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A double bill spanning the life and career of opera’s premier bel canto composer, framed in the world of quintessential Italian cinema. Donizetti's first work and one of his last, both of which he never lived to see performed, are presented together as an exploration of love, fantasy, and the blurry lines between them.
Il Pigmalione embodies the classic story from Ovid's metamorphosis that would go on to inspire Shaw, Lerner, and Lowe.
Pigmalione, concerned he'll never find true beauty and love, sculpts his own ideal of it. Christening her Galatea, he falls madly in love with the statue and prays to the Goddess of Love to bring his creation to life.
A love triangle plunges the lives of Rita, a tyrannical café owner, and Peppe, her timid husband, into chaos. When her first husband, Gaspar, returns to retrieve the presumed dead Rita's death certificate to allow himself to remarry. Peppe sees an opportunity to escape Rita's' constant slaps, and so the two men agree to a game. The question isn’t who gets to marry her—it’s who gets to leave.
Il Pigmalione was Donizetti’s first opera, written at the tender age of 19 while he attended university. By contrast, Rita premiered in 1860—12 years after his death. He never saw either of them performed. Rita libretto by Gustave Vaëz.
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer, known for his contributions to the bel canto style of opera during the early-mid 1800s. His influence, and that of contemporaries like Rossini, Bellini, and Handel, can be seen through the history of music and opera.
Donizetti was born in Bergamo, Italy, and tutored under composer Simon Mayr. Mayr offered Donizetti a full scholarship at his school, training the young composer before placing him at the Bologna Academy. It was there that his first one-act opera, Il Pigmalione, was written when Donizetti was 19. He would go on to write nearly 70 operas, the majority of which were produced and presented in Naples. He was a resident composer at the Teatro di San Carlo before moving to Paris with the promise of greater prestige. He passed away from illness in April 1848.
Amy Hutchison has championed new American opera throughout her career. Her recent production of Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt for Chicago Fringe Opera was hailed as “imaginative” and “striking… contemporary music theater.” She has directed William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge for Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Washington National Opera and Portland Opera. Her collaboration with Ricky Ian Gordon and Stacey Tappan, Once I Was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon, was staged at the Chicago Cultural Center and recorded on the Blue Griffin label.
Her production of William Grant Still’s epic masterwork Troubled Island for South Shore Opera Company was named the number one classical music event of 2013 by Andrew Patner in the Chicago Sun-Times. Hutchison also directed: Joelle Lamarre’s The Violet Hour: A Voice of the Century, the Life of Leontyne Price; Jonathan Stinson’s The March: A Civil Rights Opera Project and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Dream Lovers and African Romances for South Shore Opera Company.
Miss Hutchison’s other local productions include Leo Fall’s Madame Pompadour for Chicago Folks Operetta, Ned Rorem’s Our Town for DePaul Opera Theatre and Brigadoon (Music By the Lake). Her productions nationwide include Il Matrimonio Segreto (Boston), Carmen (Kansas City, Milwaukee, Columbus), Turandot (Orlando), Don Pasquale (Indianapolis), La Traviata (Costa Mesa), and Help, Help, the Globolinks! (Madison).
She has served on the directing staffs of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera. She has staged the Maurice Sendak production of Hänsel und Gretel for Opernhaus Zürich, The Juilliard School (televised for PBS: Live from Lincoln Center) and for the Canadian, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Baltimore opera companies. As Associate Director, Hutchison has staged Porgy and Bess throughout the United States and globally, including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, L’Opéra National de Paris, Teatro La Fenice, and opera houses in Düsseldorf, Lucca and Tokyo.
Ms. Hutchison is a member of the faculty of The Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where she teaches Opera Workshop to Voice Performance majors.
A rising star in the younger generation of conductors, Francesco Milioto is forging a unique career as a versatile interpreter of both the operatic and orchestral repertoire. Praised for his energy and integrity on the podium, the Chicago Tribune has said, “Milioto presided with Bernsteinesque bravura".
Mr. Milioto enjoys relationships with a wide variety of ensembles, and cover/assistant conductor positions with several distinguished organizations. This season marked his successful debut with the Illinois Philharmonic, to which he will return this spring with an innovative student program featuring Beethoven’s fifth symphony. In November, Mr. Milioto stepped in at the last moment to conduct five education performances of Mozart’s Bastein and Bastienne with the Dallas Opera. He will also conduct the finals of the Emilio del Rosario International Piano Competition in Chicago this May. The 2017-18 season will see Mr. Milioto make his debut with the Arizona Opera conducting The Barber of Seville.
As a music director and guest conductor Mr. Milioto has thrived in Chicago and beyond. Over his fifteen years in Chicago he has claimed the title of Music Director to the New Millennium Orchestra, the Skokie Valley Symphony, the Highland Park Strings, Access Contemporary Music, and the Chicago Cultural Center Summer Opera. As a guest conductor he has amassed several critically acclaimed productions with Chicago Opera Theater and has collaborated with many professional local orchestras. His work with the New Millennium Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater were each named to the Chicago Sun-Times list of the “10 best performances of the year". Mr. Milioto is particularly proud of his work with the New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago, which he co-found in 2005. The NMO had an incredible range of repertoire, playing everything from classical music and opera to collaborations with jazz and hip-hop artists. His highly acclaimed work over ten seasons with both the Highland Park Strings and Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra ranged from early music to the most contemporary works, and often featured world-renowned soloists. As Artistic Director/Conductor of Access Contemporary Music, Mr. Milioto led the brilliantly vibrant ensemble Palomar, which has been featured on the radio and in performances throughout the city and abroad. He has also conducted successful productions with Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Southwest, Elgin Opera, and Opera on the James.
As a cover/assistant conductor, Mr. Milioto has flourished under world-class mentorship. He is currently in his fourth season at Lyric Opera of Chicago where he will work on productions of The Magic Flute and Eugene Onegin. Mr. Milioto has been fortunate enough to work closely with Sir Andrew Davis, and other luminaries, on several operas and concerts. Later this season Mr. Milioto returns to his hometown of Toronto where he will assist on a production of Tosca with the Canadian Opera Company. This summer will mark his third with The Santa Fe Opera, where he will work closely with Emmanuel Villaume on Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel. Following last summer’s success in Santa Fe with La Fanciulla del West, Maestro Villaume invited Mr. Milioto to assist him on the Dallas Opera’s revival of Moby Dick earlier this season. For 10 seasons Mr. Milioto worked with the Ravinia Festival as an assistant conductor, pianist, vocal coach and prompter being involved in over a dozen operas, and many concerts with such artists as Daniel Barenboim and James Conlon.