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Chicago Fringe Opera leads with transgender coming of age story at Center

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Chicago — Now in its fourth year, Chicago's "alt-opera company" ( John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune )

Chicago Fringe Opera ( CFO ) announced its 2017-2018 season today. The company's mission is to produce

works composed in English, often from the twenty-first century, and brought to life in immersive,

site-specific and experiential settings. CFO produces two fully-staged productions each season with

additional recitals and special events throughout the year.

"For every piece we've done at CFO, we've been able to say to our audiences 'You've never seen anything like this'" says CFO Artistic Director George Cederquist. "This season pushes the art form of opera, our audiences and our ensemble of artists farther than ever. The results will be unique and unforgettable."

CFO's fall production is the Chicago premiere of As One, a joyful coming-of-age story about a transgender woman. The chamber opera is written for baritone, mezzo-soprano and string quartet, with music by Laura Kaminsky, libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, and an accompanying film by Kimberly Reed.

Director Amy Hutchison returns to CFO following her success at the helm of the company's production of Missy Mazzoli's Song From The Uproar last season ( about which Mazzoli said she was "moved and

impressed." ) Designers Ted Nazarowski and Shanna Philipson will collaborate with Hutchison.

CFO Guest Conductor Alexandra Enyart will collaborate with the members of Zafa Collective on a score

that The New York Times said "pulsates in a light post-Minimalism." Enyart is an orchestra and opera

conductor with a focus on new music. She began focusing on contemporary opera with Thompson Street

Opera Company where she is Music Director starting this season.

CFO's spring production is the world premiere of The Great God Pan by Chicago composer Ross Crean .

Scored for two pianos, the work is an adaptation of Arthur Machen's 1894 novella of the same name,

commonly recognized as one of the first horror novels in English. The opera was recorded earlier this year on the Navona Records /Naxos of America label.

The Great God Pan begins with a surgery gone wrong. Dr. Raymond invites Mr. Clarke to witness an

important experiment based in elements of non-traditional, ancient rituals. Raymond sacrifices his wife Mary as the subject of his attempt to access a higher spiritual plane — referred to as, "seeing the Great God Pan" — and unwittingly initiates a series of mysterious supernatural occurrences that Clarke encounters over the next few decades. Crean's ingenuity in composing the accompanying piano parts with the sounds of strumming and plucking combine to make the music that much more vibrant. ( Synopsis courtesy Naxos of America. )

CFO returns to the Chopin Theater for The Great God Pan , a venue which has hosted many of the

company's past productions, most recently its successful run of William Bolcom's Lucrezia . The Great God Pan runs March 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18, 2018.

CFO Artistic Director George Cederquist will collaborate with Crean and CFO Music Director and

Conductor Catherine O'Shaughnessy on this thrilling story of horror, gender and morality.

Other events during 2017-2018 include, a seasonopening celebration on Saturday, September 30, 2017 and CFO's annual Fringemas holiday concert on Monday, December 11, 2017. CFO's American Voices series

— recitals featuring the CFO ensemble singing contemporary music in English — continues throughout the year.

CFO also welcomes its new Executive Director Julia Hardin. An accomplished mezzo-soprano who sang the

role of Dinah in CFO's Spring 2015 production of Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti , Hardin brings considerable arts administration experience to the CFO family as it continues to expand its ensemble of artists and the reach of its productions.

Chicago Fringe Opera's mission is to perform works composed in English, often produced in immersive

settings and always featuring local artists. Over three seasons, CFO has become the definition of storefront opera in Chicago. The company's productions have twice received Newcity's "Top Five Operas of the Year", while its Fall 2015 production of Benjamin Britten's "The Turn of the Screw" was featured in The Wall Street Journal and on 98.7 FM WFMT.

Visit, or on Facebook, Twitter ( @chicagofringeop and

#operaspeaks ), and Instagram ( @chicagofringeopera ).

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