I am sorry, my trip to Somerset put off my weekly review of my 13 years in Chicago. But here goes - and I should be back on track for 2008 on Wednesday next week.
So in 2007 we had a season of Berlioz, Bartok, Monteverdi, and Schoenberg. Quite a line up! This was really a classic COT season as one might have envisioned it. We put together four little known masterpieces and gathered together some mighty fine casts. Very satisfying.
Béatrice et Benedict is a perfect jewel and Nicola Raab did a very beautiful job in revealing the literary and musical magic of the piece, with the considerable help of the conductor, Jan Latham-Koenig. It was a very happy production with a delicious young cast including Rinnat Moriah, Jurgita Adamonaytė, Matthew Worth and Joshua Bloom, in addition to the protagonists pictured above.
Samuel Ramey and Krisztina Szabo - Bluebeard's Castle COT 2007
The double bill of Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung was hardly new for me. This was the combo that I invited Robert LePage to undertake as his first venture into opera. It was a huge success in the Canadian Opera Company's 2002-2003 season. We took it to BAM as well as to the Edinburgh Festival in 2003 where is scooped the awards. So it made sense to bring it to COT. Erwartung had never been staged in Chicago, and Bluebeard not for more than 40 years.
Ken Cazan returned to COT to direct powerful productions of these two fascinating pieces, Alexander Platt presided over an unprecedentedly large (for us) orchestra, and we had three extremely fine singers in Sam Ramey, Krisztina Szabo and Nancy Gustafson.
Nancy Gustafson - Erwartung COT 2007
At last we completed our trilogy of Monteverdi's full length operas - with Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. The Paulus and Glover team returned of course, and with a new designer, the distinguished architect and passionate musician Rafael Viñoly.
What fun we had with this - another huge cast of extremely gifted singers, and the revelation of an extraordinary moving piece quite unknown to our audience. This was what we were about and we did it, if I may say so, with great distinction. It was a wonderful year. But it was expensive in spite of all the invisible and inaudible surgery we applied to the budgets. We were about to enter a dark financial future as the world fell apart the following year. But for now we were delighted that we had accomplished so much so well. Next week 2008 and a controversy!
Marie le Normand (Penelope) and Marc LeBrocq (Ulisse) - Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria COT 2007