Opera Philadelphia


10 Days in a Madhouse

10 Days in a Madhouse

World Premiere
Music by Rene Orth
Libretto by Hannah Moscovitch
Performed in English with English supertitles
Part of Festival O23

Is she insane? Or just pretending? This psychological drama follows trailblazing reporter Nellie Bly through her internment at Blackwell's Asylum, exposing, as Bly did, notions of madness and societal biases against women.

This world premiere from composer Rene Orth and librettist Hannah Moscovitch stars Kiera Duffy (Breaking the Waves) as Nellie, mezzo Raehann Bryce-Davis in her company debut as Lizzie, and baritone Will Liverman as Dr. Blackwell.

Daniela Candillari makes her company debut at the podium, and Joanna Settle (Sky on Swings) directs. Designer Andrew Lieberman's set evokes the dark labyrinth of the asylum and Nellie's journey within its walls.

Opera Philadelphia has partnered with Art-Reach and Nicole Sardella to provide Audio Description for this production on September 26. Learn more>>

MapThe Wilma Theater

Dates are Sep 2023.

Thu, Sep 21 7:00 p.m.
Sat, Sep 23 2:00 p.m.
Tue, Sep 26 7:00 p.m.
Thu, Sep 28 7:00 p.m.
Sat, Sep 30 2:00 p.m.

Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Co-commissioned and co-produced with Tapestry Opera.

Opera Philadelphia's 2023-2024 Season is brought to you by the Artistry Now Matching Fund and Barbara Augusta Teichert.

The commissioning of Rene Orth for 10 Days in a Madhouse received funding from OPERA America's Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Community Options, the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for New Opera.

Cast & Creative Team

Daniela Candillari
Daniela Candillari *Conductor
Joanna Settle
Joanna SettleDirector Underwritten by Linda and David Glickstein
Kiera Duffy
Kiera DuffyThe Madwoman/Nellie Underwritten by Katie Adams Schaeffer and Tony Schaeffer
Raehann Bryce-Davis
Raehann Bryce-Davis *Lizzie
Will Liverman
Will LivermanDr. Josiah Blackwell Underwritten by Willo Carey and Peter A. Benoliel
Lauren Pearl
Lauren PearlNurse/Matron
  • Andrew Lieberman Set & Lighting Design
  • Faustin Linyekula * Choreographer
  • Elizabeth Braden Chorus Master
  • Robert Kaplowitz & Chris Sannino* Sound Design
  • Ásta Hostetter & Avery Reed * Costume Design
  • Alfreda "Fre" Howard * Hair & Makeup Design
  • Zaina Yasmin Dana * Assistant Director
  • Gina Hays * Stage Manager
  • Hunter Smith Assistant Stage Manager
  • Abigail Sturgis * Assistant Stage Manager
  • Nyla Nolasco * Assistant Hair & Makeup Designer
  • *Opera Philadelphia debut
Rene Orth

The Composer

Rene Orth

Rene Orth is a composer that "breaks new ground" (Opera News), writing music described as “...always dramatic, reflective, rarely predictable, and often electronic” (Musical America).  Her music focuses on dramatic and lyrical storytelling, and she takes a keen interest in blending electronic soundscapes and beats with acoustic music.  She recently completed her three-year tenure as Composer-in-Residence for Opera Philadelphia and will be in the inaugural Resident Composer at Opera San Jose for the 2022-2023 season. Read more>>

Hannah Moscovitch

The Librettist

Hannah Moscovitch

Hannah Moscovitch is an acclaimed playwright, librettist and TV writer. Her work for the stage includes East of BerlinThis Is WarLittle OneThe Russian PlayInfinity and What a Young Wife Ought to Know. Her plays have been widely produced across Canada, as well as in the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Greece, Austria, Australia and Japan. Hannah’s music-theatre hybrid, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (co-created with Christian Barry and Ben Caplan) has toured internationally, garnering a New York Times Critics’ Pick and over fifty four-and five-star reviews. Hannah’s operas with Lembit Beecher, Sky on Swings and I have no stories to tell you, have been produced at Gotham Chamber Opera / the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Opera Philadelphia. Read more>>

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