CHICAGO – Chicago Opera Theater (COT) brings a virtual reality experience to the world-premiere opera “The Invention of Morel,” composed by Stewart Copeland, co-founder and drummer of The Police, and based on Argentinian author Adolfo Bioy Casares’ 1940 novel “La invención de Morel.”
Together with Chicago-based video production company, Reel Captivation, COT invites opera-goers to step into the world of the production with the virtual-reality (VR) tour, showcasing the landscape of “Morel” with a narrated tour and stunning 360˚ views of the lush island where the futuristic opera is set. Before each performance, patrons have the opportunity to don a headset in the lobby of the Studebaker Theater and experience the four-minute tour. “The Invention of Morel” is co-commissioned by Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, and features London-based actor, director and writer Jonathan Moore as Stage Director/Librettist together with COT’s Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek as Conductor.
Performances take place at The Studebaker Theater (410 S. Michigan) February 18 at 7:30 p.m., February 24 at 7:30 p.m., and February 26 at 3 p.m. Limited VR sets are available for each prior to each performance of “The Invention of Morel;” for additional details, visit ChicagoOperaTheater.org/Morel. Tickets for “The Invention of Morel” ($39 – $125) can be purchased by calling 312.704.8414 or by visiting chicagooperatheater.org.
“Chicago Opera Theater is always looking for ways to reinvent the opera-going experience, and by bringing technology to opera-goers first hand with this virtual tour of ‘Morel,’ we are embarking on an innovative new way to engage with audiences,” said Executive Director Douglas Clayton. “Presenting our first commissioned world-premiere opera together with a new technological experience speaks to the kind of company COT is today and where we are going in the future.”
As the opera begins, an escaped fugitive arrives on an isolated, strange island. While exploring his surroundings, he observes a group of tourists and quickly realizes something is not quite right in this paradise. Intrigued yet wary of these eccentric visitors, he begins to fall in love with one—a strikingly beautiful woman. He discovers these visitors are here at the invitation of Morel, a mad scientific genius, for the unveiling of his latest mysterious invention. When his heart pulls him helplessly toward this beautiful woman he must ask himself how much he is willing to sacrifice to be with her. Living outside the classic constructs of time and space, “The Invention of Morel” explores powerful driving forces of human emotion: love, desire, and sacrifice.
The cast of “The Invention of Morel” includes Andrew Wilkowske in the role of The Fugitive, Lee Gregory as The Narrator, Valerie Vinzant as Faustine, Kimberly E. Jones as Dora, Barbara Landis as Duchess, Scott Brunscheen as Alec/Ombrellieri, Nathan Granner as Morel and David Govertsen as Stoever.
Chicago Opera Theater recognizes Season Sponsors Roger and Julie Baskes and Gregory O’Leary and Patricia Kenney, Commission Sponsors The Seaver Institute and Bill and Orli Staley, as well as Production Sponsors The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sage Foundation and Virginia Tobiason.
Stage Director: Jonathan Moore
Composer: Stewart Copeland
Conductor: Andreas Mitisek
Adaptation: Jonathan Moore
Orchestra: Fulcrum Point New Music Project
Andreas Mitisek – Conductor
A native of Austria, Mitisek has led COT since 2012 and currently serves as the Stefan Edlis & Gael Neeson Artistic Director. He has also been the Artistic & General Director of Long Beach Opera since 2003, and directed two operas for New York City Opera in 2016. Mitisek was named “Chicagoan of the Year for Classical Music” by the Chicago Tribune in 2014 and was selected as one of the “25 people that will be a major force in the field of opera in the coming decade” by Opera News.
This season at COT, Mitisek directed and production designed Frank Martin’s “The Love Potion,” as well as Henry Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen.” He recently directed LBO’s “terrifyingly authentic” (Los Angeles Times) “Fallujah” by Tobin Stokes in March of 2016. Mitisek was the stage director and designer for COT’s “Lucio Silla” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 2015. His other COT directing credits include “Macbeth” by Ernest Bloch, “Maria de Buenos Aires” by Astor Piazzolla and “The Emperor of Atlantis & The Clever One” by Viktor Ullmann and Carl Orff. Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Orpheus and Euridice,” at the Welles Park Pool in 2013, was critically and publicly acclaimed. He is also a sought after guest conductor in North America. Mitisek is on the board of directors for Opera America, the national service organization for U.S. opera companies.
Stewart Copeland – Composer
Stewart Copeland is the co-founder and drummer of the rock band The Police. His career includes the sale of more than 60 million records worldwide and numerous awards, including five Grammy awards. He has had commissions from and worked with many major cultural institutions including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the San Francisco Ballet Company, the Savannah Music Festival, the Brighton Festival and the Royal Opera House (London), among many others.
Copeland is the recipient of the Hollywood Film Festival’s first Outstanding Music in Film Visionary Award, a Grammy nominee for his 2005 CD “Orchestralli,” and a 2003 inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Copeland has been responsible for some of the film worlds most innovative and groundbreaking scores, including “Wall Street,” “Pecker,” “Rumble Fish” and others.
Jonathan Moore – Stage Director and Librettist
Jonathan Moore is a London based, award winning actor, writer and director. As an actor he has played leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Co, Royal Court, Donmar, the Royal Exchange, Shakespeare’s Globe and on BBC TV and Radio. He has directed theatre and opera world premieres at the Almeida, Donmar, West End, Royal Exchange, Gate, English National Opera, Covent Garden, La Fenice in Venice and on TV among many others. He has directed world premieres by composers such as Turnage, MacMillan, Henze, Schnittke, Nyman, Stewart Copeland and more. His early work was sponsored by Joe Strummer of The Clash. He has collaborated closely with Hans Werner Henze, Ludovico Einaudi, members of the punk band Killing Joke, on several projects with Industrial group Test Dept, reggae star Eddy Grant, jazz pianist Uri Caine, and the classical violin virtuoso Daniel Hope.
A published playwright and librettist, his work has been performed at leading theatres including the Donmar, Royal Exchange, Gate, BBC TV, radio, and internationally. Jonathan was asked by Mark Rylance to direct the large scale immersive project for over fifty performers: What You Will, a co-production for Shakespeare’s Globe, The Cultural Olympiad, and Mayor’s Office. This was followed by several subsequent Shakespeare projects. He won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Best Director and Best Libretto awards at the Munich Biennale, two Edinburgh Festival Fringe First awards and an Olivier award nomination. His recent play “Inigo,” about Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits, had a successful Off West End run before transferring to a larger venue. It is published in English and Spanish. A collection of his earlier plays has also been published. He is on the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He has had a Who’s Who entry since 2007 and was on the front cover of Time Out Magazine. He has been a guest speaker on the Arts at Oxford University, the London School of Economics and on several BBC TV and Radio arts discussion programs.
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. Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson Artistic 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.
About Reel Captivation
Reel Captivation is a creative, full service studio based in Chicago. Reel Captivation’s capabilities cover all aspects of video production from motion graphics and design, to 3D animation, visual effects and more. The team consists of talented directors, designers, editors, animators, and writers all working hard to tell a story and creating unique, captivating, informative and easily digestible videos for even the most complex products or services.