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THREE DECEMBERS & More Set For Chicago Opera 2010 Season

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General Director Brian Dickie announces Chicago Opera Theater's 2010 Spring Festival Season: Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, featuring Frederica von Stade; the 2008 People's Opera winner: Rossini's Mosè in Egitto; and the Chicago professional premiere of Francesco Cavalli's Giasone.

The 2010 Spring Festival Season runs April 17 through May 16 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

"We couldn't be more honored to have Frederica von Stade perform with Chicago Opera Theater," said Brian Dickie. "And I have wanted to bring one of Jake Heggie's chamber operas to COT since I first heard At the Statue of Venus at a private read-through in San Francisco a few years back. To have them both here is a real coup, not only for Chicago Opera Theater but also the city of Chicago!"

Jake Heggie's Three Decembers opens May 8, 2010 and stars Frederica von Stade as Madeline, a famous actress struggling with her relationships with her two grown children (played by Sara Jakubiak and Matthew Worth, who is singing the title role in COT's upcoming 2009 production of Owen Wingrave). This moving chamber opera has a libretto by Gene Scheer, based on an original play by Terrence McNally.

Frederica von Stade is described by the New York Times as "one of America's finest artists and singers," The mezzo-soprano has enriched the world of classical music for over three decades and her career has taken her to the stages of the world's great opera houses and concert halls. Notable Chicago performances include Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (1987 & 1991) and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia (1989 & 1994) - both at the Chicago Lyric Opera.

Jake Heggie is one of the most talented composers today, creating such works as Dead Man Walking, The End of the Affair and At the Statue of Venus, which was presented at COT's 2006 Spring Gala. Heggie opens the world-premiere of Moby Dick at the Dallas Opera in April 2010.

Jake Heggie will join the orchestra at the piano for each performance of Chicago Opera Theater's Three Decembers.

The production is conducted from the piano by Stephen Hargreaves and directed by Leonard Foglia, known for his great work on Broadway including last year's Thurgood and Terrence McNally's Master Class.

In addition to Three Decembers, Frederica von Stade and Jake Heggie will also present a one-night-only recital performance on May 10 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. Accompanied by Jake Heggie, Ms. Von Stade will sing a program of Heggie's own works, as well as Copland, Hammerstein, Sondheim, Bernstein, and Bizet-just to name a few! This farewell concert will be Ms. von Stade's final recital before her retirement and is offered exclusively to 2010 Subscribers!

Opening the 2010 Spring Festival Season on April 17 is the winner of the 2008 People's Opera: Gioacchino Rossini's Mosè in Egitto. In April 2008, Chicago Opera Theater launched the first fundraising initiative of its kind-The People's Opera-in which the public voted, dollar by dollar, to choose one of the operas in the 2010 season. The People's Opera raised over $40K for Chicago Opera Theater.

Mosè in Egitto was last seen in Chicago during another historic presidency: Abraham Lincoln's! Presented only once in Chicago in 1863 at McVicker's Theatre in the Loop, this epic opera recreates the well-known story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt.

The production will be led by Leonardo Vordoni, an up-and-coming conductor known for his specialty in Italian repertory, who has conducted most recently with Wexford Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Orlando Opera. The director will be Andrew Eggert whose production of Bizet's La Tragédie de Carmen for Chicago Opera Theater will open on May 2, 2009. Andrea Concetti will sing the title role of Mosè-he made his La Scala debut last season in the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi's Teneke.

Francesco Cavalli's Giasone is the second opera of the 2010 Spring Festival Season-and the first opera in Chicago Opera Theater's presentation of three Baroque masterpieces in the next three seasons. This Baroque "trilogy" will be devoted to the exploration of three operas with Medea as a central character: Giasone by Francesco Cavalli presented in 2010, Médée by Marc-Antoine Charpentier presented in 2011, and Teseo by George Frideric Handel presented in 2012. These magnificent works will be produced for the first time in Chicago (Giasone as a first by a professional company) and all three will be led by conductor Christian Curnyn, a rising star in the field of early music.

"I want to introduce to the Chicago opera audience three wonderful operas which are linked through the character of Medea and are representative of the finest work of three great masters - two of which, Cavalli and Charpentier, are pretty well unknown here in Chicago," said Brian Dickie. "This three-year commitment represents our dedication to bring to Chicago a wide opera repertoire, including the long-neglected Baroque operas."

Christian Curnyn founded the Early Opera Company, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of Baroque opera using period instruments. In the fall of 2008 he made his English National Opera debut conducting a new production of Handel's Partenope-which won the Olivier Award (UK) for Best New Opera Production. In April 2009, he is conducting performances of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, also at the English National Opera.

Directing Giasone is Justin Way. This will be his third production with Chicago Opera Theater after his triumphant Orlando in 2008 and the audience favorite Die Entführung aus Dem Serail in 2006.

Sasha Cooke, playing Medea, sang the role of Kitty Oppenheimer in John Adams' Doctor Atomic to rave reviews at the Metropolitan Opera in 2008. Grazia Doronzio, who sings Isifile, recently made her Met debut as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto.

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

Season Subscriptions for the 2010 Spring Festival Season range from $90-$345 which include a ticket to all three operas. Renewing subscribers receive an Early Bird discount if they renew by July 1, 2009. COT also offers a 50% discounted student rate in most sections. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 312.704.8414. For more information, go to ChicagoOperaTheater.org.

2010 Spring Festival Season

Gioacchino Rossini
MOSÈ IN EGITTO
April 17, 21, 23 at 7:30pm; April 25 at 3pm

Conductor: Leonardo Vordoni
Director: Andrew Eggert

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Francesco Cavalli
GIASONE
April 24, 28, 30 at 7:30pm; May 2 at 3pm

Conductor: Christian Curnyn
Director: Justin Way

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Jake Heggie
THREE DECEMBERS
May 8, 12, 14 at 7:30pm; May 16 at 3pm

Conductor: Stephen Hargreaves
Director: Leonard Foglia

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Three Decembers, An Opera in Two Acts. Music by Jake Heggie. Libretto by Gene Scheer. Based on "Some Christmas Letters", an original play by Terrence McNally. Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera & San Francisco Opera. Premiered by the Houston Grand Opera, Feb. 29, 2008. .

 


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