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Curtis Opera Theatre Presents a Comic Double Bill with Rossini’s "La scala di seta" and Puccini’s "Gianni Schicchi" Nov 20-23

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Philadelphia, PA--November 14, 2014--The Curtis Opera Theatre presents a delightful double bill of comedy motivated by matchmaking with Rossini's La scala di seta and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at the Prince Music Theater November 20-23.

A silken ladder leads to love in Rossini's fast-paced farce La scala di seta, with many twists and turns along the way; but with love as champion in the end. Puccini's wily hero devises an audacious scheme to unite a young couple in Gianni Schicchi, featuring Puccini's iconic and beautiful aria, "O mio babbino caro."

Lio Kuokman ('09), new assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Stephanie Havey directs. Scenic design is by Brandon McNeel, costume design by Amy Sutton, and lighting design by Christopher J. Frey. Performances are in Italian with English supertitles and take place Thursday, November 20 through Saturday November 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 23 at 2:30 p.m. The Prince Music Theater is located at 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

Tickets are $5, $25, or $50 and are available in person and online from the Prince Music Theater at, or call TicketPhiladelphia at (215) 893-1999.

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

Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a "startling conducting talent," Lio Kuokman was recently appointed assistant conductor at the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2014 he won the Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition in Paris, leading to his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Mr. Kuokman has conducted the Macau, National Arts Center, and Philadelphia orchestras; the Hong Kong, Seoul, and Taipei philharmonics; the Danish National and Pan Asia symphony orchestras; and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has led opera productions throughout Asia and the U.S, including Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, L'elisir d'amore, La fille du regiment, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cavalleria rusticana, and I Pagliacci. He has appeared at the Beijing International, Cabrillo New Music, Great Mountain, Hong Kong, and Macau International festivals.

Mr. Kuokman has performed as keyboard soloist with the China National, Fort Worth, and Shanghai symphony orchestras; the Hong Kong and Romania Bacau philharmonics; and Camerata Salzburg. Born in Macau, he holds a master's degree from the Juilliard School and diplomas in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory. 

Winner of the 2014 Adelaide Bishop Award, Stephanie Havey makes directorial debuts this season with Atlanta Opera, Curtis Opera Theatre, Opera Fayetteville, and Opera Omaha. During the 2013-14 season she directed Double Exposure (Opera Philadelphia) and a new production of Don Giovanni (Opera in the Heights). She serves on the directing staff of Central City Opera and resident artist stage director of the Pittsburgh Opera. She has also worked at Glimmerglass Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera North, Orlando Opera, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Lyrique en Mer Festival in France. Ms. Havey has directed many collegiate productions, including two outreach tours with the Florida State Opera.

Brandon McNeel,
based in New York, has worked with the Montana Repertory Theatre, HERE, Chautauqua Theater Company, City Theatre of Pittsburgh, Dorset Theatre Festival, The New School, Mill City Summer Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Everyman Theatre. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Montana in Missoula and his Master of Fine Arts from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.

Amy Sutton
's recent credits include Kiss Me Kate (New London Barn Playhouse); She Stoops to Conquer, Drums in the Night, Little Children Dream of God, and Elizabeth I (University of California--San Diego); Ideal (59E59 Theater); Bernarda Alba (Gene Frankel Theater); Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (Manhattan Children's Theater), POP! (Richmond Shepard Theater); and apprentice scenes at Santa Fe Opera. She holds degrees from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the University of California, San Diego.

Christopher J. Frey is resident assistant lighting designer at Opera Philadelphia and associate lighting designer for the Pennsylvania Ballet. He has served as lighting director for the Philadelphia Orchestra and for many corporate events/product launches. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in lighting design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

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.

One of the world's finest and most selective conservatories, the Curtis Institute of Music offers a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture to 175 students from all corners of the world. Nurtured by a celebrated faculty, its extraordinary young musicians graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. From Leonard Bernstein to Alan Gilbert, Samuel Barber to Jennifer Higdon, Anna Moffo to Eric Owens, Richard Goode to Jonathan Biss, Curtis alumni personify the school's commitment to excellence--onstage and in their communities--inventing careers with impact. Recent graduates forging 21st-century careers include Stanford Thompson, CEO of Play On, Philly!; the musicians of genre-crossing trio Time for Three--Zach De Pue, Nick Kendall, and Ranaan Meyer; and Yvonne Lam, violinist in groundbreaking contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird.

A busy schedule of performances, including more than 200 a year in Philadelphia and around the world, is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. Dedicated to a tradition of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1924, Curtis is looking toward its centenary in a flexible and forward-thinking way, evolving strategically to serve its time-honored mission.

Curtis Opera Theatre:
La scala di seta by Gioacchino Rossini and Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
Thursday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 23 at 2:30 p.m.

Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Lio Kuokman, conductor ('09)
Stephanie Havey, director

ROSSINI La scala di seta
PUCCINI Gianni Schicchi


November 20 and 22 
La scala di seta
Giulia - Ashley Milanese 
Germano - Dogukan Kuran 
Lucilla - Nian Wang 
Dorvil - Mingjie Lei 
Dormant - Evan LeRoy Johnson 
Blansa -  Dennis Chmelensky 

Gianni Schicchi
Zita - Lauren Eberwein 
Simone - Thomas Shivone 
Rinuccio - Roy Hage 
Ciesca - Heather Stebbins 
Marco - Jonathan McCullough 
Nella - Ashley Milanese 
Gherardo - Mingjie Lei 
Betto - Vartan Gabrielian
Gheradino - Emily Pogorelc 
Gianni Schicchi - Jamez McCorkle 
Lauretta - Elena Perroni 
Spinelloccio - Dennis Chmelensky 
Il Notaio - Anthony Reed Thomas Shivone
Pinellino - Dennis Chmelensky 
Guccio - Dogukan Kuran 

November 21 and 23
La scala di Seta
Giulia - Alize Rozsnyai
Germano - Dogukan Kuran
Lucilla - Anastasiia Sidorova
Dorvil - Mingjie Lei
Domant - Evan LeRoy Johnson
Blansac - Johnathan McCullough

Gianni Schicchi
Zita - Shir Rozzen
Simone - Anthony Reed
Rinuccio - Evan LeRoy Johnson
Ciesca - Kirsten MacKinnon
Marco - Dogukan Kuran
Nella - Alize Rozsnyai
Gherardo - Mingjie Lei
Betto - Vartan Gabrielian
Gheradino - Emily Pogorelc
Gianni Schicchi - Sean Plumb
Lauretta - Ashley Robillard
Spinelloccio - Dennis Chmelensky
Il Notaio - Thomas Shivone
Pinellino - Dennis Chmelensky
Guccio - Johnathan McCullough

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

Program notes

Performer bios


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Jennifer Kallend
Managing Director of External Affairs and Patron Engagement
(215) 717-3190

Diana Wensley
Communications Manager
(215) 717-3129

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