Where talent becomes mastery

Today’s most promising young voices resonate in opera on the edge, with imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theatre. Come see our finest become their best.

 

Performances


LEONARD BERNSTEIN and HENRY PURCELL

Trouble in Paradise

A Double Bill of Trouble in Tahiti and Dido and Aeneas

October 4, 5, 6 at 7:30 p.m.; October 7 at 2:30 p.m.
Prince Theater
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Lisa Keller, music director
Chas Rader-Shieber, stage director

Can perfect happiness endure? Even when all the stars align, lovers find myriad ways to misunderstand one another in this inspired pairing of Bernstein’s jazz-inflected Trouble in Tahiti and Purcell’s regal Dido and Aeneas. Whether in sunny 1950s suburbia or the majestic Carthage of classical legend, lasting joy is elusive—but the musical journey is more than compelling.

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STEPHEN SONDHEIM

Sweeney Todd

November 14, 16 at 7:30 p.m.; November 18 at 2:30 p.m.
Prince Theater
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Geoffrey McDonald, conductor
Emma Griffin, stage director

“The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” arrived on Broadway in 1979 with volcanic force, and has lost none of his power to stun audiences. Stephen Sondheim’s wildly popular Victorian 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 he descends inexorably into madness, a stage crowded with fascinating, complicated characters is eventually covered with bodies—and Sondheim’s exhilarating music, infused with demented wit, conquers all.

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WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

Don Giovanni

March 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m.; March 10 at 2:30 p.m.
Perelman Theater

Karina Canellakis  (Violin ’04), conductor
R. B. Schlather, stage director

The charming, libertine Don Giovanni has seduced innumerable women, inspiring admiration, jealousy, and scorn in equal measure. Now everyone’s out to get him: a spurned former lover, a noblewoman he assaulted, her fiancé, and a guest made of stone. The “edgy and imaginative young director” (The New Yorker) R. B. Schlather brings his distinctive vision to Mozart’s masterwork, with the fast-rising conductor Karina Canellakis on the podium.

Don Giovanni is sponsored in part by the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for Opera.

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RENE ORTH (’16)

Riders to the Sea and Empty the House

May 2 at 7:30 p.m.; May 4 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Perelman Theater

Daniela Candillari, conductor
Mary Birnbaum, stage director

Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman unites two powerful works into a single production that explores the stories of families in crisis.

In Riders to the Sea by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a grief-stricken widow laments the loss of her many sons to the sea, as it threatens to claim the life of her only remaining son.

It’s a poignant prelude to Empty the House, a 2016 opera composed by Curtis Institute of Music alum and Opera Philadelphia Composer in Residence Rene Orth, whose work “breaks new ground” (Opera News), and featuring a libretto by Mark Campbell (Elizabeth CreeSilent Night). In Empty the House, a daughter returns to her childhood home for a weekend with her mother and is confronted by painful memories.

Both works—premiered nearly 80 years apart—explore the complicated relationships between mothers and children, brothers and sisters, the loved and the lost.

Empty the House is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency.

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The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation. 
Don Giovanni and Empty the House are presented as part of Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman, in partnership with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. 
Don Giovanni is sponsored in part by the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for Opera.

Prince Theatre Seating