Re-Imagining Shakespearean Works in Opera | Newberry

Re-Imagining Shakespearean Works in Opera

Henry Purcell, The Fairy Queen

Henry Purcell, The Fairy Queen

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Curator-led tour: 5:15 pm. Reception: 5:30 pm. Program: 6 pm.

Ruggles Hall

Presented in partnership with the Chicago Opera Theater
Free and open to the public, registration is requested.
Open to the Public
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Other Renaissance Programs

Join us for a discussion and sneak peek performance of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2016 production of The Fairy Queen, by Henry Purcell. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream premiered in 1692, creating an opera based on the masques from the original play. COT, in partnership with Culture Clash, has taken the adaptation one step further by re-imagining Purcell’s opera to explore and comment on the multicultural America we live in today. Opera aficionados and first-timers alike will learn something new about Shakespearean opera and classical music adaptation throughout history, and hear behind-the-scenes information on COT’s performance.

Adapting and re-imagining works of Shakespeare has become an art form in itself. No other playwrights or authors have had their work recreated quite like the Bard himself. Shakespeare’s works not only transcend time, setting, and language, but his themes, story lines, and characters cross mediums and methods of storytelling.


  • Linda Phyllis Austern, Associate Professor, Musicology at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University
  • Andreas Mitisek, COT’s Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director and Stage Director/Production Designer for The Fairy Queen
  • Jory Vinikour, Conductor for The Fairy Queen and two-time Grammy® Award nominated harpsichordist


  • Kimberly Eileen Jones, “The Plaint” from The Fairy Queen
  • Cedric Berry, “Arise, Ye Subterranean Winds,” from Purcell’s The Tempest, added to Chicago Opera Theater’s Fairy Queen
  • Marc Molomot, “Thus, thus (Chinese man)” from The Fairy Queen

Chicago Opera Theater will perform The Fairy Queen at the Studebaker Theater November 5, 11, and 13.

This event is part of programming related to the Newberry exhibition Creating Shakespeare, which runs from September 23 to December 31, 2016. The curators of the exhibition will lead guided tours before the performance. To join one, meet in the lobby at 5:15 pm.

Explore the Newberry’s Shakespeare-related collection, and materials in about early opera in the collection.

Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public, but registration is requested by the afternoon of October 26. Please register here

Your registration will be helpful for those planning this program, and the associated reception and tour. Registrations will be accepted until the afternoon of October 26, or until the maximum number of registrations has been reached. Seating for registrants will be at a first-come, first-served basis. If space permits, walk-ins will be welcome to this program, though priority will be given to those who register.