Music of The Baroque teams up with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the North Shore Center for the Midwest premiere of Concert Theatre Works' 'The Chevalier' Feb. 18 - 20

  • Pictured: Bill Barclay Bronwen Sharp

    Pictured: Bill Barclay Bronwen Sharp

 
 
Updated 9/9/2021 9:17 AM

In partnership with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts and Concert Theater Works, Music of the Baroque presents the Midwest premiere of "The Chevalier," a new concert theater work written and directed by Bill Barclay Feb. 18-20, 2022.

"The Chevalier" is about the life and music of 18th-century Black composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a master composer, virtuoso violinist, a friend of Mozart's, music teacher to Marie Antoinette, the finest fencer in Europe, general of Europe's first Black regiment and a crusader for the abolishment of slavery. Taking a "concert theater" approach, featuring the interplay of four actors with orchestral and chamber music excerpts, Barclay blends Bologne's remarkable history with his own compositions, ultimately conflating the French Revolution with the social and political unrest in society today.

 

It is 1778 and a bedridden, bankrupt Mozart is carried into the Chevalier's kitchen. In spite of obvious differences, these two men of genius forge a friendship of equals navigating the new racial politics of a city hostile to outsiders. At the same time, the Chevalier's weekly music lessons with Marie Antoinette associate him with the monarchy at a time of civil unrest, and he must choose between his loyalty to the crown and the violent pursuit of abolition while Revolution inflames France.

"The Chevalier," features music by Joseph Bologne (1745-1799) with additional music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Christoph Willibald Glück (1714-1787). Dame Jane Glover will conduct the Music of the Baroque Orchestra at all three Chicago-area locations in selections showcasing the breadth of Bologne's compositional output, from violin concertos to symphonies, string quartets to ballets. Music arrangements are by Barclay.

"In 'The Chevalier' Bill Barclay has created a concert drama that resonates in current times," says Music of the Baroque executive Director Declan McGovern. "It tells the story and presents the music of a composer of color who battled injustice in the 18th century, but whose story speaks just as strongly in today's changing world. We at Music of the Baroque are delighted to team up with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts and the Kehrein Center for the Arts to ensure that as many people as possible, from every corner of our community, have the opportunity to experience the remarkable life and music of Joseph Bologne."

"The Chevalier," written and directed by Bill Barclay, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at the North Shore Center in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd., and 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

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Individual concert tickets are $25-$100 and are available now through the box offices of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (northshorecenter.org) and Symphony Center (cso.org). Discounts for groups, students and seniors are available.

More information about the 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 performance at Kehrein Center for the Arts will be available at a later date.

For more information about Music of the Baroque and "The Chevalier" visit baroque.org.

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