Scientific hubris, transcendental medicine, and the unexplainable supernatural.

The Great God Pan takes its story from an eponymous 1890 novella by Welsh author Arthur Machen, which explores themes of scientific hubris, transcendental medicine, and unexplainable supernatural behavior. Composer Ross Crean adapted Machen’s narrative into the work’s libretto himself, an ambitious and rare undertaking for a composer. The story begins with a surgery gone wrong. Dr. Raymond invites Mr. Clarke to witness an important experiment based on elements of nontraditional, ancient rituals. Raymond sacrifices his ward, Mary, as the subject of his attempt to access a higher spiritual plane – referred to as, “seeing the Great God Pan” – and unwittingly initiates a series of mysterious supernatural occurrences that Clarke encounters over the next few decades. Crean’s ingenuity in composing the accompanying piano parts with the sounds of strumming and plucking combine to make the music that much more vibrant. — Courtesy Naxos of America

This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

Music and Libretto by Ross Crean
Based on Arthur Machen’s novella



Helen, Mary
Clarke, Meyrick

Artistic Team

Music Director
Stage Director
Stage Manager
Technical Director
Rehearsal & Performance Pianist
Performance Pianist
Scenic Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer


Chicago Fringe Opera seems to seek out venues that fit the vibe of the work to be performed in some kind of meaningful way - a consistently refreshing aspect of their productions.



Supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, & the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Chicago Fringe Opera is an Opera America Partner.