We see you there, listening to Montserrat Caballé’s “O mio babbino caro,” clicking through Anna Netrebko galleries, considering swapping Thomas Hampson for Dmitri Hvorostovsky in your dream Falstaff—and all the while, shooting an occasional glance toward your calendar, where the Lyric Opera’s September 27th opener is circled in red.
That's a long way off. Fortunately, the Chicago area offers plenty of opportunities to
hear opera in the meantime. Here are four performances to look forward to:
Chicago Opera Theater, 5/31–6/8, 9/13–21
Typically, COT’s schedule is designed to fill the gap during Lyric’s hiatus. Under its current general director, Andreas Mitisek, however COT has spread its programs throughout the full calendar year. Nevertheless, two of its three subscription-series operas are slotted for the spring and summer months. First (and second) up, a double bill pairing Victor Ullmann’s dark satire The Emperor of Atlantis with Carl Orff’s farcical The Clever One. In September, COT stages the other Macbeth (or the other other Macbeth, if you count Shakespeare’s in addition to Verdi’s), by the early-20th-century, late-Romantic composer Ernest Bloch.
Chicago Folks Operetta, 7/18–8/3
Sure, there’s that interpolated -ett- in their name, but major companies do put on Die Fledermaus regularly, so operetta might as well too. CFO’s big summer production this year, with a new translation, as is CFO’s wont, is the American premiere of Paul Abraham’s Ball at the Savoy. It's a farce about philandering planned and disguised spouses at a costume ball. Actually, that sounds perfect for anyone jonesing for Fledermaus.
Ravinia, 8/2, 14–17
James Conlon, the music director of both Ravinia and the L.A. Opera, leads five concert performances of three operas this summer season. On August 2nd, Patricia Racette, best known for lyric Puccini and Verdi roles, tries on the seven veils for the first time in Richard Strauss’s Salome, a weightier, big-voiced role. August 14th and 16th, you can whet your appetite for Lyric’s season-opening Don Giovanni with Ravinia’s, featuring Christopher Maltman as the seducer. August 15th and 17th, John Relyea plays the lead role in The Marriage of Figaro in advance of appearances in Lyric’s Anna Bolena and Tannhäuser in 2014–15.
Verismo Opera Theater, September.
After a stuttering start to its young life, this Oak Park–based troupe seems to have found a groove, and now plans a September premiere (dates as yet unspecified) for its psychedelic, 1960s-style Elixir of Love, the bel canto repertoire staple by Gaetano Donizetti.