|Japanese-American conductor Kensho Watanabe, newly named conducting fellow of the San Diego Symphony, recently completed his tenure as the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music under the mentorship of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Equally at home on both operatic and symphonic podiums, he is quickly being recognized as an engaging and versatile conducting talent.
In 2014 Mr. Watanabe made his debuts with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montréal and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, as well as a repeat appearance with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Ballet in their productions of The Nutcracker. With the Curtis Opera Theatre, he has led productions of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Viktor Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis. He has also served as an assistant conductor for many other Curtis Opera productions, including Ariadne auf Naxos, Gianni Schicchi, and Faust.
Future engagements include assisting Yannick Nézet-Séguin on Strauss’s Elektra with the Montréal Opera, and re-engagements with the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Watanabe has previously served as a cover conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony in C.
Recognizing the importance of the training and development of young musicians, Mr. Watanabe has been on the staff of the Greenwood Music Camp since 2007, and currently serves as its orchestra conductor. He also performs regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a substitute violinist. He graduated in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Yale College and a Master of Music in violin from the Yale School of Music.
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.
Peter Escalada-Mastick has designed lighting for productions at New Paradise Laboratories, InterAct Theatre Company, Lantern Theater Company, Subcircle, Brat Productions, 11th Hour Theatre Company, and Drexel University, as well as last season’s Iolanta for the Curtis Opera Theatre. He worked on recent renovations for Christ Church Neighborhood House and the Skybox at the Adrienne. In other capacities, Peter has worked for Thirdbird, Walnut Street Theatre, Prince Music Theater, Pig Iron Theatre Company, rainpan 43, Gas & Electric Arts, 1812 Productions, Theatre Exile, Wilma Theater, and FringeArts.
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 on stage and through frequent collaborations with Opera Philadelphia, Curtis on Tour, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. 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.
Drawing upon 90 years of artistry, the Curtis Institute of Music pairs tradition and inno-vation, educating exceptionally gifted young musicians as artist-citizens who engage a local and global community through music-making of the highest caliber. Each year 175 students come to Curtis, drawn by a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture. In this intimate environment, they are nurtured by a celebrated faculty and inspired by the school’s distinctive “learn by doing” approach, offering more than 200 concerts each year in Philadelphia, as well as performances around the world through Curtis on Tour.
“One of the world’s finest music academies” (BBC Culture), Curtis reaches global audiences through Curtis Performs (Curtis.edu/CurtisPerforms), the school’s dedicated HD performance video site. Online music courses and Summerfest programs offer lifelong learners further ways to listen, explore, and learn. And students hone 21st-century skills through social entrepreneurship programs that bring arts access and education to the community.
The extraordinary young musicians of Curtis graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. Each season leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series around the world feature Curtis alumni. They are in the front rank of soloists, composers, and conductors and hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music onstage and in their communities. To learn more, visit Curtis.edu.
Curtis Opera Theatre: La bohème by Giacomo Puccini
Kensho Watanabe, conductor (’15)
Semi-staged production with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in Italian with English supertitles
Single tickets: $5, $25, $50; available from the Prince Theater Box Office at (215) 422-4580 or princetheater.org.
Cast (in order of performance)
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