Opera Philadelphia

Published27 Apr 2018

Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Mahagonny/Medium at Perelman Theater May 3–6

New production juxtaposes Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel with Menotti’s The Medium to explore the consequences of deception

PHILADELPHIA—April 27, 2018—Closing the 2017-18 season, the Curtis Opera Theatre performs Mahagonny/Medium at the Perelman Theater on May 3 at 7:30 p.m., May 5 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and May 6 at 7:30 p.m. Conceived by Mikael Eliasen, artistic director of Curtis Opera Theatre, and stage director Emma Griffin, the new production dovetails Kurt Weill’s song collection Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel with Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium. These performances are presented in partnership with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts as a continuation of the recently launched Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman series.

The escape to a fascinating city of pleasure leads to disillusionment in Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel, which launched Weill’s rich collaboration with Bertolt Brecht; this “scenic cantata” is a precursor to Weill’s opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. In Menotti’s tragic drama The Medium, an imagined dialogue with the departed provides temporary comfort for the bereaved at a séance—before an inexplicable, perhaps truly supernatural event becomes the catalyst for a slide into paranoia and madness.

“These two pieces, in their core, are these two radically different ideas about the way that we still tell stories,” says stage director Emma Griffin. “The kernel of both of these pieces of music are what happens to a lie when the lie becomes real and crystallizes, and the way that when lies crystallize and harden, they destroy everything.”

Tickets are available from Opera Philadelphia Guest Services at operaphila.org or (215) 732-8400.

Carlos Ágreda, the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, leads members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in this fully-staged production sung in German and English with English supertitles. Director Emma Griffin has previously worked with the Curtis Opera Theatre on Wozzeck, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Rake’s Progress, Postcard from Morocco, The Cunning Little Vixen, and Die Zauberflöte.




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


Thursday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


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


Tickets from $25 are available at operaphila.org or by calling Opera Philadelphia Guest Services at (215) 732-8400.



Conductor:                                           Carlos Ágreda

Stage Director:                                       Emma Griffin

Scenic Designer:                        Amy Rubin

Costume Designer:                    Ásta Bennie Hostetter

Lighting Designer:                     Oona Curley

Associate State Director:              Marcus Shields


CAST (in singing order)


Mahagonny: Ein Songspiel

Charlie                                     Seongwo Woo

Billie                                        Aaron Crouch

Bobby                                      Tyler Zimmerman

Jimmy                                      Adam Kiss

Jessie                                        Ashley Robillard

Bessie                                       Sage DeAgro-Ruopp



CAST (cont.)


The Medium                             May 3 and May 5 (evening)      May 5 (matinee) and May 6

Monica                                     Lindsey Reynolds                      Sage DeAgro-Ruopp

Flora                                         Amanda Bottoms                       Siena Licht Miller

Mrs. Gobineau                          Olivia Smith                             Tiffany Townsend

Mr. Gobineau                           Patrick Wilhelm                        Dennis Chmelensky

Mrs. Nolan                               Hannah Klein                            Sophia Maekawa

Toby                                        Seongwo Woo                            Kendra Broom



This production is generously supported by Penelope and Thomas Watkins.


This performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY.


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



About the Curtis Opera Theatre

Under the artistic direction of Mikael Eliasen, the Curtis Opera Theatre has become known for imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theater. Promising young singers work alongside established professional directors and designers, resulting in fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of Curtis’s 25 voice and opera students cast repeatedly each season, receiving a rare level of performance experience on stage and through 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.


About Opera Philadelphia
Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. Described as “the very model of a modern opera company” by the Washington Post, Opera Philadelphia was the only American finalist for the 2016 International Opera Award for Best Opera Company. After opening its 2017–18 season with the immersive O17 festival, Opera Philadelphia closes the season with a new production of Bizet’s Carmen (April 27–May 6, 2018). The company’s second fall festival, O18, will take place on September 20–30, 2018. For more information, visit operaphila.org


About the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

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 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 2017–18 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit kimmelcenter.org.



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