Opera Philadelphia

Published1 Mar 2016

Curtis Opera Theatre Performs Strauss's Capriccio in Three Performances March 2, 4, and 6

Presented in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center

Which is greater among the arts, poetry or music? Richard Strauss’s Capriccio explores the question with wit and gorgeous melody. The Curtis Opera Theatre, in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center, presents three sold-out performances on March 2, 4, and 6 in the Perelman Theater.

In Richard Strauss’s final opera, the young, widowed Countess Madeleine is torn between two suitors, the poet Olivier and the composer Flamand, both of whom vie for her hand with their considerable, yet entwined, skills. Chas Rader-Shieber directs the fully staged production, sung in German with English supertitles, and Timothy Myers leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Singers from the Curtis Opera Theatre are joined by baritone and Curtis alumnus Jarrett Ott as the Count, fresh from the lead role of W.P. Inman in Opera Philadelphia’s East Coast premiere of Cold Mountain.

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


This is one of many performances throughout the year to explore the music that led up to the Darmstadt school of composition, which embraced abstraction, revolution, and counter-cultural rebellion. “We can contemplate Strauss in a very different way when we consider the musical reactions that followed, as imagined by Boulez and his cohort,” said Mikael Eliasen, artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre and Hirsig Family Dean of Vocal Studies. “It represents the utmost decadence, the ultimate squeezing-out of beauty.” Through performances, classroom studies, and touring in the 2015–16 season, Curtis explores the history, politics, and artistic concepts that shaped the music of this turbulent era, described so poignantly by W.H. Auden as “The Age of Anxiety.”

Capriccio is presented as part of an innovative cooperative venture launched in 2008, combining a Curtis Opera Theatre production with marketing support from Opera Philadelphia and an ideal venue at the Kimmel Center. Past collaborations have included Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (Philadelphia premiere), Wozzeck, Antony and Cleopatra, The Cunning Little Vixen, Elegy for Young Lovers, Owen Wingrave, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Ariadne auf Naxos.

Timothy Myers (conductor) is the artistic director and music director of North Carolina Opera. One of the youngest artistic leaders in American opera, he has broadened the company’s repertoire and introduced innovative and stimulating productions.

Mr. Myers’s recent and upcoming engagements include the Atlanta, Portland, Toledo, Chautauqua, and Tulsa symphony orchestras, Malaysian Philharmonic, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Wolf Trap. A seasoned collaborator in developing new works, he recently conducted the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt at Houston Grand Opera; Daniel Crozier’s With Blood, With Ink at Fort Worth Opera; and John Supko’s All Souls at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Myers’s other engagements have included the Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts; the Jerusalem, Milwaukee, and North Carolina symphony orchestras; the Brooklyn and Johannesburg philharmonics; the opera companies of Palm Beach, Anchorage, and Asheville; Music Academy of the West; and the Wolf Trap and Central City festivals. He served for two years as associate conductor of the Castleton Festival under his mentor, Lorin Maazel; and for three years as principal guest conductor of Opera Africa in Johannesburg. He has held assistant or associate positions with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, and the American and BBC symphony orchestras.

Chas Rader-Shieber’s (stage director) recent work includes new productions of Grétry’s L’Amant Jaloux for Pinchgut Opera, Faust for the Macau International Music Festival, La traviata for Boston Lyric Opera, Giulio Cesare for Wolf Trap Opera, and Alcina for Indiana University Opera Theater. His work has been seen at the opera companies of Los Angeles, Washington National Opera, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Houston, Glimmerglass, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Vancouver, and Darmstadt; New York City Opera, and the Spoleto Festival.

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, Don Giovanni, Il re pastore, and Così fan tutte; and Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Semele, Ariodante, Acis and Galatea, Imeneo, Alcina, Xerxes, Partenope, Tolomeo, and Flavio; as well as works of Monteverdi, Cavalli, Purcell, Charpentier, and Gluck.

Mr. Rader-Shieber has staged more than 25 operas for the Curtis Opera Theatre since 1991, and he joined the Curtis faculty in 2009. His upcoming work includes Gluck’s Orphee et Euridice for Des Moines Metro Opera, and La traviata for Pittsburgh Opera.

Curtis Opera Theatre: Capriccio by Richard Strauss 

Presented in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center

Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, March 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

Timothy Myers, conductor

Chas Rader-Shieber, stage director

Robert Perdziola, set and costume designer

Christopher Ostrom, lighting designer

Anne Nesmithm, wig designer

Russell Ducker, choreographer

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.


Flamand: Evan LeRoy Johnson

Olivier: Doğukan Kuran

La Roche: Tyler Zimmerman

The Countess: Kirsten MacKinnon (March 2 and 6)'; Heather Stebbins (March 4)

The Count: Jarrett Ott* (Opera ’14)

Clairon: Lauren Eberwein

Italian Singers: Roy Hage, Ashley Milanese

Taupe: Jamez McCorkle

Major-Domo: Thomas Shivone

Servants: Dennis Chmelensky, Patrick Wilheim, Maximiliano Marques*, Orin Strunk*

Dancer: Emily Davis

* guest artist

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