Chicago Opera Theater announces innovative 2016-2017 season

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Stewart Copeland forteller før konserten med Alf Terje Hana og SSO

Flying high on several major gifts and grants from the MacArthur Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and philanthropists Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, Chicago Opera Theater (COT) has just announced plans for an exceptionally adventurous 2016-2017 season to be performed in its usual home (the Harris Theater for Music and Dance), as well as at the historic, newly restored Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, and at that local film mecca, the Music Box Theatre.

Andreas Mitisek, general director of Chicago Opera Theater. (Photo” Courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater)

Andreas Mitisek, general director of Chicago Opera Theater. (Photo” Courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater)

The goal of the season? “To cross traditional boundaries and bring new audiences to a classic art form.”

In an announcement made Monday evening at the Studebaker Theater, Andreas Mitisek, COT’s Stefan Edlis & Gael Neeson general director, detailed the ambitious new season that will bring rarely performed operas and a world premiere (including the company’s first commission, from Stewart Copeland, best known as drummer for the English rock band The Police, and the composer of many film soundtracks, and Philip Glass’ opera about Walt Disney) to a range of Chicago neighborhoods during its 43rd season.

An opera by Philip Glass about Walt Disney will be part of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2016-17 season. (Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater)

An opera by Philip Glass about Walt Disney will be part of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2016-17 season. (Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater)

In a prepared statement, Mitisek noted: “Thanks to generous funding from our donors, and the unwavering support of our loyal subscribers, this season we are able to showcase a collection of extraordinary works in exciting ways. We’re also proud to continue to bring audiences more of what is different by rethinking not only the operas we feature, and how they are staged, but also where they are staged, and how the combination of all those elements can transform the entire experience.”

The season will begin with a new staging of Frank Martin’s 1942 work, “Le Vin Herbe” (Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 and 9). Based on the “Tristan and Isolde” story, with a libretto by Joseph Bedier, this classic tale chronicles the relationship of two lovers and their unplanned but irrefutable love for each other. Emanuele Andrizzi will conduct and Mitisek will direct, with performances at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport.

Running Nov. 5, 11 and 13 at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan, will be “The Fairy Queen.” Composed in 1692 by Henry Purcell, the work takes its inspiration from the mystical masques of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It creates “the perfect world in which to explore relationships in a multicultural society, where love and human connection are brought forth through the whimsical and fantastical musical world of Purcell.”

An image from “The Fairy Queen,” the Purcell opera that will be part of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2016-17 season. (Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater)

An image from “The Fairy Queen,” the Purcell opera that will be part of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2016-17 season. (Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater)

The new year will bring the world premiere of “The Invention of Morel” (Feb. 18, 24 and 26, 2017 at the Studebaker), which is based on “La invención de Morel” by Adolfo Bioy Casares, and is COT’s first-ever co-commission, to be co-premiered with Long Beach Opera. Composed by Stewart Copeland, with a libretto by director Jonathan Moore, it will be conducted by Mitisek, “The Invention of Morel,” a futuristic love story that crosses time and space to bring two illusory lovers together, homes in on a hopeless man lost on a deserted island.

COT’s season will close with Philip Glass’ 2013 “The Perfect American”(April 22 and 30, 2017 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph). A fictionalized biography of Walt Disney’s life (adapted from Peter Stephan Jungk’s novel of the same name), this 2013 opera, filtered through the surrealist lens of Glass, melds delusions of the American Dream, immortality and an empire. It will be directed by Kevin Newbury and conducted by Mitisek.

Subscriptions to Chicago Opera Theater’s 2016-2017 season ($81 – $443) are now on sale. Call (312) 704-8414 or visit www.cot.org. Individual tickets will go on sale on a future date to be announced.

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