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Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Tchaikovsky’s "Iolanta" October 9-12

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PHILADELPHIA, PA—September 30, 2014—The Curtis Opera Theatre presents Iolanta by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky at the Prince Music Theater October 9-12. Sung in Russian with English supertitles, Tchaikovsky’s melodious fairy tale is brought to life in a semi-staged performance with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kensho Watanabe (’13) and stage director Jordan Fein.

The beautiful Iolanta lives a peaceful, protected life, unaware that she is a princess—and that she is blind. Love blooms when a knight discovers her secret garden and shares the wonders of color and light. For the first time Iolanta yearns to see, opening the door to a miraculous cure.

Subscriptions for three Curtis Opera Theatre performances: $75; available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or Single tickets: $5, $25, $50; available in person and online from the Prince Music Theater at, or from TicketPhiladelphia at (215) 893-1999.

Kensho Watanabe, from Greenwich, Conn., received a diploma in 2013 from the Curtis Institute of Music, and returned in Fall 2013 as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow. Recent conducting experiences with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra include works by Bartók, Glinka, Higdon, Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner at Verizon Hall. In Fall 2013 he conducted the Curtis Opera Theatre's double bill of Ullmann's Emperor of Atlantis and Bach's Ich habe genug.

Mr. Watanabe previously was the assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra under Toshiyuki Shimada, leading the YSO in concerts at Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel. He has also served as the music director of Yale's Berkeley College Orchestra and as a cover conductor for the Atlanta Symphony and Symphony in C. He received a bachelor's degree in biology from Yale College and a master's degree in violin performance from Yale School of Music. He performs regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a substitute violinist and spends his summers at the Greenwood Music Camp, where he serves as orchestra conductor.

Jordan Fein has directed several Curtis Opera Theatre productions, including Dialogues of the Carmelites, L'elisir d'amore, and DIDO+. He received the 2014 Boris Sagal Directing Fellowship at the Williamstown Theater Festival, where he directed Dracula, or The Undead; Anna Bella Eema; and Zoo Story. He holds a B.F.A. from New York University.

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.

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: Iolanta by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Thursday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Kensho Watanabe, conductor ('13)
Jordan Fein, stage director

Semi-staged production with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in Russian with English supertitles.

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

Subscriptions for three Curtis Opera Theatre performances: $75; available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or Single tickets: $5, $25, $50; available in person and online from the Prince Music Theater at, or call TicketPhiladelphia at (215) 893-1999.


Cast (in order of performance)

October 9 and 11
Martha - Anastasiia Sidorova 
Iolanta - Rachel Sterrenberg
Brigitta - Lauren Eberwein
Laura - Nian Wang
Friends of Iolanta - Emily Pogorelc, Ashley Robillard
Bertrand - Vartan Gabrielian
Alméric - Mingjie Lei
King René - Thomas Shivone
Ibn-Hakia - Dogukan Kuran
Robert - Jamez McCorkle
Godefroy de Vaudémont - Roy Hage

October 10 and 12
Martha - Shir Rozzen
Iolanta - Kristen MacKinnon
Brigitta - Lauren Eberwein
Laura - Nian Wang
Friends of Iolanta - Emily Pogorelc, Ashley Robillard
Bertrand - Vartan Gabrielian
Alméric - Mingjie Lei
King René - Anthony Reed
Ibn-Hakia - Jonathan McCullough
Robert - Sean Plumb
Godefroy de Vaudémont - Evan Johnson


Press Contacts

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

Diana Wensley
Communications Manager
(215) 717-3129

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