Critic’s Choice

Fri Feb 09, 2018 at 2:33 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Kevin Puts

Kevin Puts

American opera continues to be MIA on the main stage of Lyric Opera following this week’s announcement of the company’s 2018-19 season. (Will Chicago audiences ever get a chance to hear Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick?)

Fortunately, Chicago Opera Theater continues to carry the torch for homegrown opera on the local scene. On Saturday night, COT opens its production of Elizabeth Cree, composed by Kevin Puts (with a libretto by Mark Campbell), winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in music for his opera, Silent Night. Based upon the novel by Peter Ackroyd, Elizabeth Cree charts the milieu of 1880 London and several singular characters–notably, the title music-hall performer and her husband John Cree, an apparent Jack the Ripper-like serial killer, who intermingle with real-life personages such as Karl Marx and novelist George Gissing. Katherine Pracht portrays Elizabeth in this Chicago premiere, with Christopher Burchett as John, and Richard Troxell and Levi Hernandez in the supporting cast; Geoff McDonald conducts.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and February 16, and 3 p.m. February 18 at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan. 

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One Response to “Critic’s Choice”

  1. Posted Feb 10, 2018 at 12:55 pm by Jeff Stewart

    Thank you COT for your courage to do modern opera, especially this production of Elizabeth Cree. The operas of Puts, Gordon, Mazzoli, Glass, Higdon, Heggie, etc. must be presented by all the opera companies. We can’t attract new audiences with the worn out, overproduced war horses. At the Met District auditions Feb. 3, very few of the 26 young singers listed arias by current or newer American opera composers. This is troubling. Keep up the good work COT.

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