CHICAGO – Chicago Opera Theater (COT) today announced that the company has been awarded both a $30,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a $15,000 Civic Practice Grant from OPERA America’s Opera Fund for fiscal year 2019. The Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts supports the production and programming of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” which will make its Chicago premiere at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph) Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 at 3 p.m. Art Works, the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program, received 1,605 applications for this round of grantmaking, and awarded 972 grants in this category.
“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on the National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
Chicago Opera Theater received a $15,000 Civic Practice Grant from OPERA America’s Opera Fund for the expansion of existing partnerships with several refugee service organizations in order to provide free admission and facilitate additional support for refugee communities to attend and enjoy opera. Chicago Opera Theater seeks to offer refugees an access point to opera, with the intention of building a base for each individual’s cultural life in the city. For more information on OPERA America’s Civic Practice Grants, visit operaamerica.org/CivicPractice
“Receiving these two prestigious grants is very gratifying for us,” said Chicago Opera Theater’s Stefan Edlis & Gael Neeson General Director Ashley Magnus. “We are grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America. Recognition from these particular institutions aligns with our mission of presenting innovative opera and enables the art form to be more accessible and inclusive of all communities, a development that is vital to the advancement of opera in the 21st century.”
Additionally, Chicago Opera Theater has named Chris Thoren, previously the Associate Director of Communications, Henry & Frances Fogel General Manager, Strategy and Communications. Thoren’s title is in honor of Henry and Frances Fogel’s incredible support of COT and the nationwide impact of Henry and Frances’ generous guidance, arts advocacy and philanthropy. The title is supported by generous donations from Gregory O’Leary and Patricia Kenney, Sage Foundation, and William and Janet Jentes.
During their time at Chicago Opera Theater, Thoren spearheaded COT’s 2017 rebrand, streamlined the company’s marketing strategy and oversees all of the organization’s public-facing communications.
“I could not be prouder to be affiliated with the generosity and arts leadership of Henry and Frances Fogel with this title,” said Henry & Frances Fogel General Manager Chris Thoren. “I look forward to continuing my work with our incredible leadership team to further Chicago Opera Theater’s mission of expanding the tradition of opera as a living art form..”
About Chris Thoren
As the Henry & Frances Fogel General Manager of Strategy & Communications at Chicago Opera Theater, Chris Thoren is the primary voice of the organization’s set communications initiatives, including the execution and evaluation of the company’s overall brand both artistically and organizationally. Thoren joined Chicago Opera Theater as Marketing Assistant in 2016, and most recently served as the Associate Director of Communications. During their time at COT, Thoren spearheaded COT’s 2017 rebrand, streamlined the company’s marketing strategy and oversaw all of the organization’s public-facing communications. Before COT, Thoren worked on the communications and marketing staff for The House Theatre of Chicago, Next Theatre and as a freelance communications strategist and is a proud graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
About Chicago Opera Theater
Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is a nationally recognized opera company based in Chicago, now in its 45th season. COT expands the tradition of opera as a living art form, with an emphasis on Chicago premieres, including new contemporary operas for a 21st century audience.
In addition to its programmed mainstage season, COT is devoted to the development and production of new opera in the United States through the Vanguard Initiative, launched in the Spring of 2018. The Vanguard Initiative mentors emerging opera composers, invests time and talent in new opera at various stages of the creative process and presents the Living Opera Series to showcase new and developing work.
Since its founding in 1973 by Alan Stone, COT has staged more than 125 operas, including over 65 Chicago premieres and more than 35 operas by American composers.
COT is led by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Ashley Magnus and Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. As of January 2019, COT is a multimillion-dollar opera company led exclusively by women. 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 chicagooperatheater.org.