Curtis Opera Theatre Presents Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place: American Premiere of Adaptation by Garth Edwin Sunderland
Curtis Institute of Music - The Knowledge Review

PHILADELPHIA—March 1, 2018—The Curtis Institute of Music celebrates the centenary of its famous alumnus, Leonard Bernstein, with performances of A Quiet Place in Philadelphia and New York March 7–13, marking the American premiere of Garth Edwin Sunderland’s 2013 chamber adaptation of Bernstein’s final opera.

Performances take place in Philadelphia on March 7, 9, and 11 at the Perelman Theater, presented in partnership with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts as part of the recently launched Curtis Opera Theatre at the Perelman series. A concert production will be performed in New York City on March 13 at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

Best known for creating cultural touchstones like West Side Story, On the Waterfront, and Candide, Bernstein called A Quiet Place “unlike any work I have ever written or seen.” The opera revisits the unhappy suburban family from his 1951 one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti three decades later, only to find them reeling in the wake of tragedy. Unhappy memories and long-buried resentments surface, and the survivors have a choice: to hurt one another again—or to heal.

In Sunderland’s 90-minute adaptation, premiered in a 2013 concert production with Kent Nagano and Ensemble Modern in Berlin, arias written for Sam and François are restored. Trouble in Tahiti—originally incorporated as a flashback midway through the opera—is removed, and the orchestra is reduced in size.

“My goal was to preserve Bernstein’s intentions for the sound-world and the drama of his music, while using a radically scaled-down orchestra of 18 musicians,” said Sunderland. “This chamber ensemble will not encompass the sheer volume and overwhelming force of the original orchestration, but it instead has a transparency, and an intimacy, that are appropriate to the opera’s themes and its characters, and that allow for a different perspective on Bernstein’s score.”

Corrado Rovaris, Opera Philadelphia’s Jack Mulroney Music Director, leads members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s dramatic music—by turns explosive, elegiac, and playful—given a more intimate scale in Sunderland’s orchestration. Directed by Daniel Fish, the Philadelphia production marks the first time the chamber adaptation has been fully staged.

Leonard Bernstein at 100

This season, Curtis joins the worldwide centenary celebrations of Leonard Bernstein, a 1941 conducting graduate, who took the stage and podium at the school in his early twenties just before launching the meteoric career that led to composing West Side Story and international acclaim as a conductor. With programs throughout the year, Curtis brings new life to his music–both well-loved compositions and rarely performed gems–and opens the school’s archive of photos, letters, and more to the public. Learn more at

Concert production with members of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra

Tickets: Available at or by calling the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College at (212) 772-4448

A Quiet Place is sponsored in part by David and Sandy Marshall, BNP Paribas, and the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for Opera.

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

The March 7–11 Philadelphia performances are presented in partnership with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The March 13 New York performance is part of Curtis on Tour, the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music.

About the Curtis Opera Theatre

Under the artistic direction of Mikael Eliasen, the Curtis Opera Theatre has become known for imaginative productions, bold concepts, and absorbing theater. Promising young singers work alongside established professional directors and designers, resulting in fresh interpretations of standard repertoire and contemporary works. All of Curtis’s 25 voice and opera students cast repeatedly each season, receiving a rare level of performance experience on stage and through 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.

About Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. Described as “the very model of a modern opera company” by the Washington Post, Opera Philadelphia was the only American finalist for the 2016 International Opera Award for Best Opera Company. After opening its 2017–18 season with the immersive O17 festival, Opera Philadelphia returns to the Academy of Music with two new spring productions: George Benjamin’s Written on Skin (February 9–18, 2018) and Bizet’s Carmen (April 27–May 6, 2018). The company’s second fall festival, O18, will take place on September 20–30, 2018. For more information, visit

About the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center’s mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience through diverse programming, arts education, and community outreach. The Kimmel Center Campus is comprised of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio, and the Merck Arts Education Center), the Academy of Music (owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association), and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center is also home to eight Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2017–18 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit

For more information, get in touch with

Jennifer Kallend | | (215) 717-3190

Curtis Institute of Music,

1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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