Opera Fest of Chicago Returns for Summertime Italian Opera

By Keegan Morris |

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Baritone Franco Pomponi, the festival's artistic director

Opera Festival of Chicago returns for its 2024 season. The festival, whose first season took place in 2021, is dedicated to presenting seldom-performed Italian opera titles. This year, the ensemble will share two programs in June and July.

First up is Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, held at Cahn Auditorium on the Northwestern University campus. The company’s production offers split casts across three performances – Maria Natale will play the title character in the June 27 and 30 performances, with Jessica Sandidge stepping into the role on June 29. Eric Dubin will play her brother, Lescaut, in all performances. Music director Emanuele Andrizzi will conduct.

The second production comes July 11 and 14: a dark 20th-century double feature of Luigi Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium. Franco Pomponi, the festival’s artistic director, will be the titular prisoner in the first work, and Laura McCauley (Monica) and Viktoria Vizin (Madame Flora) share top billing in The Medium. Andrizzi again conducts these performances, which will be held at the Athenaeum Center in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

For more information, visit operafestivalchicago.org.