Get ready to hear that name a lot. Last fall, Mitisek, 50, was named general director of Chicago Opera Theater. He still leads California’s Long Beach Opera as well—which, like COT, distinguishes itself from a larger neighboring opera company by programming rare, unusual, and new works. He hopes the two groups will make beautiful music together, starting with his first COT production this month: The Fall of the House of Usher, by the contemporary minimalist Philip Glass, which will start in California and then pull up stakes for the Harris Theater. Contributing culture critic Graham Meyer asked the Austrian native about life in and out of opera.
Where he still wants to travel to that he hasn’t yet: The Mojave Desert, India, and Bhutan.
The last three pieces he listened to: 1. J. S. Bach’s Orchestral Suites 2. Astor Piazzolla’s soundtrack to the film Tangos: The Exile of Gardel 3. Alban Berg’s debut opera Wozzeck
The last play he saw and liked: The Fall of House of Usher in Chicago, staged by The Hypocrites
On watching TV: I gave it up years ago. Too much wasted time. I’d rather see a movie or read a book.
The last three things he bought: A Clockwork Orange, workout clothes, an album of Duke Ellington’s hits
His dream project: The Philip Glass trilogy: Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten
His favorite Viennese food: Yeast dumplings with plum juice, plum jam filling, hot butter, and sugar.
GO The Fall of the House of Usher runs from Feb. 23 to Mar. 1 at the Harris Theater; $18 to $125. For info, chicagooperatheater.org.
Photograph: Brian Guido