I just returned from an extended work/pleasure trip to Chicago where I attended the newest installation of the Chicago Cultural Center’s Summer Opera program, founded in 1999 and continuing under the impeccable and stellar leadership of producer Helen Vasey. Helen has produced three operas since I left – Rossini’s il Signor Bruschino in 2007, Bizet’s Djamileh in 2008 and Handel’s Acis and Galatea in 2009. Since I moved to New York City in late 2006, my travel schedule unfortunately has not until now allowed me to catch the operas in ’07 or ’08. I’m usually quite a harsh critic, but I felt that this production of Acis was an unqualified triumph and a stunning success! I really loved the production by Joanie Schultz and thought that the performances were uniformly excellent, including the lead roles, taken on by Amy Conn and John Zuckerman, and the fabulous performance of the New Millennium Orchestra under the direction of Francesco Milioto.
Here is a review by Andrew Patner which appeared recently – I’m honored that he mentioned me but the real credit goes to the superb Helen Vasey who has really made this program her own and continued in fine fashion with high artistic and creative standards. Bravi to all involved!