Magazine article Opera Canada

Chicago

Magazine article Opera Canada

Chicago

Article excerpt

Those not initiated into opera often jeer that opera-goers hear the same old thing, year in and year out. For startling proof to the contrary, look to the successes of Chicago's two leading companies with Handel, a composer once completely ignored by major and minor companies in the U.S. and elsewhere. Whereas Lyric Opera of Chicago can incite vociferous audience booing with bizarre Verdi productions (Macbeth, Rigoletto, Un Ballo in Maschera) and Chicago Opera Theater can eschew Verdi altogether (except for one Traviata many years ago), both companies have had cheering houses at their many Handel productions, the latest being Chicago Opera Theater's Agrippina, conducted by Baroque specialist Emmanuelle Haim and deftly staged by Lillian Groeg.

The small theater in which COT operated (to be vacated next season in favor of a brand-new structure) gave audiences a clear view of the conductor at work, and Haim's work was indeed visually very physical, almost to the point of distraction. …

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