Chicago Opera Theater Past President Honors Henry Fogel in 2018 Gala

 Chicago Opera Theater (COT) Young Artist Emma Ritter sings new compositions by COT Emerging Composer in Residence Stacey Garrop (photo by Julie del Prete).

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On Sunday, April 22, immediately following the sold-out final performance of Il Pigmalione & Rita, more than 175 supporters of the Chicago Opera Theater (COT) came together at the Blackstone Hotel (636 S. Michigan Ave.) to celebrate COT’s 45th season with a lively dinner featuring Emmy Award-winning TV and radio personality Paul Lisnek as Master of Ceremonies. Chicago Opera Theater honored immediate past president Henry Fogel for his decades of service and accomplishments in the Chicago music community and extraordinary leadership of Chicago Opera Theater, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the League of American Orchestras. This year the annual gala raised more than $165,000.

​“We were thrilled to celebrate the end of our season with a sold-out performance and highly successful gala,” said Edlis Neeson General Director Douglas R. Clayton. “It was a joy and privilege to honor someone like Henry Fogel for his contributions to COT, the Chicago music community and the furtherance of classical music across the country.”

The honorary event chairs, Gregory O’Leary, Patricia Kenney and Augusta Reed Thomas were in attendance at the festivities, which featured an Italian film theme and circus performers from The Actor’s Gymnasium. Paul Lisnek presented throughout the evening, which included remarks from Clayton, Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya, COT Board President Susan Irion, Chicago Symphony Orchestra President Jeff Alexander and honorary event chair Gregory O’Leary. Rounding out the evening were performances by Katherine Weber, singing her role from next Fall’s Iolanta; COT Young Artist Emma Ritter, singing new compositions by COT Emerging Composer in Residence Stacey Garrop; and an appearance by premiere physical comedy performer Adrian Danzig.

COT is led by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Douglas R. Clayton and Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. As of fall 2017, Maestro Yankovskaya is the only woman with the title Music Director at any of the top 50 opera companies in the United States. COT currently performs at the Studebaker Theater (Michigan & Congress) and the Harris Theater for Music & Dance (Michigan & Randolph).

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit