Advanced ticket reservations have SOLD OUT - but hundreds of Walk-Up Tickets remain! Walk-up tickets will be distributed on a first come first serve basis beginning at 5:00PM prior to each performance. Please note that 5:00PM is when COT will distribute the tickets. A line may form earlier than 5:00 and we encourage you to show up early. There is a 2 ticket maximum per person in line.
140,000 gallons of water are transformed into the River Styx for this imaginative retelling of the ancient myth about eternal love. Navigate the watery underworld with Orpheus as his clarinet soars, searching for his lost love, his only happiness. Join us in this moving, otherworldy experience!
This Chicago premiere of American composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus & Euridice is a partnership with the Chicago Park District's Classics in the Parks Series.
Is that why we are taught myth, so that later on when we need them, we can tell our own stories through them? Is that how they came about? At that moment in my life, it is as if, knowing this myth, and it's eruption inside me, saved me.Ricky Ian Gordon
Orpheus, God of music, happily tames the sentient world to bow at the grace of his music. The only thing missing in his life is a partner. One day he meets her, Euridice... so beautiful, she seems to float on a cloud. He becomes whole, complete, in love. Blissful even. Fate however, has other plans for him. She is cruelly taken from him, in my telling, by a mysterious virus, which robs her from him slowly and incrementally. He goes to the underworld to get her back. He has to prove his worthiness. A difficult plan is set in motion, maybe even, a trap. She will follow him back to the world, but he cannot look back or he will lose her. Unaware of the plan, she thinks he is ignoring her. At a particularly painful entreaty, he carelessly turns back to assure her. She disappears, forever. Grief stricken, his music becomes so sad that the creatures he used to bewitch become deranged by it. They tear him to pieces. Myth has it, that when his head is cast into the water, music springs from it...all music. His loss becomes the worlds gain.
Ricky Ian Gordon
“If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim…It’s caviar for a world gorging on pizza.”- New York Times
Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed and/or recorded by such renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Audra MacDonald, Kelli O’Hara, Nicole Cabell, Kristin Chenoweth, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Nathan Gunn and Frederica Von Stade. His opera The Grapes of Wrath debuted at Minnesota Opera and was seen in New York at Carnegie Hall. Other works include Orpheus and Euridice at Lincoln Center (OBIE Award); Green Sneakers at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Lincoln Center American Songbook Series; Rappahannock County (Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, University of Richmond, Texas Performing Arts); and the musicals Sycamore Trees at The Signature Theatre; My Life with Albertine at Playwrights Horizons and Dream True at the Vineyard Theatre.
He was a recipient of a Lincoln Center/ American Songbook Series concert devoted to his music entitled Bright Eyed Joy: The Music of Ricky Ian Gordon. It was written in the New York Times, “If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim…It’s caviar for a world gorging on pizza.”
He has been the guest of many festivals, universities and conferences doing master classes, teaching composition and being the composer-in-residence. He has received numerous honors including The Stephen Sondheim Award, The Helen Hayes Award, An Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie-Mellon University, the Shen Family Foundation award, grants from the NEA and The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award. He studied composition at Carnegie Mellon University.
Upcoming projects include the world premiere of an adaption of Sylvia Regan’s Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera, with a libretto by Bill Hoffman. Houston Grand Opera will premiere A Coffin in Egypt with Frederika Von Stade in the lead and Leonard Foglia adapting the Horton Foote play. St. Louis Opera will premiere 27 featuring Stephanie Blythe with libretto by Royce Vavrek. He is currently writing Intimate Apparel on commission for The Met, with Lynn Nottage as librettist doing the adaptation of her play. He has had numerous works recorded including Rappahannock County (Naxos), The Grapes of Wrath, My Life with Albertine, Dream True and Only Heaven (P.S. Classics), Orpheus & Euridice (Ghostlight), Bright Eyed Joy (Nonesuch), Once I Was, with soprano Stacey Tappan, Silver Rain, with soprano Nicole Cabell, Green Sneakers, with baritone Jesse Blumberg, and Flowers Pick Themselves, with soprano Melanie Helton, Piano Music of Ricky Ian Gordon, Bric-A-Brac and A Horse with Wings (all BGR). His work is published by Hal Leonard, Carl Fischer and Theodore Presser Music. Learn more about Ricky on his website.
Todd Palmer, Clarinet - Orpheus
Valerie Vinzant, soprano - Euridice
Matt Messina - Orpheus 2
Kate Smith - Euridice 2
Players - Curtis Bannister, Nathan Gardener, Kystal Mosely, Alison Stake
Metropolis String Quartet
Andreas Mitisek - Director/Production Design
Stephen Hargreaves - Conductor/Pianist
David Lee Bradke - Lighting Design
From ballet to opera to traditional art forms from around the globe, the Chicago Park District in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events presents the interdisciplinary Classics in the Parks series this fall featuring local companies in an eclectic interpretation of classical performances. Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals of the Chicago Cultural Plan. For more information, visit chicagoculturalplan.org.
For more information about your Chicago Park District, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call
(312) 742-PLAY(7529) or (312) 747-2001 (TTY).
City of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, Mayor
Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners
Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent & CEO
Having been involved in an array of creative and diverse artistic presentations throughout his career, he has appeared as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber music collaborator, educator, arranger, and presenter in a variety of musical endeavors around the world. He has appeared as soloist with many symphony and chamber orchestras including those of Houston, Atlanta, St. Paul, Cincinnati, Montréal, BBC Scotland, and has shared the stage with a variety of the world's most renowned artists and ensembles such as sopranos Kathleen Battle, Renée Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Heidi Grant Murphy, Dawn Upshaw; and the St. Lawrence, Brentano, Borromeo, Pacifica, Daedelus, Chiara, Lark and Ying string quartets. In addition to Gordon, Mr. Palmer has collaborated with numerous other composers including Thomas Adès, David Bruce, Christopher Rouse, Mason Bates, Ned Rorem, George Tsontakis, and Osvaldo Golijov. In regards to this evening’s performance, it was in 1997 that he commissioned Ricky Ian Gordon to write a short theatrical work for soprano, clarinet and piano - a companion piece to Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock. The piece Gordon finally created was Orpheus and Euridice, an hour long song cycle in two acts which was premiered in 2005 on the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center in New York City. Since this initial premiere, Palmer has performed it with variety of opera companies and presenting organizations around the US, seeing it grow and evolve into not only one of the major contributions to the clarinet and chamber music literature of the 20th Century, but a one-of-a-kind piece of music, theater, and dance for all performers involved.
American soprano Valerie Vinzant acclaimed by critics as “luminous” (New York Times) and "delectable" (Los Angeles Times) is a recent graduate of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist at the Los Angeles Opera. This season she returns to Chicago Opera Theater as Euridice in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice. Future engagements include Handel’s Messiah with the Alabama Symphony and Handel’s Semele with Pacific MusicWorks. 2012-13 brought triumphant returns to the roles of Agilea in Teseo with Philharmonia Baroque and Papagena in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with Chicago Opera Theater. She also sang the role of Bellante in Handel’s Almira with the Boston Early Music Festival and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. 2011-2012, she joined Chicago Opera Theater in new productions of Moscow Cheryomushki and Handel's Teseo. Ms. Vinzant also sang the role of La Charmeuse (Thais) at Opera Company of Middlebury. 2010-2011 season highlights included the title role in Mozart’s opera Zaide with Musica Angelica, Lidochka (Moscow Cheryomushki) with Long Beach Opera, and Williamson Girl in David Lang’s new opera The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. Her roles at LA Opera included Frasquita (Carmen), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Rosina in matinee performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Maestro Michele Mariotti, Drossel (Die Vögel), Ginevra Scotti (Die Gezeichneten),along with covering the roles of Asteria in Handel's Tamerlano and Woglinde/Waldvögel in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. She has appeared as a soloist with the L.A. Philharmonic in Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wing On Wing and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Maestro James Conlon in Rigoletto. Ms. Vinzant has been a Young Artist with Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Studio, Steans Institute at Ravinia, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Aspen Music Festival. She studied at Indiana University with her teacher Carol Vaness and earned her Bachelor's degree at Southern Methodist University.