World premiere of Marhulet’s The Property to be presented at the Logan Center
February 25–27, 2015
June 12, 2014
Lyric Unlimited, a new initiative of Lyric Opera of Chicago, continues its multifaceted program of expanded community engagement, artistic initiatives, and Lyric's longstanding education programs with the world premiere of The Property, a klezmer opera to be presented in partnership with the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, February 25–27, 2015. Commissioned by Polish composer Wlad Marhulets, The Property will feature the work of librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, director Eric Einhorn, and performances by members of Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer Band.
The 28-year-old Los Angeles-based Wlad Marhulets—winner of the Susan W. Rose Fund Grant, the Peter D. Faith Prize, and five ASCAP Awards (including their prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award)—has been commissioned to write the opera. Adapted from the acclaimed graphic novel by Rutu Modan, The Property tells the story of Regina Segal and her granddaughter Mica, who travel to modern Warsaw to try to regain family property lost during World War II. As their journey unfolds, Regina is forced to confront painful truths about her past, while Mica realizes their reasons for coming might not be all that they seemed.
Librettist Stephanie Fleischmann adapted the novel with director Eric Einhorn. Like the story, Marhulets’s vision for the work will incorporate traditional and modern musical styles—from klezmer to funk—to illustrate that the work exists in two places: memory and modern day.
Marhulets is known for incorporating klezmer influences into his work. His Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet and Orchestra had its world premiere by clarinetist David Krakauer with the Detroit Symphony in December 2009, and he has composed many smaller-scale chamber works that utilize the distinctive klezmer sound.
As a klezmer opera, The Property will draw on the Eastern European and Jewish references from Modan’s original story. The work is scored for a cast of six singers and a klezmer ensemble of seven instrumentalists, featuring members of Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer Band.
The Property will feature three performances at the Logan Center on Wednesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, February 27 at 1 p.m. It will also be performed at Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 5, both at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20 and will go on sale on July 1 at lyricopera.org/property or 312-827-5600.
The world premiere of The Property is the centerpiece of a series of activities planned around Lyric’s mainstage performances of Mieczysław Weinberg’s 1968 The Passenger in February and March 2015. A recently rediscovered work that explores the devastating consequences of the Holocaust from the perspectives of both victim and perpetrator, it had its first complete staging at the Bregenz Festival in 2010 directed by David Pountney. Lyric presents the Chicago premiere of this acclaimed production. Weinberg’s father worked as a violinist and conductor in Yiddish theater, and provided Mieczysław with practical experience in and exposure to the traditional klezmer and liturgical Jewish music that informed his compositions.
Lyric Unlimited plans to present film screenings, chamber music recitals, symposia, and discussions at venues throughout Chicago in conjunction with The Passenger’s Chicago premiere. More information about these activities will be announced later this year.
About Lyric Unlimited
Announced in 2012, Lyric Unlimited is a long-term, evolving initiative that encompasses company activities outside of Lyric’s mainstage season. It was established to provide a relevant cultural service to communities throughout the Chicagoland area, including communities for whom opera and opera companies have been largely irrelevant; to explore a wide range of ways in which Lyric can collaborate with cultural and community organizations throughout the area; and to advance the development of opera, exploring ways in which opera as an art form can resonate more powerfully, and in a range of different ways, with people of multiple backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests.
About the Logan Center
The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, a multidisciplinary home for the arts at the University of Chicago, advances arts practice, inquiry, and presentation, and fosters meaningful collaboration and cultural engagement at the university, on the south side, and in the city of Chicago. Visit the Logan Center for events, exhibitions, and performances from world-class, emerging, local, and student artists.