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  WINDY CITY TIMES

FALL OPERA PREVIEW Operas cover love, lust and lesbians
by Aaron Hunt
2018-09-19

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Replete with princes in crowns, queens in leather, women in love and womanizers in lust, the start to this year's opera season is rich with traditional blockbuster, off-Loop revolutionaries and superstar voices. Don't know where to start? Here's a curated list of the best of the best operatic possibilities.

—Masque at Kenilworth/Trial By Jury: This double bill starts with a mythical visit by Queen Elizabeth I to Kenilworth Caste. Then two nearly married men ( tenor Joshua Louis Smith and countertenor Bruno Rivera ) fight it out in court over one's breach of promise. Transgressive Theatre-Opera's interactive, cross-gendering production promises champagne, a pride cake and leather! Running Sept. 21-22. Transgressive Theatre-Opera plays the auditorium at Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Info/tickets: brownpapertickets.com/event/3577726

—Patience & Sarah: A Pioneering Love Story: An artist and a farmer's daughter meet and fall in love in 1816 and escape mendacity to live freely in what we hope will be sexy bonnets and a covered wagon, going west. Jenn Cox, one of the most sought-after directors in Chicago's storefront opera scene directs the tale, imagined from a true story Cox described as, "complex, and very, very simple," with characters who are, "rich and flawed." It will run Oct. 5-31. Third Eye Theatre Ensemble at Theater Wit; thirdeyete.com/

—La Boheme: Slip into a tuxedo or strap on a ball gown and flaunt your opening night-drag at the first 2018/2019 season production of Chicago's answer to the international opera scene! Chicago-favorite soprano Danielle de Niese is Musetta, and handsome tenor Michael Fabiano makes his company debut as Rodolpho. It's the musical Rent with a full string section! It runs Oct. 6-Jan. 5. Lyric Opera of Chicago. Info/Tickets: lyricopera.org

—Idomeneo: A king, a prince and two princesses—who could ask for anything more? Internationally renowned, Evanston-born Matthew Polenzani returns in this Jean-Pierre Ponnelle-designed production, with Sir Andrew Davis on the podium. Such lyrical angst shall not be heard again. It will run Oct. 13-Nov. 2. Lyric Opera of Chicago; LyricOpera.org

—Don Giovanni: In the #MeToo era, the womanizing Don is a dangerous character to lionize. How to navigate it? Dress the enterprising Don in the suit of a Hollywood producer, add a starlet, a makeup artist, a photographer, a wronged wife … and the sparks start to fly, present-day. It'll run Nov. 9-11 at Petite Opera Productions plays the Mary Wilson House Beyer Auditorium at St. Mary's Episcopal Church. Info/tickets: PetiteOpera.org

—The Long Christmas Dinner: The 12-tone compositional theorist Paul Hindemith ( who, for better or for worse, influenced the next generation of composers ) set this opera to a libretto by Our Town's Thornton Wilder. A family's Christmas Dinner-dynamic is examined over a period of 90 years in this piece that skillfully asks more questions than it answers. It'll run Nov. 16-Dec. 1. Chicago Fringe opera plays the Studio Theater at Chopin Theater. Info/tickets: ChicagoFringeOpera.com

—Iolanta: Tchaikovsky, whose soaring music graces so many ballets, wrote magnificent tunes for the opera as well. In this woefully neglected gem, a blind princess must choose whether to embark on a purported cure that will restore her lover to her if it succeeds or bring about his death if it fails. Performed in the original Russian, this is not to be missed. It'll run Nov. 10-18; Chicago Opera Theater at The Studebaker Theater. Info/tickets: ChicagoOperaTheater.org

—Siegfried: Lyric continues an exploration of Wagner's Ring Cycle that will lead to a full production of all four operas in direct succession in 2020. Siegfried doesn't break a sweat in front of dragons, but when he battles the magic fire surrounding the sleeping Brunnhilde, he learns about both fear and love. Soprano Christine Goerke is sure to crack more glass in her ongoing stint as Bugs Bunny's beloved. It'll run Nov. 3-16 at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Info/tickets: LyricOpera.org

—Il Trovatore: Verdi's gut-wrenching pyrotechnics are on full display in this rollercoaster of a plot that includes a child-burning gypsy and the famous Anvil Chorus. What will all those burly blacksmiths be wearing during that striking tune? Just about nuthin', we hope. Running Nov. 17-Dec. 9. Lyric Opera of Chicago. Info/tickets: lyricopera.org

—When Adonis Calls: A handsome young fan begs a famous, blocked poet's reciprocation of literary correspondence, and the roaring eroticism of this exchange brings down multiple barriers. How carnal a love can leap from the page? This Chicago premiere stars baritones Jonathan Wilson and Nathan Kistler, and two male dancers. It's set to run Nov. 30-Dec. 9. Thompson Street Opera Company plays The Broadway Theatre at Pride Arts Center. Info/tickets: ThompsonStreetOpera.org


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