Friday, May 17, 2013

Sergio Mims: "Duke Ellington's 'Queenie Pie' to be performed at the Chicago Opera Theater next season"

The University of Texas at Austin announced the above release on Longhorn Records on April 8, 2010: University’s Record Label Releases “Queenie Pie,” Duke Ellington’s Only Opera

Sergio Mims forwards this press release:


COT’s 2014 Season is 100% 20th Century and 150% COT
with works by Duke Ellington, Carl Orff,  Viktor Ullmann and Ernest Bloch

CHICAGO (May 17, 2013) – Chicago Opera Theater (COT) General Director Andreas Mitisek today announces programming for COT’s 2014 season, including two operas and a double-bill of one-acts. Mitisek comments, “It’s a season that is 100% 20th century and 150% COT.  New, rare and with contemporary relevance for a curious audience that is hungry for new theatrical experiences.”  The season opens with the Chicago Premiere of Duke Ellington’s Queenie PieFebruary 15 – 23, 2014.  In the spring, COT presents a double-bill of Carl Orff’s Die Kluge and Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von AtlantisMay 31 – June 8, 2014.  The season wraps in the fall with the Chicago Premiere of Ernest Bloch’s MacbethSeptember 13 – 21, 2014.  Mitisek also comments We increased our subscriber family by 18.5% in 2013. COT is THE place for adventure and discovery.  We invite our audience on a journey into the good and evil of ambition.”

About the Season
Duke Ellington’s only opera and one of his fairly unknown and rarely performed works, Queenie Pie,  blends big band sound and clever lyrics with the musical styles of opera, jazz and musical theater.  The title character, Queenie Pie, was inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker, the first African American self-made woman millionaire, who developed and sold a line of hair and beauty products through innovative mail orders and door-to-door sales.  Interested in the opera genre since the 1940s, Ellington started composing Queenie Pie in 1962, when he received a commission from the New York public TV station WNET.  In collaboration with librettist Betty McGettigan, he worked on the opera from 1967 to his death in 1974, but the work remained unfinished.  Since then, different versions have been produced (1986 in Philadelphia and Washington, DC; 1993 in Brooklyn; and 2008 by the Oakland Opera Theater).  COT performs the version that librettist McGettigan created for the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, proclaiming it to be the closest to Ellington's original vision.  For this production, COT partners with the renowned Chicago Jazz Orchestra.  Queenie Pie is also planned as a co-production with Long Beach Opera, CA.  COT performs Queenie Pie at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street, February 15 – 23, 2014.

Tickets and Subscriptions
Three-opera subscriptions start at $95 and go on sale July 1, 2013.  Individual tickets go on sale January 6, 2014.  Subscriptions and tickets may be purchased through Chicago Opera Theater at or by phone at 312-704-8414.

About Chicago Opera Theater
Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program. 

Experience MORE OF THE DIFFERENT with Chicago Opera Theater!

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit

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