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Curtis Opera Theatre presents Massenet’s "Manon" November 19-22 at the Prince Theater

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PHILADELPHIA, PA--November 16, 2015--A lush picture of fin-de-siècle Paris, Massenet's Manon is an opera that is both charming and enduring. The Curtis Opera Theatre presents Manon November 19-22 in a fully staged production at the Prince Theatre.

The naïve, beautiful Manon, seeking love and seduced by luxury, finds that she cannot have both at once--and makes her choice. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Phillipe Gille and is based on the 1731 novel L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost. Although essentially a drama, the opera is also filled with moments both romantic, such as the tenor aria "En fermant les yeux," and fun, such as Manon’s famous Gavotte.

is conducted by David Hayes ('89) and directed by Stephanie Havey. Scenic design is by Brandon McNeel, costume design is by Lena Sands, and lighting design is by Derek Van Heel. Performances take place on Thursday, November 19 through Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 22 at 2:30 p.m. The opera is performed with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and is sung in French with English supertitles.

The Prince Theater is located at 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Single tickets are$5, $25, and $50, and are available from the Prince Theater Box Office at (215) 422-4580 or

David Hayes is a conductor with an unusually broad range of repertory, spanning the symphonic, oratorio/choral, and operatic genres. He is the music director of the Mannes Orchestra and professor of professional practice at Mannes College The New School for Music; music director of the New York Choral Society; and staff conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Mr. Hayes served on the conducting staff of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 2001 to 2011, making his subscription debut in 2003. He was music director of the Philadelphia Singers, a professional vocal ensemble, from 1992 until May 2015; and also served as the interim director of orchestral studies at Temple University during the 2014-15 season. Mr. Hayes's guest-conducting engagements have included concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, Lancaster (Pa.) Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Relâche Ensemble, Rutgers Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Indiana University Philharmonia Orchestra, Opera Memphis, the Curtis Opera Theatre, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Washington Chorus, and Opera Philadelphia. He holds degrees from the University of Hartford and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller.

Winner of the 2014 Adelaide Bishop Award, Stephanie Havey has recently directed productions for Opera Philadelphia, Atlanta Opera, Opera Omaha, Tulsa Opera, Shreveport Opera, Opera in the Heights, Erie Chamber Orchestra, and Opera Fayetteville; and assisted on a new production of Salome for the Santa Fe Opera. In the current season she directs a new production of La bohème for Opera Columbus and Il barbiere di Siviglia for North Carolina Opera. During her two seasons as the resident artist stage director for the Pittsburgh Opera, Ms. Havey received rave reviews for her new production of Il matrimonio segreto, and directed numerous productions and a staged recital series in the Opera Studio. She has also worked at Boston Lyric Opera, Central City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera North, Nashville Opera, Orlando Opera, Opera New Jersey, and the Lyrique en Mer Festival in France.

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, Theatre for the New City, Producers Club, Carnegie Mellon University, and Everyman Theatre. Last season he designed the Curtis OperaTheatre's La scala di seta and Gianni Schicchi. 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.

Lena Sands
is a costume designer, puppet artist, and scenographer. Her recent design work includes two U.S. premieres: Paradise by Design directed by Martín Acosta; and a Korean play, When Spring Comes to Hills and Dales, directed by Yong Suk Yoo. Her work has been seen at REDCAT, the Juilliard School, Remy Bumppo, The Women’s Interart Center, The Irish Art Center, Los Angeles Theater Center, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and film festivals nationally.

Ms. Sands assisted Elizabeth Clancy on the development and national tour of A Christmas Story: the Musical, and on Shakespeare in the Park’s Measure for Measure. She also recently assisted David Zinn on Girlfriend at the Kirk Douglas Theater. She received her MFA in Design for Performance from CalArts.

Derek Van Heel’s designs have been seen at the Alvin Ailey Citibank Theatre; Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall; the Metropolitan Museum; Off-Broadway; and the kinds of basements, bars, clubs, and teeny-tiny rooms where New York theatre is often forged. Recent designs include The International (Origin Theatre Company), La cenerentola (Shreveport Opera), The End and the Beginning (The Civilians), The Miracle Worker (Montana Repertory Theatre, national tour), and Close Up (LeeSaar The Company). He also recently designed lighting for Butoh Medea (Ren Gyo Soh), which was performed in New York and Warsaw as well as at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. He holds a B.F.A. from the University of Montana and an M.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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 on stage and through frequent collaborations with Opera Philadelphia, Curtis on Tour, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. 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.

Drawing upon 90 years of artistry, the Curtis Institute of Music pairs tradition and innovation, educating exceptionally gifted young musicians as artist-citizens who engage a local and global community through music-making of the highest caliber. Each year 175 students come to Curtis, drawn by a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture. In this intimate environment, they are nurtured by a celebrated faculty and inspired by the school’s distinctive "learn by doing" approach, offering more than 200 concerts each year in Philadelphia, as well as performances around the world through Curtis on Tour.

"One of the world’s finest music academies" (BBC Culture), Curtis reaches global audiences through Curtis Performs (, the school’s dedicated HD performance video site. Online music courses and Summerfest programs offer lifelong learners further ways to listen, explore, and learn. And students hone 21st-century skills through social entrepreneurship programs that bring arts access and education to the community.

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Curtis Opera Theatre: Manon by Jules Massenet
Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

David Hayes, conductor ('89)
Stephanie Havey, stage director
Brandon McNeel, scenic designer
Lena Sands, costume designer
Derek Van Heel, lighting designer 

Fully staged production with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, sung in French with English supertitles.

Single tickets: $5, $25, $50; available from the Prince Theater Box Office at (215) 422-4580 or

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

Cast (in order of performance)

November 19 and 21 
Guillot Morfontaine - Jamez McCorkle 
Brétigny - Tyler Zimmerman 
Poussette - Ashley Robillard 
Javotte - Kendra Broom 
Rosette - Anastasiia Sidorova 
Innkeeper - Kodi Meyer 
Lescaut - Jonathan McCullough 
Manon Lescaut - Ashley Milanese
Chevalier des Grieux - Roy Hage 
Maid - Emily Pogorelc 
Conte des Grieux - Vartan Gabrielian 
Chorus - Dennis Chmelensky, Lauren Eberwein, Emma Henry*, Sophia Hunt, Evan Johnson, Kirsten MacKinnon, Maximiliano Marques*, Sean Plumb, Shir Rozzen, Heather Stebbins, Patrick Wilhelm, Kurt Klinger-Wilensky*

*Guest artist

November 20 and 22 

Guillot Morfontaine - Jamez McCorkle
Brétigny - Kodi Meyer
Poussette - Ashley Robillard
Javotte - Kendra Broom
Rosette - Anastasiia Sidorova
Innkeeper - Tyler Zimmerman
Lescaut - Dogukan Kuran
Manon Lescaut - Elena Perroni
Chevalier des Grieux - Jean-Michel Richer
Maid - Emily Pogorelc
Conte des Grieux - Thomas Shivone

Chorus - Dennis Chmelensky, Lauren Eberwein, Emma Henry*, Sophia Hunt, Evan Johnson, Kirsten MacKinnon, Maximiliano Marques*, Sean Plumb, Shir Rozzen, Heather Stebbins, Patrick Wilhelm, Kurt Klinger-Wilensky*

*Guest artist



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