Chicago Fringe Opera (CFO), called Chicago's "alt-opera company" (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune), announces the spring portion of its seventh season. Built within the parameters of our global pandemic, the company's spring projects feature an eclectic mix of virtual productions.
CFO is dedicated to presenting innovative vocal works with an emphasis on contemporary music, engaging with a diverse Chicago community through intimate and immersive performance experiences, and empowering local artists.
CFO's work has received the American Prize Award in Opera Performance (2018-2019) and will have the film "Corsair", an episode of the Decameron Opera Collective's "Tales from a Safe Distance", featured in the Library of Congress.
A City of Works: Pilot Season
A site-specific digital experience
Episode Release Dates:
Friday April 16
Friday April 30
Friday May 14
As many find themselves without work in these unprecedented times, artists search for new and innovative ways to produce meaningful experiences for audiences. CFO uses this opportunity to expand the boundaries of the operatic art form, embracing new concepts, bideologies, and approaches, while redefining how and where audiences experience the power of opera.
CFO has always held the support and engagement of Chicago artists as core to its mission, consistently hiring local musicians and production staff. A City of Works f urthers that commitment by commissioning short songs from nine Chicago composers. Each composition is written for one or two vocalists along with a single instrumentalist, and each work is inspired by one of Chicago's 50 unique wards. Now more than ever, a variety of voices must be given a platform to be heard; CFO commits to ensuring that the artists commissioned and the neighborhoods selected represent the many aspects - including those of race, ethnicity,
economics, gender, sexuality, and ability - that contribute to the rich cultural scene of our city. A City of Works - an oblique reference to former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's moniker for Chicago - combines the power of music and design in a series of site-specific digital experiences. Evoking the ethereal nature of theatre itself, audiences embark on individual journeys to landmarks throughout our city, unlocking audio and video content, and joining a collective experience to watch performances through individual personal devices.
Arriving at specific locations, audiences scan a QR code on their smartphone to access a music video of a given newly-commissioned work, the piece having been filmed at that locale, creating a fleeting yet shared theatrical experience. The project eliminates the need for the gathering of groups of people while leaving content both free of charge and accessible at any time to audiences.
CFO Music Director Catherine O'Shaughnessy, CFO Artistic Director George Cederquist and CFO Resident Designer Brad Caleb Lee have collaborated with the following composer/librettist pairs to create camera operas of their world premiere compositions (listed in alphabetical order):
Renée Baker (composer & librettist)
Seth Boustead (composer) & Darius Parker (librettist)
Grace Coberly (composer & librettist)
Tomás Gueglio (composer & librettist)
K. F. Jacques (composer & librettist)
Heidi Joosten (composer & librettist)
Michael Oldham (composer & librettist)
Matthew Recio (composer & librettist)
Libby Rudolph (composer) & Laura Stratford (librettist)
Details on singers and instrumentalists to follow.
Sounds of Pride 2021
CFO celebrates Pride Month by featuring musical programming composed and performed by members of the LGBTQ community.
Date and time: Saturday, June 26, 2021, 7:30 p.m. Available digitally.