Review of Chicago Opera Theater’s (COT) Production of Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth” with Nmon Ford as Macbeth, Suzan Hanson as Lady Macbeth; COT’s Stage Director Andreas Mitisek; Chicago Sinfonietta, conducted by Francesco Milioto; Apollo Chorus under the direction of Stephen Alltop

Comment Off 328 Views

By: Sharon Vacek
September 13, 2014
Coordinated by Shannon Frieser, Carol Fox and Associates, www.carolfoxassociates.com

Macbeth explores the deepest and darkest corners of the human mind; tempted by power, fueled by a prophecy, encouraged by lust, and ultimately destroyed by guilt. Ernest Bloch’s interpretation of Macbeth is presented as an opera in English with minimal props but a very high emotional intensity. The music, the projected images, and the raw acting have a way of getting under your skin and bringing you along into a very dark place.

Before the curtain rises, ominous music by the Chicago Sinfonietta, conducted by Francesco Milioto, sets  the stage for this haunting and bloody tale of betrayal. In the opening scene, three witches prophesize that Macbeth will be crowned king yet his heirs will not inherit the throne. He is told that the descendants of a fellow general in King Duncan’s army, Banquo, will rule Scotland. These on stage witches film themselves with hand-held cameras that project their  images on the stage wall behind them. Their provocative hand gestures and evil faces appear larger-than-life and symbolically represent the power of their message on the mind of Macbeth, played by Grammy Award-winning baritone Nmon Ford.

As Macbeth attempts to dismiss the notion to kill the king in order to seize power, Lady Macbeth, played by soprano Suzan Hanson will not hear of it. The influence of the powerful and voluptuous Lady Macbeth and the recurring thoughts of the prophesy, drive Macbeth to kill the king while he sleeps, as a guest in their home. Lady Macbeth smears the king’s blood on the daggers of the sleeping guards, and Macbeth completes the act by murdering the guards and proclaiming that the bloody daggers are proof of their guilt.

The killings are not shown, but Macbeth returns with a blood stained shirt and bloody hands to the waiting Lady Macbeth. Once the murders take place, the madness escalates. The horror of the acts is intensified by haunting images of Macbeth’s dreaded thoughts of blood and murder displayed on the back stage wall. Adding to the torment, the Apollo Chorus singers echo the demons Macbeth is wrestling with in his mind as they loudly sing chants of his pending demise.

Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth opened on September 13, 2014 and includes performances on September 17, 19 and 21 at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, Chicago. For further details, visit www.HarrisTheaterChicago.org  and  www.ChicagoOperaTheater.org

 

 

 

##

 

July 28, 2014

Carol Fox and Associates

www.carolfoxassociates.com

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER PRESENTS THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF ERNEST BLOCH’S “MACBETH” AT THE HARRIS THEATER SEPTEMBER 13-21 2014

Bloch’s “Macbeth” to Feature the Chicago Sinfonietta and Apollo Chorus

Lavish and Dramatic Opera Examines Temptation and Deception in Bloch’s Own English Translation Maintaining the Majority of Shakespeare’s Original Writing

CHICAGO – Chicago Opera Theater (COT) presents the Chicago premiere of Ernest Bloch’s provocative and rarely-performed “Macbeth” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph Drive) September 13-21, 2014. Conducted by Francesco Milioto and directed and designed by COT General Director Andreas Mitisek, “Macbeth” features the collective talents of COT, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Apollo Chorus under the direction of Stephen Alltop. Together they provide an expressive soundscape for this bone-chilling thriller based on themes of ambition, treachery and deception. The opera will be performed in English, maintaining much of Shakespeare’s original text. For tickets and more information please visit: chicagooperatheater.org.

“The ‘other’ ‘Macbeth’ is our 61st Chicago Premiere. The brilliant 26-year-old Bloch wrote this work in 1906 amidst the rich whirl of music at the turn of century from such contemporaries as Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Debussy,” said Mitisek. “It’s Bloch’s unique compositional voice which makes his Macbeth an amazing rediscovery of tremendous passion, full of beautiful, soaring music,” said Mitisek. “We are fortunate to partner with Chicago Sinfonietta and the Apollo Chorus for this new telling of a familiar story.”

Tickets are available at chicagooperatheater.org for $35- $125.

Performance Schedule

Saturday, September 13, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 17, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, September 19, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 21, 3 p.m.

About Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth”

Composed between 1904 and 1906, Bloch’s “Macbeth” primarily features original text from William Shakespeare’s 17th century masterpiece and compresses the standard five acts into three. It received its first performance on November 30, 1910 by the Opéra-Comique in Paris.

After the premiere production, the opera was staged in Naples in 1938. It was later banned before a revival in Rome and Trieste in 1953. The opera has been staged twice in the United States, in English, at New York’s Juilliard School of Music in 1973 and at Long Beach Opera as part of its 2013 Season.

Synopsis

Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth” maintains the majority of Shakespeare’s original play. The opera contains seven tableaux, with the prelude comprising the first tableau, and each of the three acts containing two tableaux.

Upon Macbeth’s victorious return from a war between Scotland and Norway, three witches confront the great general about the Scottish king’s decision to label him a traitor. The witches predict that Macbeth will one day become king, inspiring him to kill Scotland’s monarch with the help of his wife. Macbeth assumes the throne, but learns that betrayal comes with a price.

Creative Team

Stage Director and Production Design: Andreas Mitisek

Conductor: Francesco Milioto

Orchestra: Chicago Sinfonietta 

Chorus Master: Stephen Alltop

Chorus: Apollo Chorus 

Nmon Ford – Macbeth
Suzan Hanson – Lady Macbeth

About Ernest Bloch

Ernest Bloch was born on July 24, 1880 in Geneva, Switzerland. In his native city, he studied violin with Louis Rey and composition with Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. He later studied under Eugene Ysaye and Francois Rasse in Brussels. Bloch’s principal training, however, was in Frankfurt with Iwan Knorr, who most influenced the composer’s distinct musical personality. Bloch appropriated established and novel musical elements into highly dramatic scores, often influenced by philosophical, poetic, or religious themes.

A masterly composer of music for strings, Bloch wrote four string quartets, “Schelomo–A Hebrew Rhapsody” (for cello and orchestra), and “A Voice in the Wilderness” (for orchestra and cello obbligato), which are deeply emotional works and rank among the most distinguished achievements in the neo-classic and neo-romantic idiom of early 20th-Century music. Bloch’s pupil Roger Sessions praised him for his special ability to express “the grandeur of human suffering.” The successful premiere by the Boston Symphony of Bloch’s “Trois Poèmes Juifs” in 1917 encouraged the composer to settle in the United States. He soon assumed the directorship of the Cleveland Institute of Music and later the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He also taught at the University of California at Berkeley.

Before his death in 1959, Bloch was distinguished in his lifetime by a long list of honors including honorary membership in the Academia Santa Cecilia in Rome, the first Gold Medal in Music of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the New York Music Critics’ Circle Award for his String Quartet No. 2, and the same award later for his Concerto Grosso No. 2 and String Quartet No. 3. He was also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees.

Subscription Information

Subscriptions to Chicago Opera Theatre’s 2015 Season are on sale now. Subscriptions are priced from $96 to $357 and can be purchased by calling 312.704.8414 or via chicagooperatheater.org. First-time subscribers save 50%. Individual tickets will go on sale in January, 2015.

Kicking off the 2015 season will be Tobias Picker’s “Thérèse Raquin,” a gripping and suspenseful tale of passionate love affairs, murderous ends and supernatural vengeance, running February 20, 22, 25 and 28, 2015. The company’s spring production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “A Coffin in Egypt” tells the haunting tale of memory and murder, racism and recrimination, based on a play by Horton Foote. This work, written for and starring legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in the tour-de-force role of Myrtle Bledsoe, runs April 25 and 29 and May 1 and 3, 2015. The 2015 Season will close with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lucio Silla,” a story of the tyrannical dictator whose lust fuels his penchant for manipulation in a city which is already brimming with plots and machinations. With a scintillating score and featuring awe-inspiring arias and ravishing melodies, “Lucio Silla” runs September 26 and 30 and October 2 and 4, 2015.

Harris Theater for Music and Dance

205 E. Randolph Street

312.334.7777

www.harristheaterchicago.org

About Chicago Opera Theater

Chicago Opera Theater is an innovative, nationally recognized opera company that inspires a diverse community through immersive and thought-provoking opera experiences. COT, established in 1974 by Alan Stone, is a founding resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. New General Director Andreas Mitisek is known for his adventurous repertory, visionary leadership, fundraising skills, and innovative audience-building initiatives.

Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program.

Experience MORE OF THE DIFFERENT with Chicago Opera Theater!

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit www.chicagooperatheater.org.

# # #

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER ANNOUNCES TWO SPECIAL VIEWPOINT EVENTS IN CONJUNCTION WITH CHICAGO PREMIERE OF ERNEST BLOCH’S “MACBETH”

Unique Viewpoint Events “Up For Interpretation: Exploring Macbeth” and “Throne of Blood” Highlight Shakespeare’s Most Infamous Tragedy “Macbeth” on

Sunday September 7 and Sunday September 14

Chicago Opera Theater Presents Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance September 13 – 21, 2014

CHICAGO – Chicago Opera Theater (COT) presents two special Viewpoint events to explore Shakespeare’s most infamous tragedy “Macbeth” and enhance the audience experience of the lavish and dramatic opera that is Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth.” The two Viewpoint events include: “Up for Interpretation: Exploring Macbeth” at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St.) on Sunday September 7 at 12 p.m. and “Throne of Blood” at the Music Box Theater (3733 N. Southport Ave.) on Sunday September 14 at 11:30 a.m.

The Chicago Opera Theater’s Viewpoints is a series of events programmed around each opera production and specially designed to enrich the audience experience at upcoming productions. Most often in collaboration with other cultural organizations in Chicago, each Viewpoint is intended to stimulate conversation, enhance contextual and conceptual understanding and further engage the curiosity of the audience

“Up for Interpretation: Exploring Macbeth”

Gene Siskel Film Center
Sunday, Sept. 7th at 12 p.m.
$5 (COT Subscribers & Gene Siskel Members) & $10 General Admission

“Up for Interpretation: Exploring Macbeth” examines iconic scenes from “Macbeth” as portrayed by film, live actors and the stars from COT’s upcoming production of “Macbeth.” Viewpoint participants will be privy to live performances and interactive discussions focused on one of theater’s most notorious characters.

“Throne of Blood”

Music Box Theater
Sunday, Sept.14th at 11:30 a.m.
$8 (Students, Seniors, and Subscribers) & $10 Advance Sale

“Throne of Blood” is an iconic, vivid and visceral “Macbeth” adaptation, directed by Akira Kurosawa, set in Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan.

About Chicago Opera Theater’s Macbeth

Chicago Opera Theater presents the Chicago premiere of Ernest Bloch’s provocative and rarely-performed “Macbeth” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph Drive) September 13-21, 2014. Conducted by Francesco Milioto and directed and designed by COT General Director Andreas Mitisek, “Macbeth” features the collective talents of COT, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Apollo Chorus under the direction of Stephen Alltop. Together they provide an expressive soundscape for this bone-chilling thriller based on themes of ambition, treachery and deception. The opera will be performed in English, maintaining much of Shakespeare’s original text. For tickets and more information please visit: chicagooperatheater.org.

“The ‘other’ ‘Macbeth’ is our 61st Chicago Premiere. The brilliant 26-year-old Bloch wrote this work in 1906 amidst the rich whirl of music at the turn of century from such contemporaries as Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Debussy,” said Mitisek. “It’s Bloch’s unique compositional voice which makes his Macbeth an amazing rediscovery of tremendous passion, full of beautiful, soaring music,” said Mitisek. “We are fortunate to partner with Chicago Sinfonietta and the Apollo Chorus for this new telling of a familiar story.”

Tickets are available at chicagooperatheater.org for $35- $125.

Performance Schedule

Saturday, September 13, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 17, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, September 19, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 21, 3 p.m.

About Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth”

Composed between 1904 and 1906, Bloch’s “Macbeth” primarily features original text from William Shakespeare’s 17th century masterpiece and compresses the standard five acts into three. It received its first performance on November 30, 1910 by the Opéra-Comique in Paris.

After the premiere production, the opera was staged in Naples in 1938. It was later banned before a revival in Rome and Trieste in 1953. The opera has been staged twice in the United States, in English, at New York’s Juilliard School of Music in 1973 and at Long Beach Opera as part of its 2013 Season.

Synopsis

Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth” maintains the majority of Shakespeare’s original play. The opera contains seven tableaux, with the prelude comprising the first tableau, and each of the three acts containing two tableaux.

Upon Macbeth’s victorious return from a war between Scotland and Norway, three witches confront the great general about the Scottish king’s decision to label him a traitor. The witches predict that Macbeth will one day become king, inspiring him to kill Scotland’s monarch with the help of his wife. Macbeth assumes the throne, but learns that betrayal comes with a price.

Creative Team

Stage Director and Production Design: Andreas Mitisek

Conductor: Francesco Milioto

Orchestra: Chicago Sinfonietta 

Chorus Master: Stephen Alltop

Chorus: Apollo Chorus 

Nmon Ford – Macbeth
Suzan Hanson – Lady Macbeth

About Ernest Bloch

Ernest Bloch was born on July 24, 1880 in Geneva, Switzerland. In his native city, he studied violin with Louis Rey and composition with Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. He later studied under Eugene Ysaye and Francois Rasse in Brussels. Bloch’s principal training, however, was in Frankfurt with Iwan Knorr, who most influenced the composer’s distinct musical personality. Bloch appropriated established and novel musical elements into highly dramatic scores, often influenced by philosophical, poetic, or religious themes.

A masterly composer of music for strings, Bloch wrote four string quartets, “Schelomo–A Hebrew Rhapsody” (for cello and orchestra), and “A Voice in the Wilderness” (for orchestra and cello obbligato), which are deeply emotional works and rank among the most distinguished achievements in the neo-classic and neo-romantic idiom of early 20th-Century music. Bloch’s pupil Roger Sessions praised him for his special ability to express “the grandeur of human suffering.” The successful premiere by the Boston Symphony of Bloch’s “Trois Poèmes Juifs” in 1917 encouraged the composer to settle in the United States. He soon assumed the directorship of the Cleveland Institute of Music and later the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He also taught at the University of California at Berkeley.

Before his death in 1959, Bloch was distinguished in his lifetime by a long list of honors including honorary membership in the Academia Santa Cecilia in Rome, the first Gold Medal in Music of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the New York Music Critics’ Circle Award for his String Quartet No. 2, and the same award later for his Concerto Grosso No. 2 and String Quartet No. 3. He was also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees.

Subscription Information

Subscriptions to Chicago Opera Theatre’s 2015 Season are on sale now. Subscriptions are priced from $96 to $357 and can be purchased by calling 312.704.8414 or via chicagooperatheater.org. First-time subscribers save 50%. Individual tickets will go on sale in January, 2015.

Kicking off the 2015 season will be Tobias Picker’s “Thérèse Raquin,” a gripping and suspenseful tale of passionate love affairs, murderous ends and supernatural vengeance, running February 20, 22, 25 and 28, 2015. The company’s spring production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “A Coffin in Egypt” tells the haunting tale of memory and murder, racism and recrimination, based on a play by Horton Foote. This work, written for and starring legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in the tour-de-force role of Myrtle Bledsoe, runs April 25 and 29 and May 1 and 3, 2015. The 2015 Season will close with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lucio Silla,” a story of the tyrannical dictator whose lust fuels his penchant for manipulation in a city which is already brimming with plots and machinations. With a scintillating score and featuring awe-inspiring arias and ravishing melodies, “Lucio Silla” runs September 26 and 30 and October 2 and 4, 2015.

Harris Theater for Music and Dance

205 E. Randolph Street

312.334.7777

www.harristheaterchicago.org

About Chicago Opera Theater

Chicago Opera Theater is an innovative, nationally recognized opera company that inspires a diverse community through immersive and thought-provoking opera experiences. COT, established in 1974 by Alan Stone, is a founding resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. New General Director Andreas Mitisek is known for his adventurous repertory, visionary leadership, fundraising skills, and innovative audience-building initiatives.

Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program.

Experience MORE OF THE DIFFERENT with Chicago Opera Theater!

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit www.chicagooperatheater.org.

##

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER ANNOUNCES 2015 SEASON

Soaring Melodies and Searing Drama Take Center Stage in Three Chicago Premieres:

Tobias Picker’s “Thérèse Raquin,” Ricky Ian Gordon’s “A Coffin in Egypt” and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lucio Silla”

World-Renowned Mezzo-Soprano Frederica von Stade Makes a Triumphant Return to Chicago Opera Theater as Grand Dame Myrtle Bledsoe in “A Coffin in Egypt”

CHICAGO – Chicago Opera Theater’s General Director Andreas Mitisek today announced plans for the company’s 41st season, featuring classic and contemporary operas replete with intense drama and marvelous music. Tobias Picker’s “Thérèse Raquin,” Ricky Ian Gordon’s “A Coffin in Egypt” and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lucio Silla” will all be staged at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street.

Kicking off the 2015 season will be Tobias Picker’s “Thérèse Raquin,” a gripping and suspenseful tale of passionate love affairs, murderous ends and supernatural vengeance, running February 20, 22, 25 and 28, 2015. The company’s spring production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “A Coffin in Egypt” tells the haunting tale of memory and murder, racism and recrimination, based on a play by Horton Foote. This work, written for legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in the tour-de-force role of Myrtle Bledsoe, runs April 25 and 29 and May 1 and 3, 2015. The 2015 Season will close with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Lucio Silla,” a story of the tyrannical dictator whose lust fuels his penchant for manipulation in a city which is already brimming with plots and machinations. With a scintillating score and featuring awe-inspiring arias and ravishing melodies, “Lucio Silla” runs September 26 and 30 and October 2 and 4, 2015.

“We are proud to offer another adventurous journey with powerful stories and brilliant music all new to Chicago,” said Mitisek. “We are particularly pleased to again present our entire season at our home venue, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, where Chicago Opera Theater is a founding resident company. We are fortunate that, over the last ten years, the Theater has provided support and has remained committed to helping us achieve our mission: to engage curious audiences through adventurous opera experiences of new and rarely performed works.”

About the 2015 Chicago Opera Theater’s Season

“Thérèse Raquin”

Composed by Tobias Picker

Libretto by Gene Scheer

Conducted by TBA

Directed by TBA

Sung in English

Feb. 20, 22, 25 and 28

Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph

Co-Produced with Long Beach Opera

Thérèse, trapped in an unhappy marriage, escapes into a stormy affair with her husband’s best friend. Their newfound passion compels the young lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever. Picker’s lavish and riveting score provides the suspenseful underpinning for this deadly love triangle. Based on Emile Zola’s scandalous novel it is “a meaningful opera infused with moments of searing reflection and luxurious sensuality,” according to Opera Now.

“A Coffin in Egypt”

Composed by Ricky Ian Gordon

Libretto by Leonard Foglia

Conducted by TBA

Directed by TBA

Sung in English

Starring Frederica von Stade

April 25, 29, May 1 and 3

Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph

Celebrated mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade stars in this tour-de-force portrayal of 90-year-old grand dame Myrtle Bledsoe living in Egypt, Texas. Having outlived all her family and friends, she confronts a life of missed opportunities, broken dreams, and a family of liars and murderers. In a role written for von Stade, her performance is hailed by the Huffington Post as “transcendent and powerful.” Gordon’s intimate, touching score tells an unforgettable story of one woman’s last moments of reflection and forgiveness.

“Lucio Silla”

Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Libretto by Giovanni de Gamerra

Conducted by TBA

Directed by TBA

Sung in Italian with English Supertitles

September 26 and 30 and October 2 and 4

Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph

Composed by the 16 year old Mozart, this tale of a tyrannical dictator was one of the young prodigy’s earliest successes. When Silla is denied the heart of the woman he desires, he commits his considerable power and influence to force matters in his favor. He soon discovers that his are not the only plots and conspiracies hidden in the streets of Rome. This saga of deceit, love and intrigue is punctuated by awe-inspiring arias and ravishing melodies.

Subscription Information

Subscriptions to Chicago Opera Theatre’s 2015 Season will go on sale Thursday, June 12, 2014. Subscriptions are priced from $96 to $357 and can be purchased by calling 312.704.8414 or via chicagooperatheater.org. Individual tickets will go on sale on a future date to be announced.

Harris Theater for Music and Dance

205 E. Randolph Street

312.334.7777

www.harristheaterchicago.org

About Chicago Opera Theater

Chicago Opera Theater is an innovative, nationally recognized opera company that inspires a diverse community through immersive and thought-provoking opera experiences. COT, established in 1974 by Alan Stone, is a founding resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. New General Director Andreas Mitisek is known for his adventurous repertory, visionary leadership, fundraising skills, and innovative audience-building initiatives.

Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program.

Experience MORE OF THE DIFFERENT with Chicago Opera Theater!

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit www.chicagooperatheater.org.

# # #

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Don411.com Media website.

Free Newsletter Updated Daily