A new opera festival launches in Chicago

Posted on: July 28, 2021

“Even in the best of times, it’s hard enough for a new opera company to get off the ground, much less one with a single-minded focus on Italian works rarely heard Stateside,” writes Hannah Edgar in Friday’s (7/23) Chicago Tribune. “But Opera Festival of Chicago president Franco Pomponi is adamant that the nascent company fills a void for audiences and artists. A Chicago native and longtime presence on the major stages of Europe, Pomponi says he often finds himself in a Catch-22 between his bel canto training and American companies’ usual warhorses…. The Opera Festival of Chicago soft-launched over the past year with digital programming…. The creative team maintains that this year’s model—in which apprentices work as peers alongside laureled professionals—will remain a hallmark of the festival … It was already April when the festival’s board of directors gave the green light to plan toward summer … with COVID-necessitated caveats…. Some of the festival’s more ambitious plans—like [Verdi’s] ’I vespri sicilianni’ … remain on the horizon. But the festival’s current lineup of one-acts … [Puccini’s] ‘Il tabarro’ … and [Wolf-Ferrari’s] ‘Il segreto’ … ‘are masterworks, and they’re not being done in Chicago,’ … music director Emanuele Andrizzi says.”