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Chicago Opera Theater Announces Their 2011 Spring Festival Season

Chicago Opera Theater Announces Their 2011 Spring Festival Season

On March 25, 2010, General Director Brian Dickie announced Chicago Opera Theater's (COT) 2011 Spring Festival Season: the Midwest Premiere of Tod Machover's Death and the Powers, the Chicago Premiere of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Medea (Médée), and "HE/SHE" featuring Leoš Janá?ek's The Diary of One Who Disappeared (Zápisník zmizelého) and Robert Schumann's A Woman's Love and Life (Frauenliebe und Leben).

Chicago Opera Theater's 2011 Spring Festival Season runs April 2 through May 13 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

Death and the Powers is a new opera by Tod Machover, premiering in Monaco the fall of this year. Developed at the MIT Media Lab in creative partnership with Chicago Opera Theater and Harvard's American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.), and with the support of Futurum Association (Monaco), this groundbreaking production will use specially designed technology including a chorus of robots, a Musical Chandelier, and a set that expressively "comes alive."

The libretto by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, from a story by Randy Weiner, explores what we leave behind for the world and our loved ones, as told through an eccentric patriarch, Simon Powers (who "downloads" himself into The System), and his family and friends.

The music is by Tod Machover, whose genre-bending work is celebrated for its arching melodic lines, richly nuanced textures, and propulsive rhythms. He is also a pioneer in inventing new technologies for music, including Hyperinstruments that have been used by artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Prince, and for videogames Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which grew out of his Lab. His most recent opera was the acclaimed Skellig - based on the famous children's novel by David Almond - which premiered at The Sage Gateshead (UK) in 2008. Mr. Machover is also the composer of the stunning Resurrection, which premiered in 1999 at Houston Grand Opera.

"It is always enormously exciting to be involved in the creation of a brand new work." said COT General Director Brian Dickie. "And it is a huge joy for the company to be working with someone with the genius and charisma possessed by Tod Machover."

Diane Paulus returns to Chicago Opera Theater, after staging the hugely successful Broadway production of Hair, which won the Tony Award® for Best Musical Revival, and earned Ms. Paulus her first Tony nomination for Best Direction of a Musical. Conductor Gil Rose makes his Chicago Opera Theater debut. In 1996, he founded the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the foremost professional orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Death and the Powers will be designed by Alex McDowell, production designer of such films as Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride, and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report.

For more on Death and the Powers go to:
http://opera.media.mit.edu/projects/deathandthepowers/

Next in Chicago Opera Theater's 2011 Spring Festival Season is the Chicago premiere of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Medea (Médée). This marks the second opera in COT's baroque "trilogy" that is devoted to the exploration of three operas with Medea as a central character. COT presents Cavalli's Jason (Giasone) next month, and will present Teseo by George Frideric Handel in 2012.

"Surprisingly no opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier has ever been produced by a Chicago company. We are happy to remedy that with Medea, a defining opera by a great French composer of the baroque period," said Brian Dickie.

Never has there been such a complicated figure as Medea, whose emotions run the gamut from passion to rage to vengeance. Watch her evil unfold during the telling of this love quadrangle between Medea, her husband Jason, Princess Cruesa, and Prince Oronte of Argos. Her fury reaches its climax in the final scene, where she commits the ultimate revenge against Jason, ensuring he will die a lonely and heartbroken man.

Christian Curnyn, a rising star in the field of early music, will conduct all three operas of the baroque "trilogy." In April of last year he conducted performances of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the English National Opera. Mr. Curnyn makes his New York City Opera debut on April 3rd with Handel's Partenope.


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