Curtis Opera Theatre

Curtis Opera Theatre 

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.




Trouble in Tahiti


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.



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.



Don Giovanni


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

Karina Canellakis, conductor (Violin ’04)
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.

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



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

A mother welcomes her grown daughter home for a final weekend before selling the family house. But the rooms are filled with painful memories, and the past threatens to overwhelm them both. An intimate, poignant exploration of forgiveness by Curtis Institute of Music alumna and Opera Philadelphia Composer in Residence Rene Orth (’16), Empty the House has been revised and orchestrated since its 2015 premiere. It features a libretto by Mark Campbell and is presented alongside the premiere of Orth’s latest one-act opera.






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