Best Opera Company at a Turning Point

Chicago Opera Theater

Critics' Picks

Next fall's production of The Magic Flute will mark the end of an era at Chicago Opera Theater. It'll be the last COT show planned by Brian Dickie, who's retiring in August after a 13-year stretch as general director. During Dickie's tenure, COT developed its reputation for staging excellent, innovative versions of baroque and modern works on a modest budget. Dickie also oversaw the company's 2004 move from the modest Athenaeum Theatre in Lakeview to the 1,525-seat, state-of-the-art Harris Theater in Millennium Park—which brought its own set of advantages and challenges. His successor, Andreas Mitisek, is likely to take the company even further into adventurous territory. Mitisek will be splitting his time between COT and his current job as artistic and general director of the Long Beach Opera, where he staged Grigori Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank in parking garages and Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus & Euridice at an Olympic swimming pool. The Mitisek era at COT will begin in February, with The Fall of the House of Usher as adapted by Philip Glass.