Monday, March 30, 2009

Become an Opera Patron – and defile an opera set at the same time.

(March 19, 2009 --- Chicago, IL) How does a young theater company produce a punk opera during an economic recession? Graffiti! By visiting, anyone can become an opera patron – and defile an opera set at the same time.

“This important 20th century work about punks and skinheads warrants an equally anti-establishment approach to fundraising and design,” says Artistic Director Eric Reda. “I can think of no better way to do justice to the spirit of GREEK than to invite the public to become collaborators in the creation of the piece while at the same time inviting them to become micro-patrons.”

For as little as $1, COV invites anyone and everyone to tag the GREEK Graffiti Wall. Each dollar purchases a 4x4 pixel on the virtual wall, each pixel can be filled with any upload-able image, and every image on the wall will be incorporated the final backdrop and video display of the production.

Plus, every dollar contributed to Chicago Opera Vanguard’s production of GREEK constitutes a chance to win an exclusive VIP opening night package, including hotel, dinner and admission to the production.

More information on the GREEK Graffiti Wall, please visit


Chicago Opera Vanguard - the city’s new home for cutting edge musical theater – continues its inaugural Season Ø with the Chicago premier of GREEK by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Mead Composer in Residence Mark-Anthony Turnage.

GREEK sets the ancient Oedipus myth in the economically depressed Britain of the 1980’s, where becoming a violent punk is a working class kid’s means of survival. Thatcher’s London is afflicted by a plague of racism, violence and mass unemployment. The city is overrun with violent policemen, old drunks and football hooligans. Based on Steven Berkoff’s play by the same title, GREEK was an immediate success at its 1988 Munich Biennale premiere.


Mark-Anthony Turnage is among the most relevant and innovative creators of concert music today. His orchestral and operatic music is often forthright and confrontational, unafraid to mirror the realities of modern life, yet its energy is exhilarating. With his flair for vivid titles, and his complete absorption of jazz elements into a contemporary classical style, Turnage produces work with a strong appeal to an enquiring, often young audience. Born in Britain in 1960, Turnage studied with Oliver Knussen and John Lambert, and later with Gunther Schuller.

With the encouragement of Hans Werner Henze, he wrote GREEK, his first opera, for the Munich Biennale festival. GREEK received a triumphant premiere in 1988. The many ensuing productions worldwide established Turnage’s international reputation.

Turnage is currently Mead Composer in Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Much of Turnage’s music is recorded on Decca, Chandos and Black Box. Recently, Turnage was tapped to compose the music for an opera detailing the life of Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith.

GREEK performs 8PM Tuesday May 26 [preview], Thursday May 28, Saturday May 30, Wednesday June 3, Friday June 5 and Saturday June 6, at the AV-Aerie, 2000 W. Fulton St. Admission is by reservation only. Suggested General Admission is a donation of $35 Wednesday & Thursday; $40 Friday & Saturday; $20 preview. Suggested Student Admission is a donation of $10 Thursday & Sunday; $15 Friday & Saturday; $5 preview. Tickets are available online at

The ensemble features baritone Justin Neal Adair as “Eddy”, soprano Ashlee Hardgrave, mezzo-soprano Caitlin McKechney and baritone Brad Jungwirth. Chicago Opera Vanguard Artistic Director Eric Reda directs the production with music direction by Chris Ramaekers [Northwestern].

The extensive design team includes set by John Sundling [DePaul, Yale], sound by Florian Staab [Liz Luhrman Dance], lighting by Richard Ebeling, murals designed by Rob Funderburk, and costumes by Philip Dawkins.

About Chicago Opera Vanguard:

Employing the daring aesthetic of an off-Loop theater, Chicago Opera Vanguard is dedicated to creating the Mid-West’s foremost home for engaging theater with music by commissioning new works, giving a second voice to daring music-theater pieces, and by completely re-imagining operatic favorites. More information on current and future Chicago Opera Vanguard productions can be found at

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