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Chicago Opera Theater Announces 2021-22 Season


The season will kick off in September with Carmen. 

Chicago Opera Theater Announces 2021-22 Season

The Chicago Opera Theater has announced its upcoming 2021-22 season, including Bizet's beloved CARMEN in concert, featuring duo debuts by Jamie Barton and Stephanie Blythe; the family-friendly holiday delight BECOMING SANTA CLAUS by Mark Adamo; and a world premiere commission by Errollyn Wallen and Deborah Brevoort, QUAMINO'S MAP.

For detailed 2021/2022 Season information, please visit:

Single tickets go on sale August 1st. Subscriptions are available now. Learn more at


Music by Georges Bizét
Libretto by Henri Meilhac & Ludovic Halevy

Love triangles, jealousy, a notorious femme fatale - and some of the most enduring operatic tunes ever written.

This concert performance features superstar Jamie Barton in her hotly anticipated role debut as Carmen opposite the legendary Stephanie Blythe as her alter-ego Blythely Oratonio in a role that fits him like a glove: Don José!

Cast & Creative

Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Director: Joachim Schamberger

Carmen: Jamie Barton
Don José: Stephanie Blythe as Blythely Oratonio
Escamillo: Michael Sumuel

Thursday, September 16, 2021 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, September 18, 2021 @ 3pm

Harris Theater for Music and Dance
205 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601

Production Sponsor: Patricia Kenney and Gregory O'Leary

Becoming Santa Claus

Music & Libretto by Mark Adamo

A bratty elf Prince learns the meaning of family, love, and the true spirit of gift-giving.

In an Elven realm in the far North, Prince Claus is the son of a conflicted sorceress and a King who has vanished under mysterious circumstances. When Claus's uncles skip his 13th birthday party to greet a newborn, the boy recruits his elves to make the most spectacular toys ever created. Will he be able to out-dazzle the child the Three Kings have been sent to greet?

Cast & Creative

Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Director: Kyle Lang

Prince Claus: Martin Bakari
Queen Sophine: Nina Yoshida Nelsen
Ib: Leah Dexter

Saturday, December 11, 2021 @ 7:30pm
Friday, December 17, 2021 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, December 19, 2021 @ 3pm

Studebaker Theater
410 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

Quamino's Map

Music by Errollyn Wallen
Libretto by Deborah Brevoort

A story about the enduring pull of freedom - and the ends to which people will go to achieve it.

Juba Freeman arrives in London after winning his freedom from slavery by fighting for the British in the Revolutionary War. Thrown headfirst into British society, he meets Amelia Alumond, a member of the British Black gentry, and reconnects with other ex-slaves who are struggling to build new lives for themselves as free men. Inspired by historical events, the opera sheds a light on a forgotten corner of history - and challenges current assumptions of what life was like in 18th-century London for a person of color.

Cast & Creative

Conductor: Jeri Lynne Johnson
Director: Kimille Howard
Dramaturg: Cori Ellison

This story is loosely inspired by the novel Incomparable World by S. I. Martin, who serves as Historical Consultant for this project.

Juba Freeman: Curtis Bannister
Amelia Alumond: Flora Wall
Quamino Dolly: Damien Geter

Saturday, April 23, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Friday, April 29, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, May 1, 2022 @ 3pm

Studebaker Theater
410 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

Production Sponsor: Virginia Tobiason
Commission Sponsor: The Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc.

The Beekeeper

Music by Wang Lu
Libretto by Kelley Rourke

A couple's emotional journey is reflected in the nature surrounding them.

Noah and Phoebe leave the city when he inherits his grandparents' orchard. The young couple dreams of the life they will create together, but they are unprepared for what lies ahead. In addition to the never-ending demands of the house and the land, Noah is haunted by memories of his last visit to the orchard, many years ago.

COT invests in expanding the American operatic canon by developing brand-new operatic works and training promising composers in a two-year residency that culminates in the performance of their first opera.

Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer Wang Lu has been paired with librettist Kelley Rourke and dramaturg Kate Pitt; she has been mentored by Vanguard Artistic Director Lidiya Yankovskaya and Vanguard Composer Mentor Jake Heggie.

March 4, 2022 @ 7:30pm

Studebaker Theater
410 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

The Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer Residency is supported by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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