Chicago Opera Theater's Joan of Arc All Ages Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m., Wed., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 29, 3 p.m. 2013

Chicago Opera Theater, which in its own words aims for “more of the different,” is staging a radical take on a seldom-produced opera that’s already pretty strange. Giuseppe Verdi’s Joan of Arc, first performed in 1845, has a history-be-damned libretto by Temistocle Solera in which Joan and the dauphin fall in love and Joan’s father, convinced that she’s been engaging in demon-driven hanky-panky with the future king, betrays her. She escapes death at the stake but (spoiler alert) suffers a mortal wound in battle. In this trimmed-down, 100-minute version, conceived by director David Schweizer, the opera is a “play within a play,” performed by members of a fundamentalist Christian sect. Hard to say if that’ll fly, but the wide-ranging score, while not considered one of Verdi’s best (it’s a relatively early work), has lots to recommend it. Soprano Suzan Hanson, seen earlier this year in COT’s The Fall of the House of Usher, is Joan; tenor Steven Harrison is King Carlo; and baritone Michael Chioldi is the father, Giacomo. Francesco Milioto conducts the New Millennium Orchestra. Italian, with English supertitles. —Deanna Isaacs

Price: $35-$125

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