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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54028
Doc. No:TL23982
Call number:‭3168634‬
Main Entry:Carl Joseph Ratner
Title & Author:Chicago Opera Theater: Standard bearer for American opera, 1976–2001Carl Joseph Ratner
College:Northwestern University
Date:2005
Degree:D.M.
student score:2005
Page No:553
Abstract:This document traces the history of Chicago Opera Theater's productions, particularly those of American operas, and the critical response they received. The study also examines the impact that the company's programming philosophy had on its artistic success and economic well being (including ticket sales and individual and foundation contributions), on Chicago's cultural milieu, and on the field of opera. Chicago Opera Studio, Inc., (COSI) mounted its first production, Mozart's Così fan tutte, in 1974. To honor the American bicentennial in 1976, the company's artistic director Alan Stone decided to present The Mother of Us All by American composer Virgil Thomson. This production earned the fledgling company increased attention from Chicago's philanthropic community as well as heightened public exposure, including a local telecast of the opera as adapted by the composer. As a result of this success, the company, from 1978 onward performing as Chicago Opera Theater (COT), established a pattern of presenting American works (defined here as operas composed by a native or permanent resident of the United States) alongside standard repertory and lesser-known European works. From 1976 to 2001, the company presented a total of 23 productions of 20 American operas, including: Summer and Smoke (Lee Hoiby; national telecast); The Good Soldier Schweik (Robert Kurka); Regina (Marc Blitzstein); The Consul (Gian Carlo Menotti); The Crucible (Robert Ward); Susannah (Carlisle Floyd); Of Mice and Men (Floyd); Postcard from Morocco (Dominick Argento); A Waterbird Talk (Argento); The Medium (Menotti); Four Saints in Three Acts (Thomson); The Ballad of Baby Doe (Douglas Moore); The Tender Land (Aaron Copland); Shining Brow (Daron Hagen); The Face on the Barroom Floor (Henry Mollicone); Bon Appétit (Hoiby); There is a Garden (Leonard Bernstein, including Trouble in Tahiti); Buoso's Ghost (Michael Ching); and Akhnaten (Philip Glass). Using interviews of composers, critics, performers, funders, and the company's present and former leaders, as well as performance programs, articles, and reviews, the study finds that programming American operas benefited Chicago Opera Theater. The American operas attracted the attention of important donors, foundations, and the press, enabling the company to contribute to the field of opera and enrich Chicago's cultural milieu.
Subject:Communication and the arts; Language, literature and linguistics; Chicago Opera Theater; Illinois; Opera; Programming philosophy; Music; Theater; American literature; 0465:Theater; 0413:Music; 0591:American literature
Added Entry:J. L. Schwartz
Added Entry:Northwestern University