Home: Civic Opera House, a masterpiece of art deco and art nouveau design opened in 1929
Mission: to engage audiences with classic operas, lesser-known gems, and new works
Famous performers: Pavarotti, Maria Callas, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, Plácido Domingo, Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, and Renée Fleming have all graced the stage
Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.
Cicero is happy to boast the theatrical stylings of Olympic Theatre.
Every great place has a restaurant on the side. When you come to this theater, it's no different.
Parking is plentiful, so visitors can feel free to bring their vehicles.
Four Things to Know About Chicago Opera Theater
Sure, Chicago's other opera companies may be bigger, and may invest more in turning productions into full-blown, high-budget spectacles. However, if you’re looking for a fresher take on a classic or a provocative production of a cutting-edge new American opera, then the Chicago Opera Theater is for you. Founded in 1974, the group generally stages three productions a year, with performances at Millennium Park's Harris Theater. Before you catch a show, here’s some helpful background on the group:
They’re big Mozart fans. In fact, their first production, in 1974, was Cosi fan tutte; over the years they’ve also run Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, and other beloved works. In 2015, they even dug into the vault and staged Lucio Silla, a lesser-known work produced when Mozart was only a lad of 16.
American operas have a prominent place in the repertoire. Although domestic operas are not as well-known as their classical European classical counterparts, the COT hopes to change that. Since first staging Virgil Thompson The Mother of Us All in 1976, they've also mounted productions by modern American masters including Philip Glass (The Fall of the House of Usher) and John Adams (Nixon in China).
The general director isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Andreas Mitisek isn’t just in charge, he’s a vital part of many of the shows. He was stage director and production manager for Lucio Silla and has also served as orchestra conductor to several of COT’s other shows. For all his work, he was named the Chicagoan of the Year in Classical Music by the Chicago Tribune in 2014.
They're nurturing the next generation of opera fans (and composers). Among their many community programs is Opera for All, which sends company members to Chicago schools to help youngsters compose and perform their own opera.
Four Things to Know About Lifeline Theatre
There are lots of great stories on the page, and it’s Lifeline Theatre’s mission to bring them to the stage. And they do it for reasons that go beyond the fact that those two words are a cute little rhyme. Read on for more information about a great home for adaptations:
They’ve racked up their share of hardware. Since its founding in 1982, Lifeline has picked up nearly 50 Jeff Awards—the Chicago equivalent of the Tonys—and more than 20 After Dark Awards.
They love the neighborhood. Lifeline has been in Rogers Park since 1985, and helps to produce the annual Glenwood Avenue Arts fest, in addition to hosting low-cost events throughout the year.
They tell stories for kids. Some of their kids shows in the last few years include adaptations of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Velveteen Rabbit, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, and Duck for President
But they tell plenty of stories for grown-ups, too. Stories come from nearly every section of the library, ranging from The Three Musketeers to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
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Wall decorations such as curtains and mirrors are sure to catch your eye, so stop in and see what else is on hand.
There is great parking nearby for customers.