Curtis Opera Theatre Performs Ariadne auf Naxos in Three Sold-Out Performances March 4, 6, and 8; Presented in association with Opera Philadelphia and Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the performances mark the ninth season of this innovative collaboration

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Curtis Opera Theatre Performs Ariadne auf Naxos in Three Sold-Out Performances March 4, 6, and 8 

Presented in association with Opera Philadelphia and Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the performances mark the ninth season of this innovative collaboration 

March 3, 2015, Philadelphia, Pa.—When the wealthiest man in Vienna hosts a lavish night of music and fireworks, the entertainment is in no short supply—and neither is the drama—in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. The Curtis Opera Theatre, in association with Opera Philadelphia and Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, presents three sold-out performances March 4, 6, and 8 in the Perelman Theater at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center.

Ariadne auf Naxos brings together light-hearted comedy and consummately beautiful music, as a farcical twist of fate requires a troupe of comedians and a high-brow opera company to perform on the same stage…at the same time! Rising American tenor Kevin Ray (Opera ’12) returns to Curtis to debut the role of Bacchus. Mr. Ray’s recent engagements include his first performances of the title role of Peter Grimes with Chautauqua Opera as well as Don José in Carmen with Wolf Trap Oprea and the Lyrique-en-Mer/Festival de Belle-Île. At Curtis, his roles included Don José in La tragédie de Carmen, the Schoolmaster in Cunning Little Vixen, and Toni Reichsmann in Elegy for Young Lovers.

Chas Rader-Shieber directs the fully staged production, sung in German with English supertitles, and George Manahan leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Scenic design is by David Zinn with costume design by Jacob A. Climer, and lighting design by Mike Inwood.

Performances take place Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 6 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m. in the Perelman Theater at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets.

Ariadne auf Naxos is part of an innovative cooperative venture among the Curtis Opera Theatre, Opera Philadelphia, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Launched in 2008 with the Philadelphia premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar and continuing with productions of Wozzeck (2009), Antony and Cleopatra (2010), The Cunning Little Vixen (2011), Elegy for Young Lovers (2012),Owen Wingrave (2013), and Dialogues of the Carmelites (2014), the initiative combines a Curtis Opera Theatre production with marketing support from Opera Philadelphia and an ideal venue at the Kimmel Center.

The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater is underwritten by the Wyncote Foundation. This production is funded, in part, through support by the William Penn Foundation. The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

George Manahan (conductor) is music director of the American Composers Orchestra and the Portland Opera. His esteemed career embraces everything from opera to concert, the traditional to the contemporary; and he won the prestigious Ditson Conductor’s Award in 2012 for his support of American music. Mr. Manahan served as music director of the New York City Opera for fourteen seasons. As director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music and guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music, he continues to mentor young musicians. His previous Curtis Opera Theatre appearances include Owen Wingrave, Antony and Cleopatra, Idomeneo, and Elegy for Young Lovers.

Mr. Manahan’s guest appearances include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and the Hollywood Bowl; as well as the symphonies of Atlanta, New Jersey, and San Francisco. A regular guest with the Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Music Festival, Mr. Manahan has also appeared with the Bergen and Casals festivals; the opera companies of Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, and St. Louis; L’Opera National du Paris; and Teatro Communale de Bologna.

Mr. Manahan’s television appearances include productions of La bohème, Lizzie Borden, and Tosca on PBS. Under his direction, the Live from Lincoln Center telecast of New York City Opera’s Madame Butterfly won a 2007 Emmy Award.

Chas Rader-Shieber (stage director) is resident stage director at the Curtis Institute of Music, and has staged over 25 operas for the Curtis Opera Theatre since 1991. His recent work includes new productions of La Traviata for Boston Lyric Opera, Giulio Cesare for Wolf Trap Opera, Alcina for Indiana University Opera Theater, and Lehar’s Die lustige Witwe for Staatstheater Darmstadt. His other credits include work for the opera companies of Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (Ore.), St. Louis, and Vancouver; New York City Opera; and the Spoleto Festival, among others.

Having made a specialty of 17th- and 18th-century operas, Mr. Rader-Shieber has directed Mozart’s Idomeneo, La clemenza di Tito, Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro, Il re pastore, and Così fan tutte; Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Semele, Ariodante, Acis and Galatea, Imeneo, Alcina, Xerxes, Partenope, Rinaldo, Tolomeo, and Flavio; and works of Cavalli, Charpentier, Gluck, Monteverdi, and Purcell. Upcoming projects include The Abduction from the Seraglio for Des Moines Metro Opera and Gretry’s L’Amant Jaloux for Pinchgut Opera in Sydney. Mr. Rader-Shieber joined the Curtis faculty in 2009.

David Zinn (scenic designer) has created designs for the Curtis Opera Theatre’s Antony and Cleopatra, Wozzeck, Ainadamar, Miss Julie, Albert Herring, Alcina, and The Consul, among others. He has designed sets and costumes for the opera companies of Chicago, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.; Glimmerglass Opera; New York City Opera; and Arizona Opera. His recent Broadway credits include sets and costumes for The Last Ship; scenery for Violet and The Real Thing; and costumes for Rocky, Other Desert Cities, Good People, and In the Next Room. Off-Broadway he has designed sets and costumes for Manhattan Theater Club, Signature Theatre Company, Second Stage, Atlantic Theater Company, Target Margin, and Salt Theater. Mr. Zinn received a 2008 Obie Award for sustained excellence in costume and set design.

Jacob A. Climer (costume designer) has created costumes for the Curtis Opera Theatre’s productions of Rinaldo, Elegy for Young Lovers, Idomeneo, and Antony and Cleopatra. His other opera credits include La Traviata (Boston Lyric Opera); Abduction from the Seraglio (Utah Opera); Rinaldo (Portland Opera), The Grapes of Wrath (Carnegie Hall), and Don Giovanni (Music Academy of the West). For the theater, Mr. Climer has designed Les Misérables (Dallas Theater Center), Arguendo (ERS), Tokio Confidential (Atlantic Stages), Social Security (Bushwick Starr), Hamlet (Shakespeare Festival of Dallas), Hat Full of Rain (Strasberg Institute and Warsaw’s ITSELF Festival), WTC View (59E59), The Who’s Tommy (ReVision Theatre), and The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall (Vineyard Playhouse). Mr. Climer received a B.F.A. from the University of Evansville and an M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mike Inwood (lighting designer) has designed Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rinaldo, and I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Curtis Opera Theatre. Other projects include Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon), La Traviata (Boston Lyric Opera), Grace, or The Art of Climbing (NPTC), Out Cold/Zippo Songs (BAM) Trevor (Lesser America), Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War (New Ohio); HIR (Magic Theatre, San Francisco); and God of Carnage (Perseverance Theatre, Juneau). Mr. Inwood was the lighting designer of the 2013 Macy’s Holiday Windows at their flagship store in New York City, and earned a 2010 Emmy Award for his work as part of the NBC Sports lighting team for coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. The company’s mission is to deliver outstanding productions of traditional and new repertoire that engage our public and propel our genre forward; to identify extraordinary artists, both established and emerging, and provide opportunities for them to create their most imaginative and inspired work; and to present innovative programming relevant to the multi-cultural Philadelphia region that broadens and diversifies the opera audience.

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center‘s mission is to operate a world-class 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 University of the Arts Merriam Theater. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2014-15 season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit

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. Recent graduates forging 21st-century careers include violinist Adrian Anantawan, a performer and teacher dedicated to helping young people with disabilities make music; Joseph Conyers, director and founder of Project 440 and assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Jennifer Koh, a violin soloist recognized for both her dazzling virtuosity and impassioned musical curiosity, dedicated to performing repertoire of all eras, from traditional to contemporary.

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: Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss
Presented in association with Opera Philadelphia and Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater
Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 6 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m.
Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

George Manahan, conductor
Chas Rader-Schieber, stage director
David Zinn, scenic designer
Jacob A. Climer, costume designer
Mike Inwood, lighting designer

The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater is underwritten by the Wyncote Foundation. This production is funded, in part, through support from the William Penn Foundation. The Curtis Opera Theatre season is sponsored by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Cast (in singing order) March 4,6, & 8
Der Haushofmeister – Dennis Chmelensky
Ein Musikleher – Sean Plumb
Ein Lakai – Vartan Gabrielian
Ein Offizier – Evan Johnson
Der Komponist – Lauren Eberwein
Der Tenor/Bacchus – Kevin Ray (’12)
Ein Perückenmacher – Doğukan Kuran
Zerbinetta – Ashley Milanese
Primadonna/Ariadne – Heather Stebbins
Ein Tanzmeister – Roy Hage
Najade – Elena Perroni
Dryade – Anastasiia Sidorova
Echo – Kirsten MacKinnon
Harlekin – Johnathan McCullough
Brighella – Mingjie Lei
Scaramuccio – Jean-Michel Richer
Truffaldin – Thomas Shivone

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