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Soprano Layla Claire Replaces Michael Schade on the Alumni Recital Series

Mr. Schade withdraws from the April 18 performance due to illness

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Soprano Layla Claire ('09) replaces tenor Michael Schade, who has withdrawn due to illness, on the April 18 Alumni Recital Series performance. Ms. Claire, a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera who has been praised as a "focused, remarkably rich soprano" (The Morning Star), performs works by Mozart, R. Strauss, and others with pianist Mikael Eliasen, artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre.

The recital takes place on Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. in Field Concert Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $28 and are available from the Curtis Ticket Office at (215) 893-7902 or Artists on the Alumni Recital Series donate their services, and proceeds from the concerts directly benefit current Curtis students.

Layla Claire's engaging and thoughtful musicianship, combined with a voice of shimmering beauty, has been particularly acclaimed in her portrayals of Mozart's heroines. Ms. Claire opens her 2010-11 season in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine, followed by her Met debut as Tebaldo in Verdi's Don Carlo under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. As a member of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program she will appear as Marenka in Smetana's The Bartered Bride with Maestro Levine and cover Euridice in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. In Spring 2011 she will join the Metropolitan Opera's tour of Japan.

Ms. Claire's recent and upcoming performances include opera galas with San Francisco Symphony and L'Opera de Montreal, recitals with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Lindemann Program, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Russian National Orchestra under Itzhak Perlman, Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony, Clothilde in Bellini's Norma with L'Orchestre symphonique de Montreal conducted by Kent Nagano, Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler's Symphony No. 2 at the opening celebration of Tanglewood's 2010 season.

Layla Claire sang Mozart's Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Fiordiligi (Così fan Tutte) at Tanglewood in past seasons and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) and the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro) while studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. At Curtis she also sang Erisbe in Cavalli's L'Ormindo and Margarita Xirgu in Ainadamar by Osvaldo Golijov.

Ms. Claire has won numerous awards, including the Mozart Prize at the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition (2008) and First Prize in the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (2005). She is a CBC Radio-Canada Jeunes Artistes recital winner, a recipient of J. Desmarais Foundation Scholarships, and a proud recipient of a Canada Council Grant. She has also taken prizes at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition, Palm Beach Opera Competition, George London Foundation Competition, and the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists.

Danish-born coach and accompanist Mikael Eliasen received his early training in Copenhagen, Montreal, and Vienna. He has collaborated with numerous singers in recital worldwide, including Robert Merrill, Tom Krause, John Shirley-Quirk, Elly Ameling, Edith Mathis, Florence Quivar, Mira Zakai, Sarah Walker, Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, and Curtis alumni Theodor Uppman, Michael Schade, and Rinat Shaham. He has recorded for Albany Records, CBC, Hilversum Radio, Polish State Radio, Kol Israel, Irish Radio and Television, London Records, MHS, and Supraphon.

Mr. Eliasen has given master classes at Aix-en-Provence, the Shanghai Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow), Jerusalem Music Center, and National Opera of Prague. He has a long association with the young-artist programs at the Royal Danish Opera and the Opera Studio of Amsterdam. In the United States, he works regularly at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.

Mr. Eliasen was music director of the San Francisco Opera Center from 1994 to 1996 and artistic director of the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Belgium from 1984 to 1994. For twenty years he has taught at Chautauqua's Voice Program during the summers. Mr. Eliasen joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and became the head of the department in 1988. He holds the Hirsig Family Head-of-Department Chair in Vocal Studies.

The Alumni Recital Series, coordinated by the Alumni Society of Greater Philadelphia and the Alumni and Parent Relations Office, supports the next generation of Curtis musicians. Artists donate their services, and each year Society members work directly with Curtis to decide how proceeds from the recital series can be most beneficial to the students. In recent years contributions have been made toward the purchase of student tickets to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, acquisitions for the library, the student travel fund, and instrument repairs.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world's leading conservatories, Curtis is highly selective and provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 160 students. In this intimate environment, students receive personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. A busy schedule of performances is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. This philosophy has produced an impressive number of notable artists since the school's founding in 1924, from such legends as Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, Leila Josefowicz, Lang Lang, and Time for Three.

Alumni Recital Series: Layla Claire, soprano
Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m.

Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia
Layla Claire, soprano ('09)
Mikael Eliasen, piano (guest artist)

Single tickets: $28; available from the Curtis Ticket Office at (215) 893-7902 or All artists donate their services, and proceeds benefit current Curtis students.

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