Chicago Opera Theater (COT) will kick off its 2015-2016 season with the Chicago premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Lucio Silla, a passionate story of love, power, bloody conspiracies and revenge. The premiere will take place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205. E. Randolph Drive) September 26 - October 4, 2015. Directed and designed by COT’s general director, Andreas Mitisek, and conducted by the acclaimed Francesco Milioto, the opera, was written by the Mozart as a teenager for Milan’s Teatro Regio Ducal in 1772.
In an effort to bring the power the work to the Chicago community, COT will host a special performance for Chicago’s young audiences on Wednesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. COT will invite a range of students, parents and educators from Chicagoland schools and community groups to preview the work, which receives its first performance in Chicago.
As Mitisek pointed in the company’s announcement, event though “he was just 16 years old, Mozart was already a well-known composer to the Milanese public when Lucio Silla—his 8th opera—premiered in 1772. He had already written two operas for Italian audiences… (His) genius is very much in evidence in this work; it is brimming with some of his most beautiful, sophisticated and challenging arias.” Mitisek noted that, along with a talented cast of singers, COT has engaged the Chicago Philharmonic and the Apollo Chorus to introduce Chicagoans to the rarely heard work.
The story is loosely based on one of the most hated Roman consuls during the first century, Lucius Conelius Sulla Felix. When the titular character is denied the heart of the daughter of his arch enemy, he commits his considerable power and influence to manipulate matters in his favor. What is soon unveiled is that his but one of many plots have been laid that underpin the cacophony of deceit, love and intrigue that unfold, all “punctuated by awe-inspiring arias and ravishing melodies.”
Leading the cast for the Chicago premiere is Ryan MacPherson in the title role; MacPherson won acclaim for his performance as Usher in COT’s production of The Fall of the House of Usher. Valerie Vinzant, best known in Chicago for her portrayal of Euridice in COT’s Orpheus and Euridice will sing the role of Celia. Maeve Höglund will portray Giunia, Christine Arand sings Giunia’s exiled lover, Cecilio and Ava Pine sings Lucio Cinna. (Note: the latter two roles were originally written for castrati).
Overshadowed by some of Mozart’s later works, Lucio Silla has been revived more frequently in recent years. Acclaimed productions were presented at the Santa Fe Opera (2005), in Warsaw (2011), in London (2012), in Barcelona (2013) and at the Salzburg Festival (2013). Chicago’s debut performance will be a highly anticipated addition to the fray.
For more information about the Chicago premiere production, COT’s 2015-2016 programming or for tickets, visit chicagooperatheater.org.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Chicago Opera Theater's general director, Andreas Mitisek, will direct the Chicago debut of Mozart's Lucio Silla at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance this fall (photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater).