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:

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.

Chicago's own Baroque Band will be the orchestra for Medea. This period-instrument orchestra has been hailed by critics and audiences and has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting period-instrument ensembles in the United States.

Justin Way, who is directing Jason, returns to COT in 2011 to direct Medea. His other work with COT was the critically triumphant Orlando in 2008 and the audience favorite Abduction from the Seraglio in 2006. Mr. Way just finished a run of La bohème at the Minnesota Opera and earlier this year directed Carmen at the Canadian Opera Company.

The final production of the 2011 Spring Festival Season is called "HE/SHE" and includes two dramatic song cycles about obsessive love: 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).

The 2011 People's Opera winner, Shostakovitch's Moscow, Cheryomushki, will be postponed to the fall of 2011, and will be a part of Chicago Opera Theater's 2011-12 Season, which will include one opera in the fall and two operas in the spring.

"COT, in common with so many performing arts companies, must adjust to some harsh economic realities. We are therefore postponing the production of Shostakovich's Moscow, Cheryomushki to September of 2011. It will be replaced in the spring of 2011 with a fascinating double header," said General Director Brian Dickie. "I believe that it will be most intriguing for music lovers to see these two masterpieces of the song repertoire fully staged. The evening promises to be a passionate night at the theatre."

The Diary of the One Who Disappeared will star Joseph Kaiser, last seen to rave reviews in Chicago Opera Theater's Béatrice et Bénédict. The New York Times observed of his Metropolitan Opera debut in Roméo et Juliette that, "Mr. Kaiser has an ardent, youthful and warm tenor voice. His performance was enriched by his keen musical intelligence and elegantly stylish phrasing. Tall, handsome and agile, he has an appealing stage presence." This summer he will be singing Admete in Gluck's Alceste at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

The production will be directed by Lillian Groag, returning to Chicago Opera Theater after acclaimed productions of Dido and Aenas (2006), La Resurrezione (2005), and Agrippina (2003). The Chicago Tribune said of Dido and Aeneas, "Lillian Groag is back at Chicago Opera Theater, once more proving that old opera can, in the right hands, deliver a bracing shock of the new."

The pianist for both pieces is the distinguished accompanist Craig Terry. He has performed with such esteemed vocalists as Sir Thomas Allen, Christine Brewer, Eric Cutler, Joyce DiDonato, and Patricia Racette.

Designer Peter Harrison returns to COT after his acclaimed work on Owen Wingrave in 2008. He also designed the exquisite Death in Venice for Chicago Opera Theater in 2005.

Chicago Opera Theater performs at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park - 205 East Randolph Drive.

Season Subscriptions for the 2011 Spring Festival Season, which include a ticket to all three operas, range from $85-$310 for new Subscribers and $76-$295 for current 2010 Subscribers who renew by July 30, 2010. COT also offers a 50% discounted student rate in most sections.

The Chicago Opera Theater is located at 70 E Lake St Ste 815 in Chicago, IL. Subscriptions are available now by phone at 312.704.8414. They will be available online at starting in mid-April. Individual tickets to each production will go on sale in early 2011.

Founded in 1974 by Alan Stone, Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, outreach, education and young artist programs.

Since Brian Dickie's appointment as General Director in 1999, COT has evolved as an opera company that is young, fresh, and colorful - an image well suited to its surroundings at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

Related Articles

Chicago THEATER Stories | Shows  Like BWW Chicago  Follow BWW Chicago

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...