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"It's A Midsummer Night's Dream, but not as you know it" -The Guardian
“The course of true love never did run smooth.” This reimagination of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in a sultry Las Vegas nightclub dubbed ‘Club Fairy Queen’, is an edgy and hilarious examination of the messes mere mortals make of relationships. The iconic Culture Clash troupe and COT’s Andreas Mitisek have updated this baroque classic. In contrast to this updated opera, the Haymarket Opera Company will be performing using period instruments conducted by Jory Vinikour.
Ron and Tanya, known to some as Oberon and Titania, are preparing to throw a party to celebrate Ron’s birthday at Club Puck in sultry Las Vegas. The party planning comes to halt when Tanya discovers Ron flirting with one of the club’s dancers. In a haphazard attempt to fix the blunder, Puck (the fiendish club owner) offers Ron a mysterious juice from a cactus flower to renew Tanya’s love. The concoction does as promised, but cupid’s arrow has missed its mark. The magic potion finds its way into several unwitting hands causing lovers’ eyes to wander, lines of sexual orientation to blur, and hilarious chaos to arise. Shakes, a drunken poet, stands readily by to trade his sonnets for drinks and give his unsolicited advice to the lost lovers.
The orchestra will be be composed of the Haymarket Opera Orchestra (HOO) "marries modern vivacity to period color and rhythmic subtlety" (Chicago Tribune) and is recognized nationally for its "lovingly detailed period performance" (New York Times). Music Director Craig Trompeter and Concertmaster Jeri-Lou Zike bring together the best of American period instrument specialists to perform modern-day premieres of Age of Enlightenment masterpieces. Since its debut performances of Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in 2011, Haymarket Opera Company has been consistently praised as a premier ensemble and opera company, offering "breathtakingly precise" performances (Chicago Classical Music). HOO makes its European festival debut in January, 2017 at the Valletta International Baroque Festival, Malta. Haymarket takes its name from both the Haymarket Theater in London where Handel premiered his Italian operas, and closer to home, the late 19th-century Haymarket Affair in Chicago that gave birth to the worldwide labor movement. www.haymarketopera.org.
This performance be run approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with one intermission and will be sung in English.
Henry Purcell was one of the greatest English composers, flourishing in the period that followed the restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period. He spent much of his short life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist and singer. With considerable gifts as a composer, he wrote extensively for the stage (particularly in a hybrid musico-dramatic form of the time), for the church, and for popular entertainment. He was a master of English word-setting and of contemporary compositional techniques for instruments and voices. He died in 1695, a year after composing funeral music for Queen Mary.
Purcell wrote only one full opera, a short work supposedly designed for a girls’ school. The tragic story of Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, has a perfection of its own. Dido’s final lament, before she kills herself, follows the model for such compositions established by Monteverdi 80 years before. Other stage works by Purcell are in the hybrid form now known as semi-opera, combining spoken drama with a musical element that in the concert hall may be performed apart from its wider dramatic context. These semi-operas include King Arthur, with a text by the poet John Dryden, a work that includes fascinating music for a chorus of cold people, frozen by the Cold Genius but thawed by the power of Love. Purcell provided incidental music, dances and songs for a great many plays, including Aphra Behn’s Abdelazar or The Moor’s Revenge, a rondeau from which provides the theme for Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
Chicago Opera Theater is thrilled to be part of the reopening of this historic Chicago landmark. Originally built in 1898 for vaudvillian performances it expanded in the 1920s to larger productions. In the 1970s the theater was converted into a movie theater and in 2000 was closed. With a rich history and new owners this theater has been completely renovated from seats to stage and we are thrilled to become part of their story.
850 events across the city.
1,000 artists from around the globe.
60 of Chicago's cultural institutions.
1 yearlong celebration.
Possessed of a rare high-tenor voice and a winning stage persona that comfortably embraces both comedic and dramatic roles, Marc Molomot enjoys an international career in opera and on the concert stage. Recent highlights include performances at Opéra Toulon and Paris's Opéra Comique in the role of "Adolphe de Valladolid" in Offenbach's Les brigands (led by conductor François-Xavier Roth). He was also featured as "Le Fils" in Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias under the direction of Ludovic Morlot at Opéra de Lyon and in Paris at Opéra Comique.
Cedric Berry, Award winning Bass Baritone whose experience spans Opera, Broadway, American Song Book, jazz and gospel, has performed with Los Angeles Opera, The Industry Opera, Long Beach Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival of Finnland, Banlieurs Bleues Festival of France and the Ravinia Music Festival, to name a few. He has appeared with Pacific Symphony, Arizona Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Luckman Jazz orchestra, Pasadena Pops Orchestra, California Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Telemann Chamber Orchestra of Japan. He has also been the recipient of several awards including first place in the Metropolitan Opera Western Region Competition. Notable recent engagements include the lead role of Kublai Khan in Invisible Cities, an opera which was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. For more information visit www.cedricberry.com.
Roberto Perlas Gomez has performed over ninety roles with many of the international and regional opera companies throughout the United States. He sings many standard leading baritones roles in Italian and French opera especially his signature role, Figaro in Il barbiere. He performed Rizal in Manila during the centennial year of the Philippine national hero and Marcello in La Boheme in Shanghai. Mr. Gomez made his European debut at the Arena di Verona as Chou en-lai in Nixon in China. Other roles include Vivaldi's Motezuma and The Emperor of Atlantis.
Ryan Belongie has recently made his debuts with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company. In concert he has appeared with Alabama Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Music of the Baroque, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Utah Festival Opera and Utah Symphony. Recent engagements include Agrippina (Ottone) with West Edge Opera, Angel Heart opposite Frederica Von Stade with Festival del Sole, and return engagements with San Francisco Opera and Canadian Opera Company. Career highlights include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon) with Wolf Trap Opera, Theodora (Didymus) with Opera Bergen, Norway, and Xerxes (Arsamene) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Ottone) with West Edge Opera. Mr. Belongie is a graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowships at San Francisco Opera, and has been the recipient of numerous competition prizes and career grant awards from the Metropolitan Opera among others.
Alexandra Martinez-Turano, soprano, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Alexandra has performed the roles of Sandrina, Pamina, Adele, Anna, Julie Jordan, and Suor Genovieffa. She has performed with Opera Southwest, Landmark Musicals, University of New Mexico's Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra, University of Southern California Opera Theater, and the La Mirada Symphony amongst others. She made her European debut in the summer of 2012 with the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy singing the role of Suor Geniovieffa in Suor Angelica. Alexandra recently graduated from University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music with a Masters of Music degree. She will be joining the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University's Professional Diploma in Opera Studies program. Furthermore, Alexandra is thrilled to join Chicago Opera Theater as a Young Artist in the fall of 2016.
Darryl Taylor's performances have been noted for their compelling artistry and authority. His is an international career highlighted by performances of art song, opera and oratorio. Recent performance highlights include singing the title role in Phillip Glass' Akhnaten for Long Beach Opera; L.A. Opera’s groundbreaking production of Dido and Aeneas; Pergolesi and Vivaldi Stabat Mater with Lyra Baroque Orchestra of St. Paul, Minnesota; performances with the Carmel Bach Festival; the Bach Collegium San Diego under Richard Egarr, and performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Founder of the African American Art Song Alliance, his recordings on Naxos and Albany record labels have received lavish praise. Complete Solo Cantatas by Rosanna Scalfi Marcello was a Critic's Choice for Opera News this year. www.darryltaylor.com
Culture Clash is Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza. Their works range from comedic sketches to full-length plays and screenplays, all of which feature political satire and social satire. The troupe's members have appeared separately and together in several films and received numerous awards, commissions and grants. In 1993 they filmed 30 episodes of a sketch comedy television series, also called Culture Clash. Some of them were aired on Fox affiliates. In 2006 they premiered two new full-length plays, the comedy Zorro in Hell and "SF: The Mexican Bus Mission Tour with CC!" Their works have been collected in two volumes, Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy and Culture Clash in AmeriCCa: Four Plays. Their papers are housed at the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Oviatt Library.
Two time Grammy® Award nominated harpsichordist Jory Vinikour is recognized as one of the outstanding musicians of his generation. A highly diversified career brings him to the world's most important festivals and concert halls as recital and concerto soloist, and partner to several of today's finest artists. Born in Chicago, Jory Vinikour studied in Paris with Huguette Dreyfus and Kenneth Gilbert on a Fulbright scholarship. First Prizes in the International Harpsichord Competitions of Warsaw (1993) and the Prague Spring Festival (1994) brought him to the public's attention, and he has since appeared in festivals and concert series throughout much of the world. Jory's debut recording for Sono Luminus, the complete harpsichord works of Jean-Philippe Rameau, was nominated for a Grammy® award, in the category of Best Classical Solo Instrumental Recording in 2013, an honor also accorded to his Toccatas (Contemporary American works for harpsichord) in 2015.
In recent seasons, Mr. Vinikour has appeared as conductor/soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Musica Angelica, Korea Chamber Orchestra, musicAeterna, Juillard415, Alabama Symphony, Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra. He will direct Handel's Agrippina for West Edge Opera, Purcell's Fairy Queen for Chicago Opera Theater, and John Blow's Venus and Adonis and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for Florentine Opera. Jory Vinikour is Artistic Director and co-founder of Great Lakes Baroque in Milwaukee.
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.
Roger & Julie Baskes
Gregory O'Leary & Patricia Kenney
Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.