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Curtis Opera Theatre presents "The Emperor of Atlantis" by Viktor Ullmann at the Curtis Opera Studio October 10-13

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(September 27, 2013) The Curtis Opera Theatre presents The Emperor of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann at the Curtis Opera Studio October 10-13. A "modern classic" (Opera News), The Emperor of Atlantis is an extraordinary one-act fable created in Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp near Prague. The Curtis Opera Theatre presents this intimate drama October 10 through October 13 at the Curtis Opera Studio.

The power struggle between a deluded, warring emperor and Death itself wreaks havoc on humanity until one of them gains the upper hand in The Emperor of Atlantis. Composed by Viktor Ullmann with a libretto by Peter Kien, the compelling one-act opera was created when Ullmann and Kien were imprisoned at Theresienstadt during World War II. Shortly after its composition, Nazi authorities sent composer and librettist to Auschwitz where they both were killed, but the manuscript miraculously survived the war.

Chas Rader-Shieber directs and Kensho Watanabe ('13), the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, conducts; lighting design is by Lenore Doxsee. Performances are in English and take place on Thursday, October 10 through Saturday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m.; and on Sunday, October 13 at 2:30 p.m.

Three-opera subscriptions, which also include Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore and Rossini's La Cenerentola, are available for $75. Single tickets are $35. To purchase tickets, contact the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or visit The Curtis Opera Studio is located inside the Curtis Institute of Music at 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia.

Chas Rader-Shieber (stage director) has staged over 25 operas for the Curtis Opera Theatre since 1991, most recently Mozart's The Magic Flute and Handel's Rinaldo. In addition to staging Curtis Opera Theatre's 2012 production of Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, other recent work includes Lehár's Die lustige Witwe for Staatstheater Darmstadt, Handel's Tolomeo for the Glimmerglass Festival and Tamerlano for Washington National Opera and LA Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera, and Don Giovanni for Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Rader-Shieber's other credits include work for the opera companies of Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Vancouver, the New York City Opera, and the Spoleto Festival, among others. 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, 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 joined the Curtis faculty in 2009.

Kensho Watanabe, a recent Curtis graduate and the school's inaugural Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, hails from Greenwich, Connecticut. Mr. Watanabe earned a diploma from Curtis in 2013 and studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He recently led the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral and a vocal duet from Tchaikovsky's unfinished opera Romeo and Juliet in Verizon Hall, as well as the world premiere of Richard Danielpour's Consecration for soprano and chamber orchestra in Gould Rehearsal Hall. Mr. Watanabe previously served as the assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra under Toshiyuki Shimada, leading the YSO in concerts at Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel. He was also the music director of Yale's Berkeley College Orchestra from 2006 to 2009.

The Curtis Opera Theatre, under the artistic direction of Mikael Eliasen, works with established professional directors and designers to create fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of Curtis's 25 voice and opera students are cast repeatedly each season, receiving a rare level of performance experience. 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.

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 provides its 171 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. Its distinctive "learn by doing" approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists since its founding in 1924, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Jonathan Biss, Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang. Curtis alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world's leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series.

Curtis's innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills. The school's facilities offer superb spaces for music-making, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. In addition to more than 200 performances in and around Philadelphia each year, students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit

Curtis Opera Theatre: The Emperor of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann
Thursday, October 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 13 at 2:30 p.m.

Curtis Opera Studio, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia

Kensho Watanabe, conductor ('13)
Chas Rader-Shieber, stage director
Lenore Doxsee, lighting designer

Kaiser Overall - Sean Plumb
Der Lautsprecher - Vartan Gabrielian
Der Tod - Anthony Reed
Harkelin - Spencer Lang
Ein Soldat - Roy Hage
Bubikopf - Ashley Milanese
Der Trommler - Lauren Eberwein

Three-opera subscriptions: $75 (The Emperor of Atlantis, L'elisir d'amore, and La Cenerentola): single tickets: $35: available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or


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