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Articles tagged with: Chicago Opera Theater

‘The Perfect American’ at Chicago Opera: Portrait of Walt Disney, animated but imperfect

Apr 24, 2017 – 5:21 pm
Feature 1

Review: The Philip Glass-Rudolph Wurlitzer opera “The Perfect American” focuses on the last months of Walt Disney’s life as he agonizes over his impending death and looks back at his career and childhood, especially memories of his hometown, an idyllic Marceline, Mo., which clearly was the inspiration for Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland. In a production at the Harris Theater, it isn’t hard to see why Chicago Opera Theater was drawn to the work. ★★★

Chicago Opera Theater buffs up neglected jewel in high-tech staging of Bloch’s grand ‘Macbeth’

Sep 17, 2014 – 3:12 pm
Nmon Ford in title role of Ernest Bloch' 'Macbeth' at Chicago Opera Theater (Keith Ian Polakoff)

Review: When Swiss-born Ernest Bloch began to contemplate the creation of his first and only opera, “Macbeth,” he was an untested 25 and would turn 30 before his opus found footing at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. The opera then slipped into oblivion. What is surprising is how staggeringly good Bloch’s result is — for an opera that almost no one knows. ★★★

Off-beat coupling of works by Ullmann and Orff casts vibrant light on opera as intimate theater

Jun 6, 2014 – 9:36 am
The Harlequin (Bernard Holcomb) consults with Death (David Govertsen) in 'The Emperor of Atlantis.' (Liz Lauren)

Review: When opera is really working as theater, you tend to forget you’re listening to sung speech as you lose yourself in drama’s thrall. That’s precisely the effect in Chicago Opera Theatre’s potent evening of one-act rarities: Viktor Ullmann’s darkly surreal “The Emperor of Atlantis” and Carl Orff’s wry parable “The Clever One.” ★★★★

Ellington left his ‘Queenie Pie’ dream in scraps, and COT bucks odds in bid to make it whole

Feb 23, 2014 – 4:28 pm
Karen Marie Richardson is 'Queenie Pie' at Chicago Opera Theater 2014 (Liz Lauren)

Review: The Chicago Opera Theater and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra production of Duke Ellington’s late-in-life and largely unfinished Harlem street opera “Queenie Pie” became the casualty of an electrical fire that has temporarily shut down the Harris. The delay adds a footnote to the saga of frustrated restoration attempts that have dogged “Queenie Pie” and left its unfulfilled potential as much in limbo as ever. ★★

Muddling the stakes, Chicago Opera Theater drives one through the heart of Verdi’s ‘Joan’

Sep 28, 2013 – 4:52 pm
Joan of Arc struggles with the devil's emissaries in Verdi's 'Giovanna d'Arco' Chicago Opera Theater 2013 (Liz Lauren)

Review: Does the middling label “lesser,” in the habitually repeated rankings of Verdi operas, give presenters a green light to “fix” things that may not be broken? Stage director David Schweizer fell into that trap with the Chicago Opera Theater production of “Giovanna d’Arco.” From a musical standpoint, Verdi’s Joan of Arc opera was a stunning achievement by the 31-year-old composer. COT conductor Francesco Milioto got that. Schweizer, not so much. ★★

In Verdi’s rarely staged ‘Giovanna d’Arco,’ director sees image of modern fanaticism

Sep 19, 2013 – 3:56 pm
Joan of Arc, ca.1450-1500, oil on canvas, Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris

Preview: Chicago Opera Theater jumps into the Verdi bicentennial observance this weekend with its season opener, a relatively rare staging of the composer’s early “Giovanna d’Arco.” The stage has not generously embraced this odd riff on Joan of Arc’s life – and death. “It’s one of history’s most extraordinary, mind-bending true stories,” says stage director David Schweizer, “and the audience knows that. But the work is filled with rapturous music.”

Love, loss and broken souls framed in tangos: COT etches dolor of ‘María de Buenos Aires’

Apr 23, 2013 – 4:51 pm

Review: Bittersweet remembrance with a tango pulse hangs over the surreal mindscape of “María de Buenos Aires,” the operatic love story created – perhaps the right word is insinuated – by composer Astor Piazzolla and poet Horacio Ferrer, and staged with bold, evocative imagination at Chicago Opera Theater. ★★★★

This old ‘House’ a bit shaky as multi-Mitisek ushers in COT regime with goth Philip Glass

Feb 26, 2013 – 4:32 pm
Ryan MacPherson Roderick tormented by entombment of Madeline Fall House Usher Philip Glass Chicago Opera Theater 2013 cred Liz Lauren

Review: On paper this looks like a no-brainer: American opera’s most influential composer of the 20th century transforming a gothic horror tale by Edgar Allen Poe, the 19th century’s master of the macabre. You can almost taste the possibilities for sustained tension and terror. Goth drollery is needed, but COT’s twice-twisted tale meanders. ★★★

Chicago Opera picks another Queen for ‘Flute’ after visa flap dethrones new Irish sensation

Aug 28, 2012 – 4:03 pm
Chicago Opera Theater's "Magic Flute" gets a star change

Even queens get caught in red tape.

Chicago Opera lavishes style on Shostakovich comedy about romance — and finding a flat

Apr 18, 2012 – 10:35 am
Moscow Cheryomushki Dmitri Shostakovich feature image Sophie Gordeladze as Lusya Dominic Armstrong as Sergei Chicago Opera Theater credit Liz Lauren

‘Moscow, Cheryomushki.’ 4 stars!

From ‘naughty’ composer, young Baroque troupe gets a nice boost

Oct 11, 2011 – 4:50 pm
Wayward Sisters ensemble

It’s the phone call all struggling musicians hope for — the announcement of a competition prize complete with recording contract. For Wayward Sisters, a Baroque ensemble specializing in 17th-century music, the news lit up lines in Chicago and three other locales where its four members reside.