site analytics


  • Grand Illusion (2019) 19’ • soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, bass baritone, piano
    Jerre Dye

    Chicago Opera Theater for the Vanguard Initiative

    In 1908, a young girl and her father go to a magic show in Chicago, where there’s more to the act than meets the eye.

    This original story takes place at the Studebaker Theatre on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, and alternates between 1908 and 1920.

    Abigail (Soprano) - a daughter, both 9 years old and 21 years old
    Passerby/Ticket Taker/Magician’s Assistant (Mezzo-Soprano) - the memory of a passerby, a ticket taker, and the magician’s assistant
    Father (Baritone) - the memory of her father
    Magician (Bass Baritone) - the memory of a prestidigitator
    Stacks Image 5795

    Please note that the opera is performed without any breaks. It has been divided below for ease of listening.

    1. No one saw it in the cards
    Chicago, 1920: Abigail, age 20, walks into the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, where she remembers a tragic afternoon when she was 8 years old.

    2. The magician’s marquee
    Chicago, 1908: In her memory, 8-year old Abigail and her father stand in front of the marquee outside the Studebaker, excited to see the French magician Monsieur Francois Miraculeaux and his beautiful assistant.

    3. Death by milk truck
    Chicago, 1920: Abigail reveals the tragic reason her father brought her to the magic show that fateful day.

    4. The magic show
    Chicago, 1908: In her memory, Abigail and her father watch the magician and his assistant perform a number of magic acts. When Abigail sees the assistant, she can’t shake the feeling she’s seen those eyes before.

    5. Vanished…gone…where to?
    Chicago, 1908: In her memory, Abigail asks her father what happened to her mother.

    6. No one saw it in the cards (reprise)
    Chicago, 1920: Abigail reprises her opening aria, wondering why her father concealed her mother’s death from her for so many years.

    Chicago Opera Theater Young Artists:
    Abigail - Samantha Schmid
    Passerby/Ticket Taker/Magician’s Assistant - Emma Ritter
    Father - John Mathieu
    Magician - Ryan Stoll
    Piano - Josh Quinn

    From the world premiere performance of Grand Illusion (Music by COT Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer Stacy Garrop, libretto by Jerre Dye, Directed by Amy Hutchison) at COT's 2019 Gala, April 28th, 2019 at The Blackstone Hotel. Performed by COT Young Artists: John Mathieu (Baritone), Josh Quinn (Pianist), Emma Ritter (Mezzo), Samantha Schmid (Soprano), Ryan Stoll (Bass-Baritone). Photos by Eric Kirkes.

    Stacks Image 5793

    Stacks Image 5778
    Stacks Image 5780

    Stacks Image 5787

    Stacks Image 5918