Pictured above is a scene from Robert Ward’s Roman Fever, an opera that was performed during last year’s OperaFest in the Auditorium’s 10th floor library by CCPA student opera singers Libby Quam, Teaira Burge, Pamela Torrey and Melissa Adene Tegeler.
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–October 26, 2015. A world premiere and two Chicago premieres are among a rich program of operas that will be performed in Chicago on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 as Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) presents its eighth annual OperaFest extravaganza.
Staged annually in historic spaces in the University’s landmark Auditorium Building in downtown Chicago at 430 S. Michigan Avenue, OperaFest is a rare opportunity to hear some of the region’s most promising young singing actors in an afternoon of unique operatic works, including this year three that are new to Chicago.
The world premiere of Connla and the Fairy Maiden by Roosevelt student composer Heidi Joosten and two Chicago premieres of Cabildo by American composer Amy Beach and A Flourish of Green by Missy Mazzoli and librettist Mark Campbell are among the highlights of this year’s OperaFest. Performances take place next weekend beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 and Sunday, Nov. 1.
“We’re proud once again to give Chicagoans a chance to see and hear our emerging singers as they perform a wide variety of repertoire in one of the city’s most beloved buildings,” said Andrew Eggert, head of Roosevelt’s Opera Program.
This year’s OperaFest will be unique as it features for the first time an opera composed by a CCPA student composer whose piece was competitively selected for staging by CCPA’s Voice and Composition programs.
“Our goal is to give our student composers the opportunity to write operas and our student singers the chance to work closely with a composer,” said Eggert.
This year’s world premiere, the student work Connla and the Fairy Maiden by Heidi Joosten is a contemporary version of an Irish fairy tale, with a female main character instead of the traditional male lead, proclaiming a message of female empowerment. Cabildo tells the story of a pirate imprisoned in New Orleans while the city was the seat of the Spanish government during the War of 1812. The work’s unpublished score was exclusively provided to CCPA for its Chicago premiere by the MacDowell Foundation and the MacDowell Artist’s Colony where Amy Beach wrote this, her only opera. Commissioned and developed by Opera Philadelphia and the Curtis Institute as part of Opera Philadelphia’s Composer in Residence Program, Missy Mazzoli’s A Flourish of Green is also a Chicago premiere, a mini-opera inspired by one of the stories in Boccacchio’s The Decameron. Rounding out the OperaFest program are: Gluck’s The Reformed Drunkard; Milton Granger’s Bluebeard’s Waiting Room; Bohuslav Martinu’s Comedy on the Bridge; and Thomas Pasatieri’s The Women.
OperaFest is a free annual festival that features young artists from the CCPA-Chicago Opera Theater Professional Diploma in Opera program and CCPA graduate students in voice and piano performance. CCPA faculty members Dana Brown, Scott Gilmore, Andrew Eggert and Susan Payne provide musical and theatrical direction. Performances will be on the Auditorium Building’s first floor, in its seventh-floor Ganz Hall and its 10th floor library. All performances are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.roosevelt.edu/cppa or call 312-341-2238.