Curtis Opera Theatre Opens Season with Handel’s ‘L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato’

By Chris Ruel

The 2023–24 season of the Curtis Opera Theatre kicks off on Nov. 10 and 12 with George Frideric Handel’s “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” at the Philadelphia Film Center.

This piece was inspired by John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and adapted by Charles Jennens. Chas Rader-Shieber directs, and Nicholas McGegan conducts. The opera comprises a cast of rising vocalists backed by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

“L’Allegro” is part of Handel‘s three-part adaptation of Milton’s poems, exploring nature and human emotion. The Curtis performance marries 18th-century costumes with a touch of the modern, enhanced by choreography from Isaac Martin Lerner.

The show features sopranos Maya Mor Mitrani, Juliette Tacchino, Sarah Fleiss, Juliet Rand, and Dalia Medovnikov. Altos include Sam Higgins, Katie Trigg, and Shikta Mukherjee. Tenors are Jackson Allen and Hongrui Ren, with basses Evan Gray and Nathan Schludecker.

“L’Allegro” features a dynamic set by Judy Gailen that evolves during the show, along with creative lighting by Connie Yun that adds color, texture, and mood.

McGegan, the music director laureate of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Capella Savaria, makes his debut at Curtis, while Rader-Shieber returns to direct his thirty-first opera.