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Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Staged Duets in Opera OnDemand

January 13, 2021 | By Patricia K. Johnson
Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Curtis Institute of Music

Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Staged Duets in Opera OnDemand


Semester-long project expands students’ artistic and tech skills alongside innovative virtual staging


PHILADELPHIA, PA—January 13, 2021—The Curtis Opera Theatre announces a new virtual offering entitled Opera OnDemand. Available for free online streaming from January 22 through February 1, 2021, the project features beloved duets from the Italian opera canon. Through months of musical preparation, innovative staging techniques, and state-of-the-art video editing, Curtis’s rising opera stars perform in custom virtual sets, united in pairs from their individual locations across the globe.

The electrifying evening highlights familiar scenes from masterful Italian operas by Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Short, witty episodes follow nefarious schemes, tests of loyalty, playful escapes, mistaken identities, and soaring avowals of love. Stage director Scott Skiba and music directors Grant Loehnig and Miloš Repický lead the 90-minute performance, with concepts by production designer Brittany Merenda. Semi-staged duet scenes, accompanied by piano, are sung in Italian with English translations available. The Curtis Opera Theatre is supported by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.

The performance video will be available online beginning Friday, January 22 in the evening. Free registration is required at Registrants will receive program synopses and a private video link to explore and revisit these fresh takes on classic opera on an unlimited basis through Monday, February 1.

Preparations for Opera OnDemand began in the Fall 2020 semester. Students of the Curtis Opera Theatre, ranging from undergraduates to graduates with professional experience, rehearsed and recorded scenes in their own living spaces, which have been individually optimized using green screens and specialized lighting and audio equipment. Singers participated from homes across the United States and locales as distant as Switzerland and Malta. Highly-skilled production and musical staff worked with the performers from afar to set up at-home performance spaces, and to direct and perfect the recordings, which have been edited together to give the illusion that the duo partners are interacting in the same physical space.

In addition to achieving the same extensive musical preparation for which the Curtis Opera Theatre is known, the singers acquired and honed new technical skills that would not have been taught in a typical season. “The students are well-equipped to transfer these skills now to other virtual collaborations and audition recording production, which will become increasingly important and useful in future creative endeavors since the performing arts will likely include some form of digital programming delivery even as ‘traditional live in-theater performances’ return,” says stage director Scott Skiba. This project is one of many imagined by the Curtis Institute of Music in 2020–21 to prepare students for rapidly evolving careers as 21st-century musicians.

The Curtis Opera Theatre has become known for imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theatre. Under the artistic direction of Eric Owens, promising young singers work alongside established professional directors and designers, resulting in fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of Curtis’s 20 students in vocal studies are cast regularly throughout each season, receiving a rare level of performance in fully staged productions, in recitals at Field Concert Hall, and as soloists with Curtis on Tour and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Curtis’s educational approach opens professional opportunities for Curtis graduates, who sing with top opera companies across the United States and Europe, including La Scala, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.





Friday, January 22–Monday, February 1

Available for online streaming


Scott Skiba, stage director
Grant Loehnig, music director
Miloš Repický, music director
Brittany Merenda, production designer


DONIZETTI                “Caro elisir! Sei mio!” from L’elisir d’amore

                                    Emily Damasco, soprano

                                    Colin Aikins, tenor


DONIZETTI                “Cheti, cheti, immantinente” from Don Pasquale

                                    Charles Buttigieg, baritone

                                    Evan Gray, bass-baritone


BELLINI                      “Sì, fuggire: a noi non resta” from I Capuleti e i Montecchi

                                    Sage DeAgro-Ruopp, soprano

                                    Sarah Fleiss, mezzo-soprano


MOZART                    “Aprite, presto, aprite” from Le nozze di Figaro

                                    Dalia Medovnikov, soprano

                                    Hannah Klein, mezzo-soprano


VERDI                         “Signor né principe…È il sol dell’anima” from Rigoletto

                                    Lindsey Reynolds, soprano

                                    Joseph Tancredi, tenor


MOZART                    “Crudel! Perché finora farmi languir così” from Le nozze di Figaro

                                    Sage DeAgro-Ruopp, soprano

                                    Ben Schaefer, baritone


ROSSINI                      “Ai capricci della sorte” from L’Italiana in Algeri

                                    Anastasiia Sidorova, mezzo-soprano

                                    Patrick Wilhelm, baritone


VERDI                              “Un dì, felice, eterea” from La traviata

                                    Merissa Beddows, soprano

                                    Ethan Burck, tenor


DONIZETTI                “Dio, che mi vedi in core” from Anna Bolena

                                    Sophia Hunt, soprano

                                    Ruby Dibble, mezzo-soprano


DONIZETTI                “Quanto amore!  Ed io spietata!” from L’elisir d’amore

                                    Lindsey Reynolds, soprano

                                    Thomas Petrushka, bass



Semi-staged production with piano accompaniment, sung in Italian with English subtitles


Free registration required at


The Curtis Opera Theatre is supported by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.



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