Chicago Opera Theater plans adventurous season with world premiere

Tue Mar 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Chicago Opera Theater will present the world premiere of Stewart Copeland's "The Invention of Morel" in its 2016-17 season.
Chicago Opera Theater will present the world premiere of Stewart Copeland’s “The Invention of Morel” in its 2016-17 season.

Chicago Opera Theater will present a bold and adventurous lineup in 2016-17, presenting a world premiere and expanding to a four-opera season for the first time under general director Andreas Mitisek’s tenure.

The company will also be breaking out of its traditional home at the Harris Theater with just one of its four shows being staged at the Millennium Park venue.

The sharp retrenchment of COT’s current season made some observers wonder about the state of the company’s fiscal health, but under Mitisek’s leadership the company appears to have weathered the storm. With a recent $800,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation along with other individual gifts, COT appears to be in a strong enough financial position to return to four season productions.

“Thanks to generous funding from our donors and the unwavering support of our loyal subscribers, this season we are able to showcase a collection of extraordinary works in exciting ways including our first ever commission,” said Mitisek in a released statement. “We’re also proud to continue to bring audiences more of what is different by rethinking not only the operas we feature and how they are staged, but also where they are staged and how the combination of all those elements can transform the entire experience.”

The season will open September 30 with Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbe, the Swiss composer’s individual retooling of the tale of Tristan and Isolde. Emanuele Andrizzi conducts and Mitisek will direct a production that will be performed at the Music Box Theatre.

Opening November 5 will be Purcell’s The Fairie Queen, which will be presented at the recently restored Studebaker Theatre in the Fine Arts Building.

On February 18, 2017, COT will present the world premiere of Stewart Copeland’s The Invention of Morel. The composer—best known as drummer for The Police—has based his opera on a tale by Argentinian writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, about a man alone on a desert island who conjures up an illusory love. The Copeland work is COT’s first co-commission and will also be performed at the Studebaker Theatre.

The season will close with The Perfect American by Philip Glass. The composer’s surrealist take on the life and influence of Walt Disney will be performed April 22 and 30 at the Harris Theater.

All casting is TBA. Subscriptions are now on sale. Go to or call 312-704-8414.

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One Response to “Chicago Opera Theater plans adventurous season with world premiere”

  1. Posted Mar 15, 2016 at 2:56 pm by Roland Buck

    Finally, with four operas, COT is finally bringing back its tradition of including a baroque opera as part of its repertoire. Having done that, Mitisek can present all the weird and bizzare avant-garde works he wants to for the remainder of the season for all I care.

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