Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress May 7-10 at the Prince Theater

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Curtis Opera Theatre Presents
Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress
May 7-10 at the Prince Theater 

PHILADELPHIA, PA—April 20, 2015—Tom Rakewell wishes for an easy life—and the devil is only too happy to help. Igor Stravinsky chronicles the rake’s rise and fall in The Rake’s Progress, presented by the Curtis Opera Theatre May 7–10 at the Prince Theater.

“Full of star-turn opportunities with its 18th-century Faustian tale of an Englishman who comes into money, and runs amok with a demonic, soul-hunting servant” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Stravinsky’s neoclassical masterwork is based on the painting A Rake’s Progress by the 18th-century British artist William Hogarth. After being inspired by the scope and drama of the eight-piece painting, Stravinsky enlisted the aid of poet W.H. Auden to write the libretto, and the work was premiered in 1951 in Venice. The opera is performed with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and sung in English with supertitles.

This fully staged production of The Rake’s Progress is conducted by Mark Russell Smith (’87) and directed by Jordan Fein. Scenic design is by Amy Rubin, costume design is by Ásta Bennie Hostetter, and lighting design is by Alejandro Fajardo. Performances take place on Thursday, May 7 through Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 at 2:30 p.m. The Prince Theater is located at 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

Tickets are $5-$50 and are available from the Curtis Ticket Office at (215) 893-7902 or

Mark Russell Smith, a 1987 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, is artistic director of orchestral studies at the University of Minnesota, music director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. Mr. Smith has conducted the Saint Louis and Houston symphonies, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 2014, 2012, and 2007 he returned to his alma mater to lead the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Verizon Hall, and in 2011 led Curtis On Tour in China and Korea.

Other recent and upcoming appearances include the Colorado, Eugene, Hartford, Jacksonville, Phoenix, and Santa Barbara symphonies; the Tulsa Philharmonic; the Eastern Music Festival; and the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Ghent, Belgium. Mr. Smith collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma on Bridge of Souls, a concert featuring world premieres by Asian and American composers. A firm believer in the use of technical innovation, he annually conducts the final round of the Minnesota International Piano e-Competition, streamed live online.

Mr. Smith was previously music director of the Richmond, Cheyenne, and Springfield symphony orchestras. He studied cello at the Juilliard School with Claus Adam and conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music with Max Rudolf and Otto-Werner Mueller.

Jordan Fein has directed several Curtis Opera Theatre productions, including Dialogues of the Carmelites, L’elisir d’amore, and DIDO+. He received the 2014 Boris Sagal Directing Fellowship at the Williamstown Theater Festival, where he directed Dracula, or The Undead; Anna Bella Eema; and Zoo Story. Other credits include War Lesbian (HaurnaLee Theatre Company), Rags Parkland (Ars Nova), The Maids (Fourth Street Theatre), Edibles Inc. (Incubator Arts project), and Queen of the May… (Galapagos Art Space). He holds a B.F.A. from New York University.

Amy Rubin is a New York-based designer of environments for theatre, opera, dance,
and live events. Recent productions include: L’elisir d’amore (Curtis Opera Theatre); Ike at Night (The Public’s Under the Radar Festival); Animal Animal Mammal Mine (Philadelphia International Theatre Festival); Jedermann (Salzburg Festival); and The Wholehearted Stein (Holum Projects). She has designed for MTV Networks, Comedy Central, TV Land, Spike TV, and Nickelodeon. Her designs have been seen at the Park Ave Armory, Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Juilliard School, New York University, and Bard College.

Ásta Bennie Hostetter designed costumes for Curtis Opera Theatre’s L’elisir d’amore. New York credits include: Here’s Hoover! (Les Freres Corbusier); You Got Older (P73); Generations, The Essential Straight and Narrow, Nomads, Grimly Handsome, The Food Was Terrible, This Great Country (Soho Rep); and The (*) Inn (Abrons Arts Center). Recent regional credits include: Pinkolandia (Two River Theater); and O guru guru guru, or why I don’t want to go to yoga class with you (Humana Festival).

Alejandro Fajardo’s recent projects include: Bareknuckle (Vertigo Theatre Company); Special Cheese (Columbia University); Simple as Life and Death and Halfway Through the Story of Our Life (Throes Theater Company); Once on This Island (Pace University); Dracula, or the Undead (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Mrrrmaids (Dixon Place); Gianni Schicchi, The Impresario, and Il Mondo Della Luna (Westminster Choir College); and SATURN, a play about food (Superhero Clubhouse), among others.

The Curtis Opera Theatre, under the artistic direction of Mikael Eliasen, works with established professional directors and designers to create 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. 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.

One of the world’s finest and most selective conservatories, the Curtis Institute of Music offers a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture to 175 students from all corners of the world. Nurtured by a celebrated faculty, its extraordinary young musicians graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. From Leonard Bernstein to Alan Gilbert, Samuel Barber to Jennifer Higdon, Anna Moffo to Eric Owens, Richard Goode to Jonathan Biss, Curtis alumni personify the school’s commitment to excellence–onstage and in their communities–inventing careers with impact.

A busy schedule of performances, including more than 200 a year in Philadelphia and around the world, is at the heart of Curtis’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach. Dedicated to a tradition of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1924, Curtis is looking toward its centenary in a flexible and forward-thinking way, evolving strategically to serve its time-honored mission.

Curtis Opera Theatre: The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky
Thursday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 10 at 2:30 p.m.
Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Mark Russell Smith, conductor (’87)
Jordan Fein, stage director
Amy Rubin, scenic designer
Ásta Bennie Hostetter, costume designer
Alejandro Fajardo, lighting designer

Fully staged production with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in English with supertitles.

Tickets: $5-$50; available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or

The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Cast (in order of performance)
May 7 and 9 
Anne Truelove – Rachel Sterrenberg
Tom Rakewell – Jean-Michel Richer
Truelove – Vartan Gabrielian
Nick Shadow – Thomas Shivone
Mother Goose – Anastasiia Sidorova
Baba the Turk – Lauren Eberwein
Sellem – Mingjie Lei
Keeper of the Madhouse – Vartan Gabrielian
Chorus- Dennis Chmelensky, Dogukan Kuran, Jamez McCorkle, Sean Plumb, Emily Pogorelc, Ashley Robillard, Heather Stebbins

 May 8 and 10
Anne Truelove – Elena Perroni
Tom Rakewell – Roy Hage
Truelove – Vartan Gabrielian
Nick Shadow – Andrew Bogard
Mother Goose –  Anastasiia Sidorova
Baba the Turk – Shir Rozzen
Sellem – Mingjie Lei
Keeper of the Madhouse – Vartan Gabrielian
Chorus- Dennis Chmelensky, Dogukan Kuran, Jamez McCorkle, Sean Plumb, Emily Pogorelc, Ashley Robillard, Heather Stebbins

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