy, Curtis students share their music with audiences through more than 100 performances each year, including solo and chamber recitals, orchestral concerts, and opera—all free or at an affordable cost—offering audiences unique opportunities to participate in pivotal moments in these young musicians’ careers. Curtis students experience a close connection to the greatest artists and organizations in classical music, and innovative initiatives that integrate new technologies and encourage entrepreneurship—all within an historic campus in the heart of culturally rich Philadelphia. In this diverse, collaborative community, Curtis’s extraordinary artists challenge, support, and inspire one another—continuing an unparalleled 100-year legacy of musicians who have led, and will lead, classical music into a thriving, equitable, and multidimensional future. Learn more at Curtis.edu.

 

CURTIS OPERA THEATRE: THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN
Music and libretto by Leoš Janáček
Based on the serialized novella Liška Bystrouška by Rudolf Těsnohlídek
Featuring members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra

May 2, 2024 | Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
May 3, 2024 | Friday at 7:30 p.m.
May 4, 2024 | Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
May 5, 2024 | Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street

Click HERE for more information.

Vinay Parameswaran (’13), conductor
John Matsumoto Giampietro, stage director
Alexis Distler, scenic designer
Kate Ashton, lighting designer
Ashley Soliman, costume designer
Brittany Rappise, hair and makeup designer

CAST 

May 2, 4 May 3, 5
Vixen Sharp Ears Sarah Fleiss Juliette Tacchino
Fox Gold Stripe Emily Damasco Kylie Kreucher
Forester Evan Gray Nathan Schludecker
Forester’s Wife/Owl Katie Trigg Katie Trigg
Parson/Badger Robert Frazier Morgan-Andrew King
Schoolmaster/Mosquito Landry Allen Jackson Allen
Harašta Morgan-Andrew King Robert Frazier
Lapák Kate Li Kate Li
Chocholka (Hen) Judy Zhuo Judy Zhuo
Rooster/Jay Shikta Mukherjee Shikta Mukherjee
Woodpecker Dalia Medovnikov Dalia Medovnikov
Pepík Juliet Rand Juliet Rand
Frantík Maya Mor Mitrani Maya Mor Mitrani
Pásek Yulin Yan Yulin Yan
Paní Pasková Shikta Mukherjee Shikta Mukherjee

 

Members of the Philadelphia Boys and Girls Choirs will perform the roles of Cricket, Grasshopper, Young Frog, and Young Vixen.

Chorus: Full Cast, Sam Higgins, Emilie Kealani, Hongrui Ren, Judah Taylor, and Erik Tofte

Children’s Chorus: The Philadelphia Boys and Girls Choir

Fully staged production with members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in Czech with English supertitles by Paula Kennedy.

Lead underwriters for The Cunning Little Vixen include Linda E. Johnson and Bruce Ratner, John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick, and Mark and Robin Rubenstein.

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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