Opera Philadelphia

Vaughan Williams & Orth/Campbell

Riders to the Sea & Empty the House videoPlayWatch

Riders to the Sea & Empty the House

New Production
Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams / Libretto by Ralph Vaughan Williams & John Millington Synge
Music by Rene Orth / Libretto by Mark Campbell
Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman
Performed in English with English Supertitles

Rene Orth is a composer who "breaks new ground."—Opera News

Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman unites two powerful works into a single production that explores the stories of families in crisis. 

In Riders to the Sea by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a grief-stricken widow laments the loss of her many sons to the sea, as it threatens to claim the life of her only remaining son.

It’s a poignant prelude to Empty the House, a 2016 opera composed by Curtis Institute of Music alum and Opera Philadelphia Composer in Residence Rene Orth, whose work “breaks new ground” (Opera News), and featuring a libretto by Mark Campbell (Elizabeth CreeSilent Night). In Empty the House, a daughter returns to her childhood home for a weekend with her mother and is confronted by painful memories.

Both works—premiered nearly 80 years apart—explore the complicated relationships between mothers and children, brothers and sisters, the loved and the lost.

Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman
in partnership with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Curtis Institute of Music  Opera Philadelphia   Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


Earlier in the series: Don Giovanni (March 2019)

MapPerelman Theater

Dates are May 2019.

Thu, May 2 7:30 p.m.
Sat, May 4 2:30 p.m.
Sat, May 4 7:30 p.m.
Sun, May 5 7:30 p.m.

Approximately one hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.

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

The double bill of Riders to the Sea & Empty the House is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency.

Cast & Creative Team

Sophia Hunt
Sophia Huntas Chorus (all dates)/Faith (5/2 & 5/4)
Siena Licht Miller
Siena Licht Milleras Faith (5/4m & 5/5)
Dennis Chmelensky
Dennis Chmelenskyas Bartley (5/2 & 5/4)/Paul (5/2 & 5/4)
Patrick Wilhelm
Patrick Wilhelmas Bartley (5/4m & 5/5)/Paul (5/4m & 5/5)
Tiffany Townsend
Tiffany Townsendas Chorus (all dates)/Brenda (all dates)
Sage DeAgro-Ruopp
Sage DeAgro-Ruoppas Nora (5/2 & 5/4)
Olivia Smith
Olivia Smithas Cathleen (5/2 & 5/4)
Lindsey Reynolds
Lindsey Reynoldsas Cathleen (5/4m & 5/5)
Emily Damasco
Emily Damascoas Maurya (5/2 & 5/4)
Hannah Klein
Hannah Kleinas A Woman (all dates)
Ziyi Dai
Ziyi Daias Chorus (all dates)
Anastasiia Sidorova
Anastasiia Sidorovaas Chorus (all dates)
Merissa Beddows
Merissa Beddowsas Nora (5/4m & 5/5)
Sophia Maekawa
Sophia Maekawaas Maurya (5/4m & 5/5)
Rene Orth & Mark Campbell

The Composer

Rene Orth & Mark Campbell

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).  She currently serves as Opera Philadelphia’s 6th Composer in Residence, a post that she will hold through the 2018-19 season. Learn more about Rene Orth.

Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of this country’s current boon in contemporary opera. The fifteen plus librettos he has written—and the five new operas he premiered in 2017—demonstrate a versatility in subject matter, style, and tone, an adeptness at creating successful work for both large and intimate venues. Learn more about Mark Campbell.

Chat with Guest Services