Making of a Petite Opera Chicago Premiere: Part 2

We continue our series on the
Making of a Chicago Premiere.
In our last post, we noted
that creating a Chicago Premiere involves some careful selection to make
certain the “recipe” is just right, and discussed selecting the right version.  Now, for Step 2:
1959 Edgewater Beach, Chicago’s shoreline
the correct time period…

1959 is just so
appropriate for a time period to set this piece.  Mozart and Da Ponte
wrote during the turbulent times surrounding the French Revolution, highlighted
class interactions and pushed the cultural mores of the time.  By setting
the piece in 1959, Toscas captured the same sense of struggle and change in the
move from conservatism (1950’s)  to liberalism (1960’s) in America.
 It was a time were women were
objectified, making it believable
that the bet could take place.  
Chicago Tribune Sunday magazine
Nov 1959 featuring Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe in Chicago 1959

By setting the update in 1959,
Petite Opera was also able to capitalize on the
popularity and interest of the
TV show “MadMen”, set during the same time period.  For patrons
who didn’t live through the era, MadMen has been eye-opening to a
wide range of behaviors common during the times.  This stands in sharp
contrast to the iconic images of “golly, gee whiz” period TV shows, like “Leave It
To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best”.
“We really see this
version as MadMen Meets Mozart. It definitely pushes the limits,” Baushke points out.  The version makes no apologies for departing from the traditional–so purists, beware! 
 However, it
is fitting for Petite Opera’s typical audience, which is primarily new patrons.  “Patrons will be able to see aspects of themselves in the characters, and have fun looking into the behaviors of a former era.  “And patrons likely will get a free abs workout by laughing so much,” she adds.

Have a favorite photo of the 1959 Chicago era that you’d like to share with Petite Opera? Email us your .jpg files of people, cityscape, artifacts, fashion and hair styles, and pop culture icons, and we may include them in upcoming blogposts!  Email us at
Petite Opera performs Cosi fan
tutte (Everyone Is Just the Same)
 November 8-23, 2013 at Mary
Wilson House Beyer Auditorium, part of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church campus, 306
S Prospect Ave at Crescent Ave (enter on Crescent Ave), Park Ridge, IL.
 Call 847-553-4442 to reserve tickets, or 
purchase tickets online via credit card (convenience
charges apply to credit card orders). 
Petite Opera is a
professional 501c3 opera company