- 16/17 Season
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February 18, 24 & 26 • 2017
The Studebaker Theater (410 S Michigan Ave)
Approx. 90 minutes, performed in English
"'Invention of Morel' a brilliant piece of musical surrealism, 4 stars"
"'Invention of Morel' deftly balances period charm with a contemporary sense of artificial reality. A most intriguing new work"
When a man has no hope, he has nothing left to lose. Time-bending love triumphs over convention in this futuristic story of love and desire. On a lonely island this sci-fi story redefines the limits of human connection and the power of love. Stewart Copeland, co-founder and drummer of The Police, sets this fantastical tale of the human heart to thrilling music for this co-world premiere with Long Beach Opera.
This world premiere opera is based on "La invención de Morel," a 1940 novel by the influential Argentine author, Adolfo Bioy Casares. The story for this opera does not live within the classic constructs of time and space, but instead explores powerful driving forces of human emotion: love, desire, and sacrifice. Composer Copeland jokes: "I've got a pretty clear idea of how music can drive emotion, which is why I'm so keen on opera — it's the most fun a composer can have with his clothes on."
An escaped fugitive arrives on an isolated, strange island. While exploring his surroundings, he observes a group of tourists and quickly realizes something is not quite right in this paradise. Intrigued yet wary of these eccentric visitors, he begins to fall in love with one--a strikingly beautiful woman. He discovers these visitors are here at the invitation of Morel, a mad scientific genius, for the unveiling of his latest mysterious invention. When his heart pulls him helplessly toward this beautiful woman he must ask himself how much he is willing to sacrifice to be with her.
We are thrilled to present a pre-opera VR experience for all COT patrons, experience included in ticket purchase. Take a scenic tour around the island from The Invention of Morel to feel the full atmosphere of the opera prior to the performance. Full details will come in your Performance Reminder email, or call our box office at 312.704.8414 if you have immediate questions.
Composer, Stewart Copeland, was the co-founder and drummer of the rock band The Police. His career includes the sale of more than 60 million records worldwide and numerous awards, including five Grammy awards. He has had commissions from and worked with many major cultural institutions including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the San Francisco Ballet Company, the Savannah Music Festival, the Brighton Festival and the Royal Opera House (London), among many others. He is the recipient of the Hollywood Film Festival's first Outstanding Music in Film Visionary Award, a Grammy nominee for his 2005 CD Orchestralli, and a 2003 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stewart Copeland has been responsible for some of the film world's most innovative and groundbreaking scores.
Created in 1998 by conductor, composer and trumpet virtuoso Stephen Burns, the mission of Fulcrum Point New Music Project is to be a Chicago leader of diverse new music by presenting multi-media performances, collaborating with innovative tech to support educational programs within Chicago Public Schools, as well as commissioning and recording fresh new works. Its programs are inspired and influenced by popular culture, including literature, film, dance, folk, rock, jazz, blues, Latin and world music. Through multi-disciplinary concert performances and educational programs, Fulcrum Point seeks to encourage audiences to make cross-cultural connections between new music, art, technology and literature, gaining greater insight into today’s diverse world. For more information on Fulcrum Point and its programs visit www.fulcrumpoint.org.
Andrew Wilkowske- when singing a “virile, sturdy Marcello” or a “garrulous yet endearing” Papageno- displays an engaging combination of musical talent and masterful stage presence. Notable engagements have included Ponchel in Silent Night with Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Philadelphia, and Cincinnati Opera; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Minnesota Opera; Emperor Overall in The Emperor of Atlantis with Chicago Opera Theater and Boston Lyric Opera; the Vicar in Albert Herring with Florentine Opera; Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore with Utah Opera; Bummerli in The Chocolate Soldier with Bard Summerscape; and La Rocca in Un giorno di Regno with Glimmerglass Opera. As Noah in the Minnesota Opera world premiere cast of The Grapes of Wrath, he was featured on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Wilkowske has participated in the Merola Opera Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist Program and the Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Program.
Lee Gregory is a gifted singing actor with a beautiful, warm, and ringing baritone voice. He has a wide and varied repertoire, and has quickly become known for his ability to embody his characters. This season, Mr. Gregory is Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I pagliacci and soloist in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins in a double bill performance with Virginia Opera; and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in A Little Night Music with Des Moines Metro Opera. His recent engagements include The Rehearsal Director in the world premiere of Bryar’s Marilyn Forever and the Captain in Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer with Long Beach Opera; William in Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher with Long Beach Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Nashville Opera; Silvio with Opera Omaha and Arizona Opera Richard Nixon in Nixon in China, the title role in Le nozze di Figaro and Leporello in Don Giovanni with Eugene Opera; Mercutio inRoméo et Juliette with Opera Columbus; and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm and Wilhelm in Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Acclaimed by critics as “luminous” (New York Times) and “delectable” (Los Angeles Times), Valerie Vinzant’s previous COT credits include Euridice (Orpheus and Euridice), Celia (Lucio Silla), Agilea (Teseo), and Papagena (Die Zauberflöte). Other operatic highlights include Agilea (Teseo) with Philharmonia Baroque, Fraarte (Radamisto) at the Palacio de Bellas Artes inMexico City, Bellante (Almira) with Boston Early Music Festival, Iris (Semele) and Amour (Orphee) with Pacific MusicWorks, and Zaide (Zaide) with Musica Angelica. At the Los Angeles Opera, she sang the roles of Frasquita (Carmen), Rosina (Il Barbiere Di Siviglia), Drossel (Die Vogel), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), and Ginevra Scotti (Die Gezeichneten).
Soprano Kimberly Eileen Jones is an alumna of the Ryan Opera Center with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her performances there include the slave girl, Margru, in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ Amistad, which was released nationally on the New World recording label. Kimberly performed the title role in this season’s The Fairy Queen. She also portrayed the feisty Olga in Fedora, Princess Xenia in Boris Godunov, and the spitfire Despina in Cosí fan tutte student matinee performances. With the Ryan Opera Center, she portrayed Laetitia in Menotti’s Old Maid and The Thief. Kimberly performed in Houston Grand Opera’s colorful production of the Magic Flute (Papagena), and reprised her role of Xenia in Boris Godunov. Also with Houston, she participated in their production of Porgy and Bess, as Clara. This tour graced the international stages of La Scala in Milan, the Bastille in Paris, and the Bunkamura in Tokyo, Japan. For her portrayal of Clara, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the NAACP Awards.
Barbara Landis performed as Zita in last season's COT production of Gianni Schicchi. She also received critical praise for the title role in Menotti’s The Medium with Chamber Opera Chicago, a role she sang for the composer in Spoleto, Italy. She can be heard on Cedille Records’ The Medium starring Joyce Castle with Chicago Opera Theater. Barbara performed in Germany and at the Britten-Pears School in England, where she sang Lucretia/The Rape of Lucretia, which was broadcast by the BBC. Signature roles include Carmen and Aldonze/Man of La Mancha throughout the Midwest, San Francisco, Colorado, and the Dominican Republic; Prince Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus, Katisha/The Mikado, Mad Margaret/Ruddigore, Ruth/Pirates of Penzance with Light Opera Works; and Azucena/Il Trovatore, Witch/Hansel and Gretel, Secretary/The Consul, Mother/Amahl and the Night Visitors, Erika/Vanessa, Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice, and Maria/The Sound of Music. Barbara adapted and performed an original musical, Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which toured to New York City, England, and Scotland including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Chicago tenor, Scott J. Brunscheen has recently been seen in productions of Haydn's L'isola disabitata with Haymarket Opera, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Donizetti's La Favorite at the Caramoor Festival and Britten's The Turn of the Screw and The Rape of Lucretia with Chicago Fringe Opera. As a young artist with Opera Theatre St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theater, Madison Opera, and the Caramoor Festival, his work encompassed opera and concert work spanning from Cavalli and Bach to Unsuk Chin and Philip Glass. Future engagements this season include productions with Chicago Opera Theater, Long Beach Opera, and Madison Opera.
Tenor Nathan Granner, a renowned solo and collaborative artist, has a “vibrant and flexible” voice (The Boston Globe) and “possesses utter control of a ravishing mixed head sound.” (Opera News) Upcoming engagements include performing as Rodolfo in La Bohéme with Opera San Luis Obispo, Triquet in Eugene Onegin with Spoleto Festival USA and Curly in Oklahoma with Ash Lawn Opera in addition to several operatic concerts with tenor Ben Gulley on tour. On the operatic stage, Mr. Granner has performed as Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, and Rodolfo in La Bohéme in performances with Lyric Opera Kansas City, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Tulsa Opera, Wolf Trap and Glimmerglass Opera. He is a founding member of The American Tenors, whose Sony Masterworks album reached the top five in the classical crossover charts.
Chicago native David Govertsen recently stepped in on short notice at Lyric Opera of Chicago where he "handsomely replaced the ill Peter Rose as the producer La Roche" opposite Renée Fleming and Anne Sophie von Otter in Capriccio. Mr. Govertsen also appeared on short notice as Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande with the Chicago Symphony under Esa-Pekka Salonen and as a soloist in James MacMillan's Quickening with the Grant Park Orchestra. A former member of the Ryan Center at Lyric, his other mainstage assignments have included roles in Die Zauberflöte, Boris Godunov, Werther, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Madama Butterfly, and Roméo et Juliette. He returns to Lyric this season as the Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and Priam in Les Troyens. Mr. Govertsen made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti.
Jonathan Moore is a London based, award winning actor, writer and director. As an actor he has played leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Co, Royal Court, Donmar, the Royal Exchange, Shakespeare’s Globe and on BBC TV and Radio. He has directed theatre and opera world premieres at the Almeida, Donmar, West End, Royal Exchange, Gate, English National Opera, Covent Garden, La Fenice in Venice and on TV among many others. He has directed world premieres by composers such as Turnage, MacMillan, Henze, Schnittke, Nyman, Stewart Copeland etc. His early work was sponsored by Joe Strummer of The Clash. He has collaborated with Ludovico Einaudi, members of punk band Killing Joke, on several projects with Industrial group Test Dept.,Reggae star Eddy Grant, Jazz pianist Uri Caine and the classical violinist Daniel Hope. A published playwright and librettist, his work has been performed at leading theatres including the Donmar, Royal Exchange, Gate, BBC TV, radio and internationally. Jonathan was asked by Mark Rylance to direct the large scale immersive project for over fifty performers: What You Will, a coproduction for Shakespeare’s Globe, The Cultural Olympiad and Mayor’s Office. This was followed by several subsequent Shakespeare projects. He is due to direct a large scale site specific immersive project for Ludovico Einaudi in Italy and a new opera project with Stewart Copeland. He is on the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He has had a Who’s Who entry since 2007 and was on the front cover of Time Out Magazine. He has spoken on the Arts at Oxford University, the London School of Economics and on several BBCTV and Radio arts discussion programmes. www.jonathanmooreuk.com
Mr. Mitisek has been the General Director of Chicago Opera Theater since June of 2012. He has also been Artistic and General Director of Long Beach Opera (LBO) since 2003. A native of Austria, he served as Artistic and music Director of the Wiener Operntheater from 1990 – 1997, the foremost contemporary opera company in Austria. Mr. Mitisek has conducted at the Wiener Volksoper, the Komische Oper in Berlin, the festival “Wien Modern”, the Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein, and others. He is also sought after as a guest conductor in North America, leading productions for the Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Vancouver Ope4ra, Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, amongst other. His work as director and designer for site-specific productions in parking garages, swimming pools, night clubs, and warehouses has become a successful hall mark of his work with LBO, and his first such production with COT, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, was critically and publicly acclaimed. He is dedicated to attracting new audiences to COT by exploring unorthodox venues and presenting new and rare works (a key attribute of his leadership at LBO). Mitisek has been named by Opera News as one of the 25 people that will be a major force in the field of opera in the coming decade. Mitisek was featured as a LA Tastemaker by LA Times Magazine in 2009, Arts Leader of the Year by the Long Beach Arts Council in 2009, and was highlighted as one of the “2012 People” by LA Weekly. Recent COT credits include: conductor, Thérèse Raquin; conductor, stage director and production designer, Maria de Buenos Aires; director and production designer, Orpheus and Euridice, La Voix Humaine & Gianni Schicchi; conductor, The Fall of the House of Usher.
Alan E. Muraoka, who has previously scenic designed Thérèse Raquin and Fall of the House of Usher for Chicago Opera Theater has worked in the entertainment industry as a production designer and art director for film and television as well as set designer for the stage, having been honored with 2 Emmy nominations and 3 Art Directors’ Guild Award nominations. Theatrical scenic designs have included the operas Our Town, Dead Man Walking, and the musical Oklahoma! for Central City Opera as well as critically acclaimed site specific productions for Long Beach Opera most notably of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice staged in an Olympic swimming pool. Film production design credits include Dirty Girl; BaadAsssss!; Edmond; Sex,Death and Bowling; and most recently the television series Maron for IFC. Art direction credits include Little Miss Sunshine, Ghost World, Ace Ventura-Pet Detective, The Specialist, Washington Square, Liberty Heights, and the television series NYPD Blue. www.alanmuraoka.com
Previously with Chicago Opera Theater: Maria De Buenos Aires. With Long Beach Opera: Van Gogh/Tell Tale Heart, The Paper Nautilus, Camella La Tejana, and Marilyn Forever. He has had productions with the Guthrie Theater, New York’s Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, the Los Angeles Opera, the Hollywood Bowl, and Atlanta's Alliance Theater. He is an Imagineer for the Walt Disney Company and theater faculty at UCLA. Recipient of the 2014 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award, the 2014 LA Drama Critics Circle Award, and the 2013 LA Weekly Award for best projection designs of the year. Adam is an MFA graduate of CalArts and a Projection Category member of USA829. adamflemmingdesign.com
Lighting designer David Martin Jacques returns to Chicago Opera Theater to design Jonathan Moore’s world premier production of The Invention of Morel. David previously designed COT’s productions of Therese Raquin and The Fall of the House of Usher. Mr. Jacques has designed for such notable theatres as The Royal Opera House; English National Theatre; Teatro la Fenice; Teatro dell’Opera Roma;Lyric Opera of Chicago; Teatro alla Scala; Teatro la Fenice;Maggio Musicale Firenza; Teatro San Carlo; Teatro Perez Galdos, Las Palmas; Teatro Lirico di Cagliari; Norwegian National Opera; New National Theatre of Tokyo; Welsh National Opera; Canadian Opera Company; Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía' in Valencia, Spain; Central City Opera; Opera Hong Kong; National Theatre of Beijing; and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Jacques also serves as Professor of Theatre and Head of Stage Design at California State University Long Beach. His book, The Musical Art of Stage Lighting Design, is now being used in several graduate and undergraduate stage lighting design programs.
Jenny Mannis is a Chicago based costume designer; she is thrilled to be designing at Chicago Opera Theater. She has designed the following selected productions. In Chicago: Hir, Domesticated (Steppenwolf). Soups, Stews and Casseroles, The Matchmaker, Teddy Ferarra, Venus in Fur, The World of Extreme Happiness, The Little Foxes (Goodman). Death of a Streetcar, Marjorie Prime, Isaac’s Eye, Days Like Today (Writers Theatre). Bruise Easy (ATC). Blood and Gifts (Timeline). New York (selected): MTC, Second Stage, MCC, Atlantic, Playwrights Horizons, The Public, Primary Stages, Play Company, Juilliard. Regional (selected): Guthrie, Cleveland Playhouse, Old Globe, Huntington, Hartford Theater Works, Barrington Stage, Two Rivers, Studio Theatre, Williamstown, Bay Street and Yale Repertory. Film: Beloved (Elevation Filmworks) and All Saints Day (Washington Square Films). MFA from Yale School of Drama (Lerman Fellowship in Design). Awards: nominated for Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel. www.jennymannis.com.
This opera is being commissioned by Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.
|Roger & Julie Baskes||The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation||The Seaver Institute|
|Gregory O'Leary & Patricia Kenney||Sage Foundation||Dennis & Suzanne Poulsen|
|Virginia Tobiason||Bill & Orli Staley|