This September, for the first time in eleven years, Chicago Opera Theater (COT) will present an opera in the fall: a new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute. This is the first new production of The Magic Flute in Chicago in 17 years, the last being Chicago Opera Theater's production in 1995 at the Athenaeum Theatre. The opera will feature the Chicago premiere of the English translation by Jeremy Sams. The Magic Flute performs at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park on September 15, 19, 21, and 23.
Chosen by former General Director Brian Dickie, who left the company on June 1, 2012, The Magic Flute will mark the last production of his 13 year tenure.
"Brian made Chicago Opera Theater a beacon of the opera landscape, both nationally and internationally," said General Director Andreas Mitisek. "He produced all of the great Mozart operas during his 13 years at COT and The Magic Flute is a brilliant way to say good bye."
The opera will be conducted by Steuart Bedford and directed by Michael Gieleta.
Steuart has worked with all of the world's great opera companies including the English National Opera, the Royal Opera Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera. This season he conducted Salome at San Diego Opera, and is currently conducting Turn of the Screw at Central City Opera. He returns to Chicago Opera Theater after leading the highly-acclaimed production of Britten's Owen Wingrave in 2009.
Michael Gieleta, a theatre and opera director, has worked at Wexford Festival Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and Capetown Opera, and directed the new Peter Nichols' play Lingua Franca for the 2010 Brits Off-Broadway series at 59E59 Theatres in New York. He is the Artistic Director of the Cherub Theatre Company in London.
Scenic Designer James Macnamara's most recent work includes the highly successful production of Maria at Wexford Festival Opera. He also designed the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the World Cup in Johannesburg in 2010. Designing costumes for the production is Gregory Gale, nominated twice for the Tony Award for his work on Rock of Ages and Cyrano de Bergerac. Lighting Designer Julian Pike returns to COT for his fifth consecutive season. "(The) lighting and special effects were some of the finest I have seen in any opera production," said Bachtrack of Julian's work in COT's April production of Teseo.
Singing the role of Tamino in his Chicago debut is tenor Sean Panikkar. He has sung numerous times at the Metropolitan Opera making his debut there in 2007. This past season he sang with San Diego Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, and Opera Boston. He is currently singing with Glimmerglass Opera in the role of The Leader in Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars. Soprano Elizabeth Reiter sings the role of Pamina. Elizabeth made her Chicago Opera Theater debut in the role of Flora in 2003's production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw. Most recently she has sung with Opera Frankfurt, Opera Memphis, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the Castleton Festival. In the role of Papageno is baritone Markus Beam, who recently sang at Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Toledo Opera. He made his COT debut in 2002 in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia.
Russian bass Grigory Soloviov makes his Chicago debut singing the role of Sarastro. The past two seasons he has sung with Palm Beach Opera, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and Opéra de Montreal. In the role of Queen of the Night is Irish soprano Claudia Boyle in her U.S. debut. She most recently sang with Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and at Wexford Festival, and last summer she sang at the Salzburg Festival with Maestro Riccardo Muti.
Rounding out the principal cast are Leila Bowie (1st Lady), Julia Hardin (2nd Lady), Katherine McGookey (3rd Lady), Alex Mansoori (Monostatos), Valerie Vinzant (Papagena), and Bruce Hall (Speaker).