Chicago Opera Theater retrenchment raises questions

Thu Jun 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Patricia Racette wil star in a double bill in Chicago Opera Theater's 2015-16 season. Photo: Dario Acosta
Patricia Racette will star in a double bill in Chicago Opera Theater’s 2015-16 season. Photo: Dario Acosta

The murmurs about the fiscal shape of Chicago’s number two opera company will no doubt grow louder with Chicago Opera Theater’s announcement of a patchwork lineup for 2016.

The company is drastically cutting back its number of performances as well as its stagings. There is only one new show on tap alongside two previously announced events, one a “co-presentation” with the Harris Theater that has no direct COT input.

Though it was previously termed the final event of COT’s current season, the September staging of Mozart’s Lucio Silla is now being called the opener of its 2015-16 season.

New to the COT lineup is a double bill starring Patricia Racette. The popular soprano will star in Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi as well as Poulenc’s monodrama La Voix Humaine. There are just two performances February 6 and 14.

Finally, COT is piggybacking on an already announced Harris Theater event for its third show, a single performance April 6 of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas by the Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble

In an email, Andreas Mitisek said the company is not retrenching, but merely shifting to a traditional fall through spring schedule in order to simplify marketing and renewals.

Chicago Opera Theater presents Mozart’s Lucio Silla September 26-October 4.

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One Response to “Chicago Opera Theater retrenchment raises questions”

  1. Posted Jun 18, 2015 at 7:10 pm by Roland Buck

    It looks like Mitisek has finally discovered the hard way that there are not that many people in Chicagoland who are willing to sit through and be bored by very mediocre to all and out poor modern works COT has been presenting, and is adjusting to that reality.

    The only new program that COT is adding by itself consists primarily of one of the standards of romantic Italian Opera, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. An excellent work by a great composer, but not like the modern items he has been foisting on the audience.

    At least this season brings back the practice of presenting a baroque opera each year, even if it is not the COTs own effort. Let’s hope presenting a baroque opera each year becomes standard practice for the COT again.

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