Riders to the Sea and Empty the House

Riders to the Sea


Empty the House


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.


CAST (in singing order)

Riders to the Sea May 2 and May 4 (evening) May 4 (matinee) and May 5
Nora Sage DeAgro-Ruopp Merissa Beddows
Cathleen Olivia Smith Lindsey Reynolds
Maurya Emily Damasco Sophia Maekawa
Bartley Dennis Chmelensky Patrick Wilhelm
A Woman Hannah Klein Hannah Klein
Chorus Merissa Beddows
Ziyi Dai
Sophia Hunt
Sophia Maekawa
Lindsey Reynolds
Ashley Marie Robillard
Anastasiia Sidorova
Tiffany Townsend
Ziyi Dai
Emily Damasco
Sage DeAgro-Ruopp
Sophia Hunt
Ashley Marie Robillard
Anastasiia Sidorova
Olivia Smith
Tiffany Townsend
Empty the House May 2 and May 4 (evening) May 4 (matinee) and May 5
Faith Sophia Hunt Siena Licht Miller
Paul Dennis Chmelensky Patrick Wilhelm
Brenda Tiffany Townsend Amanda Bottoms

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. 

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