Ricky Ian Gordon & Jonita Lattimore Set for Chicago Opera Theater's VIEWPOINTS
Chicago Opera Theater (COT) offers more opportunities to look inside its operas through its initiative, "Viewpoints." These collaborations with Chicago cultural institutions draw audiences even further into the passionate world of COT and offer new insight and perspective on the artistry and vision of upcoming productions.
COT's upcoming Viewpoint is an intimate evening of music and poetry with Ricky Ian Gordon, the creative genius of Orpheus & Euridice. One of today's foremost American composers he is often referred to as an heir to Stephen Sondheim, Ricky creates music that fuses opera and Broadway into a magical mix. Listen to Ricky's achingly beautiful music for the human voice, performed by the celebrated songwriter and poet and his friends: the renowned soprano Jonita Lattimore and former COT Young Artist Leila Bowie. Enjoy a glimpse into his extraordinary talent as he tells you about his music, life, art and the creative process behind it. This is an opportunity to meet Gordon and ask any questions about the life of a composer.
COT's provocative staging of Orpheus & Euridice was conceived by general director Andreas Mitisek and will be performed IN the Eckhart Park Pool (1330 W. Chicago Ave) Friday, November 1; Sunday, November 3; Friday, November 8; and Sunday, November 10.
Ricky Ian Gordon. (born May 15, 1956) is a New York City-based composer praised for his lyrical approach to theatre and art song. He has composed several operas and had his music performed by Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, Renée Fleming, Todd Palmer and others. In February 2007, Gordon's opera, The Grapes of Wrath, premiered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The opera was co-commissioned and co-produced by The Minnesota Opera and Utah Symphony & Opera, future performances are scheduled at Houston Grand Opera and Pittsburgh Opera in the 2008 season.
Gordon grew up on Long Island and attended Carnegie Mellon University. Donald Katz literally wrote the book Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America, based on Gordon's family life.
Gordon has three sisters; one of them, Susan Gordon Lydon, became a founding editor of Rolling Stone. Susan would tuck Ricky into bed at night by reading poems aloud, sparking his lifelong love of poetry. Gordon has set many poems to music, including works by Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and Jean Valentine, among others. He set several poems from What the Living Do, Marie Howe's moving collection detailing her brother's death from AIDS.
Gordon's work is available on several recordings. Audra McDonald, the sensational young theatrical diva, recorded several of his songs for her debut CD, Way Back to Paradise (1998). McDonald also appears on Bright Eyed Joy (2001), an impressive collection devoted to Gordon's songs, which features as well Dawn Upshaw, Adam Guettel, Theresa McCarthy, and other performers.
Jonita Lattimore, a lyric soprano of immense vocal range and expressive musicality, has garnered plaudits for her vivid portrayals of roles During the 2012-13 season she appeared in concert with the Oregon Symphony and Huntsville Symphony performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. In the 2013-14 season she performs Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Vermont Symphony and Verdi's Requiem with the Winnipeg Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and at the Kennedy Center with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC.
On the concert stage her recent performances have included Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and Nashville Symphony; Mozart's Requiem with the Vermont Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic; Bernstein's Songfest with the Chicago Sinfonietta; Rossini's Stabat Mater, Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, and Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem with the Grant Park Music Festival; and Verdi's Requiem with the Colorado Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Moab Music Festival, and Oakland East Bay Symphony.