For the last thirteen weeks I have been writing briefly about each of the seasons that I spent with Chicago Opera Theater between September 5 1999 and August 30 2012. This was not intended to be a comprehensive history - rather a reminder to myself and my friends and colleagues of what a really good time we had, what a varied and largely successful program we produced, and how much we contributed to operatic life in the great city of Chicago. They were great years and I can not recommend Chicago too highly as a place to live and work! So if you get an offer accept it - you will not regret it.
Elizabeth Reiter (Pamina) and Markus Beam (Papageno) - COT September 2013
The last production for which I had personal responsibility was the Magic Flute which opened the 2012-13 season in September. As you know, I managed to get back to see it and was delighted that it proved such a hit with the public. It displayed many of the characteristics of the work that we tried to do over the years - an imaginative production by a gifted young director; the music in the superbly authoritative hands of a major musician - Steuart Bedford; and above all a carefully chosen young cast who could present the piece with freshness and un-jaded enthusiasm.
So that was all good. What saddens me, however, is that COT is suspending production for the remainder of the current season, and will just be presenting existing productions from Long Beach instead of fulfilling a vital part of its former mission to be a producer of first class work in Chicago. I understand that the September 2013 production of Verdi's Giovanna d"Arco will indeed be produced in Chicago. But it is the last remnant of the pre-existing plan, saved I guess because it was the "People's Choice" - voted for a couple of years back when we gave the public the opportunity to vote, one vote per $ donated, for an early Verdi opera to mark the composer's bicentenary year.
I will be back in Chicago for the performance of Maria de Buenos Aires on April 24. I am so looking forward to seeing my old friends there and it will be interesting to see the reaction of the Chicago public to the new approach. It will certainly be something different - that is maybe all good too!
I am glad to hear that COT's former Production Manager is in London - I hope to see him in the coming days. Meanwhile the sun is shining and it is getting colder.......