CHICAGO – Chicago Opera Theater (COT) presents “The Invention of Morel,” a world premiere of the co-commissioned opera composed by Stewart Copeland, co-founder and drummer of The Police. Based on Argentinian author Adolfo Bioy Casares’ 1940 novel “La invención de Morel,” Copeland’s new adaptation examines the triumph of time-bending love over convention in a story of adoration and desire. “The Invention of Morel” features London-based actor, director and writer Jonathan Moore as Stage Director/Librettist together with COT’s Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek as Conductor. The press performance will be February 18 at 7:30 p.m. Subsequent performances will be February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and February 26 at 3 p.m.
“The idea of making an opera out of ‘Morel’ came from my 18-year-old daughter, Grace,” said Composer Stewart Copeland. “She was drawn to the device of the two lovers meeting on the same beach, but living in different times in history. Music is the perfect way to create the effect of Morel’s invention of never-ending time loops. The feeling of reality going around and around is how music works and provides a way to represent the overlapping and contrasting realities of the story.”
“I’ve got a pretty clear idea of how music can drive emotion, which is why I’m so keen on opera—it’s the most fun a composer can have with his clothes on,” Copeland added.
An escaped fugitive arrives on an isolated, strange island. While exploring his surroundings, he observes a group of tourists, including one particularly beautiful woman with whom he becomes obsessed. However, something is not quite right in this paradise. He discovers these eccentric visitors exist in an alternate reality created by a futuristic invention of Morel, a mad, scientific genius who controls both the present and the past.
The orchestra for “The Invention of Morel” is comprised of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project, a critically acclaimed ensemble performing contemporary classical music in a variety of venues in the Chicago area lead by Artistic Director and founder Stephen Burns. Now in its 16th year, Fulcrum Point has presented performances with settings as diverse as the Field Museum, Old St. Pat’s, the National Museum of Mexican Art, Ravinia Festival, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, where the ensemble is a resident company.
In 1998, musician, conductor, and music educator Stephen Burns was invited by Performing Arts Chicago to create a series of innovative new music programs. Fulcrum Point New Music Project is a member of New Music Chicago.
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 and Scott Brunscheen as Alec/Ombrellieri. Additional cast members will be announced at a future date.
Chicago Opera Theater recognizes Season Sponsors Roger and Julie Baskes and Gregory O’Leary and Patricia Kenney, as well as Production Sponsors including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bill and Orli Staley and Virginia Tobiason.
Saturday, February 18, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 26, 3 p.m.
Tickets for “The Invention of Morel” ($39 – $125) can be purchased by calling 312.704.8414 or by visiting chicagooperatheater.org.
Chicago Opera Theater’s season continues on April 22 with the Chicago premiere of Philip Glass’ “The Perfect American,” a fictionalized biography of Walt Disney’s life told through the musical lens of Philip Glass, melding delusions of the American Dream, immortality, and an empire.
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 world’s 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.
A published playwright and librettist, his work has been performed at leading theatres including the Donmar, Royal Exchange, Gate, BBC TV, radio and internationally. Moore was asked by Mark Rylance to direct the large scale immersive project for more than 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. Moore 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.
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. General 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 Long Beach Opera
Founded in 1979, the Long Beach Opera is the oldest operatic producing company in the metropolitan Los Angeles/Orange County region. LBO has a repertoire of over ninety operas, including early and late Baroque works, twentieth century works, and operas of special interest from the standard repertory. General Director Andreas Mitisek has continued LBO’s longstanding artistic philosophy of presenting an expanded vision of opera since accepting the role in 2004.
Long Beach Opera is a recognized member of the American operatic community, enjoying funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Long Beach.