Three performances at Philadelphia Film Center, formerly Prince Theater
PHILADELPHIA—November 12, 2018—The 2018–19 Curtis Opera Theatre season continues with Sweeney Todd on Wednesday, November 14 and Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Film Center (formerly the Prince Theater). Emma Griffin directs and Geoffrey McDonald conducts members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.
Based on the character from Victorian Britain’s popular “penny dreadfuls,” Sweeney Todd arrived on Broadway in 1979 with volcanic force, and has lost none of its power to stun audiences. Stephen Sondheim’s wildly popular melodrama, may be called a musical, but it’s universally admired for its operatic scope. Exiled on false charges, Sweeney returns from fifteen years of forced labor obsessed with revenge on the corrupt judge who convicted him. As the “Demon Barber of Fleet Street” descends inexorably into madness, a stage crowded with fascinating, complicated characters is eventually covered with bodies.
Conductor Geoffrey McDonald leads members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in the fully-staged production, which is sung in English. Emma Griffin, managing artistic director of the Mannes Opera at the New School in New York, returns as stage director. Having worked with the Curtis Opera Theatre on last season’s Mahagonny/Medium production, which also combined the American opera tradition with elements of musical theater, Griffin strives to bring Curtis’s “learn by doing” philosophy to Sondheim’s exhilarating and witty music: “It’s an amazing piece of American art. I am deeply interested in taking these students who have this unbelievable, rigorous classical education in the voice and bringing them to the American canon. I think it’s essential, and it’s thrilling.”
Scenic design is provided by Meredith Ries, with costume design by Kathleen Doyle and lighting design by Oona Curley. Elizabeth Braden serves as chorus master for the sizable group of London onlookers who function as a Greek chorus, participating in and commenting on the action on stage.
Single tickets for $20–75 are available through the Prince Theater Box Office at (215) 422-4580 or PrinceTheater.org. The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.
Under the artistic direction of Mikael Eliasen, the Curtis Opera Theatre has become known for imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theatre. Promising young singers work alongside established professional directors and designers, resulting in fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of Curtis’s 25 voice and opera students are cast repeatedly each season, receiving a rare level of performance experience on stage and appearing frequently with Opera Philadelphia, Curtis on Tour, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. As a result, Curtis 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.
Wednesday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 18 at 2:30 p.m.
Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
STEPHEN SONDHEIM Sweeney Todd
Geoffrey McDonald, conductor
Emma Griffin, stage director
Meredith Ries, scenic designer
Kathleen Doyle, costume designer
Oona Curley, lighting designer
Elizabeth Braden, chorus master
Fully-staged production with members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in English
Single tickets: $20–75, sold by the Prince Theater Box Office, PrinceTheater.org, or (215) 422-4580.
CAST (in singing order)
|Anthony Hope||Aaron Crouch|
|Sweeney Todd||Vartan Gabrielian|
|Beggar Woman||Lindsey Reynolds|
|Mrs. Lovett||Amanda Bottoms|
|Judge Turpin||Adam Kiss|
|The Beadle||Colin Aikins|
|Tobias Ragg||Martin Luther Clark|
|Jonas Fogg||Charles Buttigieg|
The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.
# # #