Chicago Fringe Opera presents a Spotlight Series concert as part of the Ear Taxi Festival including song cycles by Libby Larsen, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Dominick Argento, and features singers Megan Fletcher, Jennifer Schuler, Bridget Skaggs, and David Govertsen, with pianist Mark Bilyeu.

The program is inspired by the letter scene in opera, a dramatic device typically employed to express heightened inner emotion or key plot twists.  In art song, this device is transformed through settings of historical letters that convey the beauty of real-life language and drama.

Repertoire includes works based on a variety of literary sources.  Calamity Jane’s letters to her daughter, Janey, reveal the rough and tumble life of an American frontierswoman in the 19th century (“Songs from Letters”, Libby Larsen).  Mistress Ford and Mistress Page confide in one another the love letters they’ve each received, only to discover they were issued from the same pen, that of John Falstaff (Act II trio from “Sir John in Love”, Ralph Vaughan Williams, after Shakespeare).  The program concludes with the correspondence between actress Olga Knipper and playwright Anton Chekhov during their four-year marriage until his death in 1904 (“A Few Words about Chekhov”, Dominick Argento).
Pairing literary works with site, the event is hosted by after-words, an independent Chicago bookstore.
While singers will be unmasked during the performance, all audience members are required to be masked before entering the bookstore, and to remain masked at all times.

Cast

Mark Bilyeu

Piano

Megan Fletcher

Soprano

Jenny Schuler

Soprano

Bridget Skaggs

Mezzo-Soprano

David Govertsen

Bass-Baritone
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.