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Announcing Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman: Opera Philadelphia, Curtis Institute of Music, Kimmel Center Partner for Spring Series

Posted on November 15, 2017

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


Frank Luzi/Opera Philadelphia
Vice President of Communications

Jennifer Kallend/Curtis Institute of Music
Managing Director of Communications

Announcing Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman:
Opera Philadelphia, Curtis Institute of Music, Kimmel Center
Partner for Spring Series

November 15, 2017— The Curtis Institute of Music, Opera Philadelphia, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announce a new partnership to establish Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman, a spring series featuring two Curtis Opera Theatre productions at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater for the 2017–18 and 2018–19 seasons. In its first year, the series includes a March 2018 production of Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and a double bill of Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium in May 2018.


The American premiere of Garth Edwin Sunderland’s chamber adaptation of A Quiet Place launches the collaboration, in celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein. Composer, conductor, author, and celebrated Curtis Institute of Music alumnus, Bernstein is best known for creating cultural touchstones like West Side Story, On the Waterfront, and Candide. However he called A Quiet Place “unlike any work I have ever written or seen.” The opera revisits the unhappy suburban family from Trouble in Tahiti thirty years later.


A Quiet Place is directed by Daniel Fish. Corrado Rovaris, Opera Philadelphia’s Jack Mulroney Music Director, leads members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s dramatic music—by turns explosive, elegiac, and playful. A cast full of talented Curtis students includes two Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artists, soprano Ashley Milanese as Dede and mezzo-soprano Anastasiia Sidorova as Mrs. Doc, both recently seen in The Magic Flute during Opera Philadelphia’s festival O17. Tenor Jean-Michel Richer (Opera ’16) appears as Francois, and guest artist tenor Daniel
Taylor, recently seen in Elizabeth Cree during O17, appears as a Mourner.


The Medium, Gian Carlo Menotti’s tragic drama, brings the work of another distinguished Curtis composition alumnus, also a former faculty member, to the stage. Paired with Kurt Weill’s cynical take on utopia, Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel, this study of empty promises is conducted by Curtis conducting fellow Carlos Ágreda and directed by Emma Griffin. The production features Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artists Ashley Robillard, soprano, in the role of Jessie in Mahagonny and Siena Licht Miller, mezzo-soprano, in the role of Flora in the May 5 matinee and May 6 performances of The Medium; both artists recently made their Opera Philadelphia debuts in The Magic Flute.


The announcement reunites Opera Philadelphia, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which previously teamed up for nine seasons of annual copresentations, hailed as “must-see events for serious operagoers” by Opera News. That partnership launched in 2008 with Ainadamar and saw years of fruitful collaboration including 2016’s Capriccio and 2015’s Ariadne auf Naxos.


“Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman unites our exceptional young singers with an opera company that has shown a commitment to nurturing young talent and presenting adventurous works. It also gives our singers the benefit of a wonderful venue for opera—the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater,” said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. “The combination of young talent and adventurous artistic vision represented by the Curtis Opera Theatre is a perfect fit for Opera Philadelphia audiences.”


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 professional directors and designers, resulting in innovative, one-of-a-kind productions. In addition to a four-opera season in Philadelphia at venues including the Prince Theater, Curtis Opera Studio, and Perelman Theater, Curtis’s voice and opera students appear frequently with Curtis on Tour, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and Opera Philadelphia, where all six Emerging Artists in the 2017–18 season are Curtis students or alumni. This real-world experience prepares Curtis singers to appear with opera companies around the world, including La Scala, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.


On the heels of its groundbreaking inaugural festival, O17, which The Washington Post called, “one of the most enjoyable additions to the fall calendar in years,” Opera Philadelphia continues to author the future of opera through this new partnership, which showcases the artistry of Curtis students as the leading singers of tomorrow. The launch of this annual season-opening festival fortified Opera Philadelphia’s reputation as “one of the most progressive forces on the opera scene” and “a model for innovation in the classical-music industry” (Opera News). The inaugural Festival O featured three critically-acclaimed world premieres—Elizabeth Cree by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, We Shall Not Be Moved by Daniel Bernard Roumain and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and The Wake World by Curtis alumnus David Hertzberg—the sold-out Philadelphia premiere of War Stories featuring I Have No Stories To Tell You by Lembit Beecher and Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, and the crowd-pleasing exclusive East Coast appearance of Komische Oper Berlin’s The Magic Flute. In all, 11 Curtis singers — both alumni and current students—were featured. Opera Philadelphia continues its mainstage season this spring at the Academy of Music with new productions of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin (Feb. 9-19, 2018) and Georges Bizet’s Carmen (Apr. 27-May 6).


“Curtis-trained singers have been a vital part of Opera Philadelphia for many years, and that was especially illustrated during O17 as so many Curtis alumni and students graced our stages throughout the festival,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “We are thrilled to co-present the Curtis Opera Theatre productions of A Quiet PlaceMahagonny: Ein Songspiel, and The Medium as part of the spring 2018 season of opera in our city, and to be doing it in the finest venue for chamber opera in Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.”


“The Kimmel Center is proud of the important work of each of our Resident Companies, yet we are especially proud when we are able to combine our talents, reconfirming the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus as a place where collaboration is celebrated,” said Anne Ewers, President and CEO of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.


About the Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artists Program
Now in its fourth year, the Emerging Artists Program provides an opportunity for young singers to engage with Opera Philadelphia onstage, appearing in at least one production, while also singing in community recitals and special events throughout the season. Beginning in the 2017–18 season, Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artists are chosen exclusively from the Curtis Opera Theatre. Performers include three returning artists and three new to the program.

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center’s mission is to operate a worldclass performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience through diverse programming, arts education, and community outreach. The Kimmel Center Campus is comprised of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio, and the Merck Arts Education Center), the Academy of Music (owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association), and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center is also home to eight Resident
Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s
2017-2018 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit


Tickets to Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman will be available to the general public starting December 1 at or by calling Opera Philadelphia Guest Services at 215.732.8400 (Monday–Friday from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.).

The Perelman Theater is part of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.


A Quiet Place
Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman
in partnership with Opera Philadelphia
and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Music by Leonard Bernstein | Libretto by Stephen Wadsworth
March 7, 9, 11m, 2018

Performed in English with English supertitles
Fully staged production with members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Corrado Rovaris
Director Daniel Fish
Scenic Designer Laura Jellinek
Costume Designer Terese Wadden
Lighting Designer Barbara Samuels
Video Designer Jeff Larson
Mourners Tiffany Townsend, Hannah Klein, Daniel Taylor & Kodi Meyer
Funeral Dir. Aaron Crouch
Mrs. Doc Anastasiia Sidorova
Susie Sophia Hunt
Doc Vartan Gabrielian
Analyst Seongwo Woo
Dede Ashley Milanese
Francois Jean-Michel Richer (’16)
Bill Patrick Wilhelm
Junior Dennis Chmelensky
Sam Tyler Zimmerman
Dinah Siena Licht Miller

A Quiet Place is sponsored in part by David and Sandy Marshall, BNP Paribas, and the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for Opera.

The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by the Wyncote Foundation.

Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel and The Medium
Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman
in partnership with Opera Philadelphia
and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel

Music by Kurt Weill | Libretto by Bertolt Brecht


The Medium

Music and Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti

May 3, 5m, 5, 6, 2018

Mahagonny is sung in German with English supertitles
The Medium sung in English with supertitles
Fully staged production with members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Carlos Ágreda
Director Emma Griffin

Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel
Music by Kurt Weill | Libretto by Bertolt Brecht
Charlie Seongwo Woo
Billie Aaron Crouch
Bobby Adam Kiss
Jimmy Kodi Meyer
Jessie Ashley Robillard
Bessie Sage DeAgro-Ruopp


The Medium
Music and Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti

5/3 and 5/5
Monica Lindsey Reynolds
Flora Amanda Bottoms
Mrs. Gobineau Olivia Smith
Mr. Gobineau Patrick Wilhelm
Mrs. Nolan Hannah Klein
Toby Seongwo Woo

5/5m and 5/6
Monica Sage DeAgro-Ruopp
Flora Siena Licht Miller
Mrs. Gobineau Tiffany Townsend
Mr. Gobineau Dennis Chmelensky
Mrs. Nolan Sophia Maekawa
Toby Kendra Broom

The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by the Wyncote Foundation.
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For a PDF version of this press release, click here.

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