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DOUBLE EXPOSURE S A T U R D AY, M AY 1 9 , 2 0 1 8 7 : 3 0 P. M . T H E W I L M A T H E AT E R

2 018 – 2 019 S E A S O N


Next season we present three operas that you very likely know and love. (We certainly do.) But along with this invitation to enjoy the finest the canon has to offer comes a promise to stage each in a way that will make you fall in love anew. We hope you will join us.

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR Part of Festival O18 September 21–30, 2018 Academy of Music

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM February 8–17, 2019 Academy of Music


April 26–May 5, 2019 Academy of Music

For personalized assistance curating your Opera Philadelphia experience, contact Guest Services at 215.732.8400 or visit


Welcome to Opera Philadelphia’s third Double Exposure, an event we created in 2014 to highlight artistic interpretation and the development process. Process and development are keys to what make this world of new operatic works tick, but these parts of the creative journey are often kept private (and rightfully so). The act of creation is very personal and vulnerable, as is sharing that work when the time is right. This art form is also deeply rooted in collaboration, so there is an element of the process that is necessary to share together to realize the vision. The Composer in Residence program is entrenched in exploration, individuality, and pushing outside of one’s comfort zone. Why is this important and necessary? Composers are not often allotted the time to “play,” to seek out external ideas, and collaborate with others under circumstances less demanding than in the commissioning phase of a new work. Yet, we have found that this is where the magic happens! So much so that it has greatly informed our overall New Works practice at Opera Philadelphia. For instance, this program has afforded Rene Orth her first opportunity to collaborate with librettist Hannah Moscovitch. They have found a world together to explore through the development that has excited both and seems to have sparked what will become a long-lasting collaboration. Neither Rene nor David Hertzberg have previously worked with directors Allison Moritz or Mary Birnbaum. These two immensely talented directors have each brought fresh eyes to the composers’ work and writing. Many of the cast have not worked with conductor Daniela Candillari or either director. It is a complete world of new, a space to experiment, and to grow as artists. Thank you for joining us on the journey.

Sarah Williams New Works Administrator

order of program

Creative Teams Team AD:

Team BC:

Conductor / Daniela Candillari Director / Alison Moritz Pianist / Annie Brooks

Conductor / Carlos Ágreda Director / Mary Birnbaum Pianist / Michael Sherman

10 Days in a Madhouse Team AD:

The Rose Elf Team AD:

Nellie / Ashley Robillard Voice / Kendra Broom Dr. Blackwell / Johnathan McCullough

The Elf / Kendra Broom The Beloved/Horus / Daniel Taylor The Girl/Luna / Ashley Robillard Brother / Johnathan McCullough

10 Days in a Madhouse Team BC:

The Rose Elf Team BC:

Nellie / Ashley Milanese Voice / Anastasiia Sidorova Dr. Blackwell / Dogukan Kuran ˘

The Elf / Samantha Hankey The Beloved/Horus / Aaron Crouch The Girl/Luna / Ashley Milanese Brother / Dogukan Kuran ˘

scene descrip tions

10 Days in a Madhouse Ten Days is inspired by the life and writings of Nellie Bly, an American journalist who, in 1887, penned an exposé of the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Nellie went undercover to the asylum, feigning insanity and fooling specialists in order to be admitted, and then spent ten days incarcerated there. While conditions at the asylum were deplorable and the treatment of its inmates was inhumane, Nellie Bly’s most shocking revelation was that many of the women locked up there were just as sane as she was. The scene included in the performance tonight describes the madness that can result from being erroneously diagnosed as mad. – Rene Orth & Hannah Moscovitch

The Rose Elf These two scenes represent the beginning and ending of my one-act chamber opera The Rose Elf. The libretto is freely transfigured from the eponymous fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen, though the roots of this story can be traced back to Boccaccio and even ancient mythological sources. The simple story tells of human tragedy, of loss and of despair. In my work, someone, at once near and distant, beholds this, and is transformed. – David Hertzberg

Opera Philadelphia’s Composer in Residence program is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

reflect ion

An Opportunity for Experimentation and Critical Reflection By Lembit Beecher Composer in Residence, 2011–2014

I’m so happy that Double Exposure continues to be presented by Opera Philadelphia. During the initial incarnation of this program, in 2014, I had excerpts of two works performed, and during the week of intensive rehearsals and performances, I think I learned more about opera than at any other time of my development as a composer. Before Double Exposure, I hadn’t had extensive experience working on operatic productions and the program gave me a sense of what collaborating with two incredibly different directors would be like. One of the scenes I presented was from a project in the very early stages of development about characters with Alzheimer’s disease. Working with the different casts, conductors, and directors allowed me to be much more confident in my judgements of my own work. As a composer it can be a difficult thing to parse out why a section of music, or a scene, seems to work or why it does not: sometimes an awkward musical score can be carried by an unusually gifted performer or the perfect staging can mask an unwieldly libretto (or vice versa!). As I worked on this experimental piece, trying to depict the world of a person with Alzheimer’s, the experience of Double Exposure was clarifying, allowing me to understand the expressive effect of my music when combined with different types of staging and different performances. Finding the right balance between these elements was crucial particularly with a topic like this that could easily become overwrought or simplistically intense. I think most of my favorite moments from the productions were those in which music, staging, and text worked expressively at cross-purposes, where one of these elements undercut or contrasted with the others. After Double Exposure, I decided to start from scratch on this project, armed with a sense of pitfalls to avoid and a long list of the types of moments that resonated with me. Now, four years later, my opera Sky on Swings will be presented by Opera Philadelphia this September during Festival O18.

Perhaps the most exciting result of Double Exposure for me was the way in which the opportunity for critical reflection was extended to the audience. The interactions I had with audience members afterwards were thoughtful and generously judgmental in a way that is almost impossible to achieve with a new work in its first production. I think seeing different versions of the same piece gave the audience a context to think critically, a license to trust their instincts, and as a composer, lowered my own sense of ego. The performances were about the process much more than the result and it was wonderful to invite you all into the world of constant decision-making and comparison that goes into the development and production of opera. I hope you too find this a wonderful opportunity to think critically while also being entertained.

Thomas Shivone in a scene written by Lembit Beecher and Hannah Moscovitch for Double Exposure in 2014. Photograph by Dominic M. Mercier.

composer bio

DAV I D H E RT Z B E RG Hailed as “opulently gifted” by Opera News and “utterly original” by The New York Times, the music of David Hertzberg (b. 1990, Los Angeles) is swiftly garnering recognition. The 2017-2018 season saw the premiere of his opera, The Wake World, co-presented by Opera Philadelphia and the Barnes Foundation at Opera Philadelphia’s inaugural Festival O17, which won the Music Critics Association of North America’s Best New Opera Award. The New York Times said of the premiere, “The score, spiked with modernist elements, makes Mr. Hertzberg seem a 21st-century Ravel,” and The Wall Street Journal noted “the sheen and muscle of Strauss wedded to the diaphanous spirit of Debussy, but with a distinctly modern edge…this composer is a find.” This spring brings yet another operatic premiere: The Rose Elf, in an unprecedented presentation in the catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. This premiere run, with performances on June 6, 8, and 10, sees his continued collaboration with director R.B. Schlather, and stars mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey. Highlights of recent seasons have included the premiere of his Chamber Symphony with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the cantata Sunday Morning with New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, for none shall gaze upon the Father and live with the Kansas City Symphony, Spectre of the Spheres with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and three premieres on the Concert Artists Guild series at Carnegie Hall. Of the premiere of his Orgie céleste, The New York Times wrote, “In this riveting work, Mr. Hertzberg demonstrates that a gifted young composer can be inspired by masters and still speak with a vibrantly personal style.” Distinctions have come from Harvard University, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Copland House, Tanglewood, BMI, ASCAP, and Young Concert Artists. He studied at The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music.

composer bio

RE N E O RT H Rene Orth is a composer that “breaks new ground” (Opera News), writing music described as “always dramatic, reflective, rarely predictable, and often electronic” (Musical America). She currently serves as Opera Philadelphia’s sixth Composer in Residence, a post that she will hold through the 2018-19 season. Upcoming projects include commissions from Network for New Music, Summerville Orchestra, and the Curtis Opera Theatre. Her chamber opera, Empty the House (librettist Mark Campbell), received its staged premiere with the Curtis Opera Theatre in a sold-out run in January 2016, and a portion was later selected as part of Fort Worth Opera’s FRONTIERS 2016 showcase. It will receive a new production with new orchestration with Curtis Opera Theatre in May 2019. She was a recipient of a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant for a new work with librettist Jason Kim. An excerpt of the piece was most recently featured in OPERA America’s 2017 New Works Showcase. In 2014, Rene was commissioned by Washington National Opera/American Opera Initiative Program for a chamber opera, An American Man (librettist Jason Kim), which premiered at the Kennedy Center. Other previous commissions and performances from notable ensembles include the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, Seraph Brass, Dover Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, Rock School of Dance, Philadelphia Fringe Festival and Pennsylvania Ballet. In the summer of 2015, Rene was invited to participate in Festival d‘Aix en Provence’s Opera in Creation “Reflection” Workshop and returned in 2016 as one of three composers selected for the Festival’s Song and Creation Residency. She has served on the Theory/Composition faculty for Luzerne Music Center and held residencies at the artist colonies of Yaddo and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Rene is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Louisville, MediaTech Institute, and Rhodes College.

li bret t ist bio

H A N N A H M O SCOV I TCH Hannah Moscovitch is considered one of the strongest playwriting voices in Canada. Her work has won multiple awards, most recently the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Literature. She is a Playwright-in-Residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Her first collaboration with composer Lembit Beecher, I Have No Stories to Tell You, premiered with Gotham Chamber Opera in 2014 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was staged in 2017 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of Festival O17. This September, their opera Sky on Swings will premiere at Festival O18.

artist bios

C A R LOS Á G RE DA / conductor Bogotá, Colombia Recent Activities: Conductor, Mahagonny/Medium, Curtis Opera Theatre; Assistant Conductor, La rondine, Curtis Opera Theatre; Conducting Fellow, Curtis Institute of Music Upcoming Project: Music Director, Empire State Youth Orchestra M ARY B I RN B AU M / director New Canaan, Connecticut Recent Activities: Director, Kept, Virginia Arts Festival; Director, La finta giardiniera, The Juilliard School; Director, Otello, National Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Upcoming Project: Director, Enemies, Kentucky Opera AN N I E B RO O K S / piano Seattle, Washington Recent Activities: Coach/pianist, Help Help the Globolinks!, Wingate University; Pianist, Cyrano de Bergerac, Opera Carolina; Coach/ Pianist, Bastianello/The Juniper Tree, Wolf Trap Opera Upcoming Project: Coach/Pianist, The Rake’s Progress, Merola Opera Program

KE N D R A BRO O M / mezzo-soprano Oakland, California Recent Activities: Alto Soloist, Mozart’s Requiem, New Jersey Symphony; Lucretia, The Rape of Lucretia, Curtis Opera Theatre; Adelma, Busoni’s Turandot, Bard Music Festival Upcoming Project: Mélisande, Pelléas et Mélisande, West Edge Opera Company

DAN I E L A C A N D I L L A RI / conductor Maribor, Slovenia Recent Activities: Conductor, Fellow Travelers, Lyric Opera of Chicago; Conductor, Total Embrace: Bernstein at 100, Trinity Church Wall Street; Conductor, Acquanetta, PROTOTYPE Festival Upcoming Project: Conductor, Fellow Travelers, Minnesota Opera

artist bios

A ARON C RO U CH / tenor Bowie, Maryland Recent Activities: Prunier, La rondine, Curtis Opera Theatre; Lensky, Eugene Onegin, Curtis Opera Theatre; La théière, L’enfant et les sortilèges, New World Symphony Upcoming Project: Nemorino, L’elisir d’amore, Chautauqua Institute S AM A N TH A H A N K E Y / mezzo-soprano Marshfield, Massachusetts Recent Activities:Siébel, Faust, Grand Théâtre de Genève; Rosina, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Norwegian National Opera; Angelina, La Cenerentola, Merola Opera Program Upcoming Project: Wellgunde, Das Rheingold & Götterdämmerung, The Metropolitan Opera D OGU ˘ K A N K U RA N / baritone Çesme, Turkey Recent Activities: Le Dancaïre, Carmen, Opera Philadelphia; Onegin, Eugene Onegin, Curtis Opera Theatre; Il Conte, Le nozze di Figaro, Curtis Opera Theatre Upcoming Project: AIMS Summer Program, Graz, Austria JOH N AT H A N M CC U L L O U G H / baritone Los Angeles, California Recent Activities: Moralès, Carmen, Opera Philadelphia; Gonsalvo Fiesch, Die Geseichneten, Komische Oper Berlin; Mr. Greatorex, Elizabeth Cree, Opera Philadelphia Upcoming Project: Demetrius, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opera Philadelphia

AS H LE Y M I L A N E SE / soprano New Orleans, Louisiana Recent Activities: Frasquita, Carmen, Opera Philadelphia; Dede, A Quiet Place, Curtis Opera Theatre; First Lady, The Magic Flute, Opera Philadelphia Upcoming Project: 2018-2019 Resident Artist, Teatro Reggio

artist bios

ALI S ON M O RI TZ / director St. Louis, Missouri Recent Activities: Director, Proving Up (World Premiere), Washington National Opera; Director, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Madison Opera; Director, Orpheus in the Underworld, New Orleans Opera Association Upcoming Project: Director, Candide, Tanglewood AS H LE Y RO B I L L A RD / soprano Norton, Massachusetts Recent Activities: Papagena, The Magic Flute, Opera Philadelphia; Tatyana, Eugene Onegin, Curtis Opera Theatre; Barbarina, Le nozze di Figaro, Curtis Opera Theatre Upcoming Project: Musetta, La bohème, Opera Philadelphia M I CH A E L SH E RM A N / conductor Los Angeles, California Recent Activities: Assistant Conductor, Candide, Washington National Opera; Assistant Conductor, La fanciulla del West, Virginia Opera; Assistant Conductor, La traviata, Opera Memphis Upcoming Project: Assistant Conductor, La traviata, Washington National Opera

AN A STA SI I A SI D O ROVA / mezzo-soprano St. Petersburg, Russia Recent Activities: Mercédès, Carmen, Opera Philadelphia; Third Lady, The Magic Flute, Opera Philadelphia; Mrs. Doc, A Quiet Place, Curtis Opera Theatre Upcoming Project: Giovanna, Rigoletto, Wolf Trap Opera DAN I E L TAY L O R / tenor Bristol, Pennsylvania Recent Activities: Le Remendado, Carmen, Opera Philadelphia; Tenor of Mourner’s Quartet, A Quiet Place, Curtis Opera Theatre; Priest/Librarian/Mr. Gerrard/Witness #5, Elizabeth Cree, Opera Philadelphia Upcoming Project: Ira, Sky on Swings, Opera Philadelphia


Violin 1 / Courtney Orlando Violin 2 / Emma Kummrow Viola / Jonathan Kim Cello / Branson Yeast Bass / Robin Brawley Clarinet / Allison Herz French Horn / Jonathan Clark Piano / Annie Brooks & Michael Sherman Percussion / Bradley Loudis Ableton / Adam Pangburn

production team

Costume Designer / Millie Hiibel Lighting Designer / Chris Frey Props Supervision / Avista Custom Theatrical Services Stage Manager / Lisa Anderson Assistant Stage Managers / Gregory Boyle, Jen Shaw Rehearsal Pianists / Michael Sherman, Annie Brooks Supertitles Operator / Tony Solitro Supertitles Author / Kelsey Burston Director of Orchestra Personnel & Orchestra Librarian / J. Robert Loy

FESTIVAL S E P T E M B E R 2 0 – 3 0 , 2 018

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR September 21–30 A new production starring Brenda Rae and Michael Spyres


September 20–29 World Premiere starring Frederica von Stade and Marietta Simpson


September 22–30 A reimagined La voix humaine starring Patricia Racette


September 22–30 An immersive, multimedia experience starring Anthony Roth Costanzo (World Premiere Production)


September 24–28 Cabaret nights featuring Stephanie Blythe and Martha Graham Cracker


September 21 & 28 A recital series featuring “ O N E O F T H E M O S T E N J OYA B L E A D D I T I O N S T O TOpera H E F A Philadelphia L L C A L E N DEmerging A R I N Y Artists EARS.” T H E WA S H I N G T O N P O S T

Subscriptions and Festival O18 ticket packages of two or more events are now on sale. Single tickets will go on sale on August 1, 2018.

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Double Exposure 2018 Program  

Performance program for Double Exposure, featuring new works by Rene Orth and David Hertzberg, at the Wilma Theater on Saturday, May 19, 201...

Double Exposure 2018 Program  

Performance program for Double Exposure, featuring new works by Rene Orth and David Hertzberg, at the Wilma Theater on Saturday, May 19, 201...