Support the Chicago premiere of Nielsen’s MASKARADE

VOX 3 Collective, an organization that presents both rare repertoire and undisputed masterpieces of vocal art music, presents a series of events called Music & Masquerades: A Festival of Danish Arts and Culture from January through March 2014. Included are concerts and educational programs celebrating the music and culture of Denmark and its northern European neighbors, including Norway, Sweden, and Germany. See a complete list of festival events, ranging from opera to oratorio, song to symphony, choral to children’s programs.  You can contribute and be part of the art!

AN OPERA?  IN DANISH?  COME AGAIN?As a centerpiece of the festival, VOX 3 Collective is thrilled to present the Chicago premiere of Carl Nielsen’s three-act operatic masterpiece from 1906, Maskarade, featuring the Lakeview Orchestra conducted by Gregory Hughes and a cast of 32 talented Chicagoans directed by Brandon Hayes and Sally Eames. Rich in laughs and tuneful melody, the opera will be performed in Danish (with English supertitles) with full set, direction, and costumes at the grant yet intimate Vittum Theater. This comic romp pits the old against the new, as a headstrong son defies his father’s wishes and meets his lady love at a masked ball. Complications arise due to meddling parents and scheming servants. Problems are resolved, couples are united, and a wintry night is bathed in glittering light and glorious song.

This opera is a must-see for the Scandinavian community who can celebrate their heritage surrounded by their countrymen. Maskarade has much to offer music aficionados as well; symphony and opera buffs will enjoy the rare opportunity to see a professional production of Nielsen’s glorious score for far less than the cost of a European plane ticket. The culturally curious will appreciate the sumptuous eighteenth-century costumes, genuinely comic staging, and overall accessibility of this production. In the midst of another chilly January, all Chicagoans will sympathize with the servant Henrik, who notes that, in a land where cold and darkness often reign, entertaining escapes are especially vital.

WHY DENMARK?

VOX 3 has a history of exploring unfamiliar repertoire.  In the recent past, we have covered music from numerous cultures: from Greece, the Philippines, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Italy…and the list goes on. As part of our process of learning the music, we also explore the language and culture, reading related literary works, sampling the cuisine, and writing about our discoveries on our Collective Voice blog.  Denmark has made headlines recently for being the happiest country in the world, but little is known about its musical treasures, outside of perhaps a handful of Nielsen symphonies.  The festival centerpiece, the opera Maskarade, is a hysterical romp in the tradition of The Marriage of Figaro and Die Fledermaus, chock full of lively characters and gorgeous melody.  However, likely because of the language barrier, it has seen fewer than five North American productions.  Throughout the centuries, Denmark has collaborated and contributed to neighboring cultures; our festival concerts also explore those connections.  We highlight the cross-pollination of court and church composers in 17th century Denmark, in a concert of works by Baroque greats Buxtehude, Telemann, Schein, Bruhns, and Pedersøn.  We showcase symphonies from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and even Baltic neighbor Russia.  We explore art song repertoire from the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Grieg, Stenhammar, and Gade – and their less familiar compatriots.  We even introduce children to Denmark through folk dance and Hans Christian Andersen fairytales.

WHY A MUSIC FESTIVAL?

Culture creates community.  There are so many things that distract us, day after day.  But live performances center us, entertain us, focus us in the moment, and connect us to those wonderful feelings that make us human.  We laugh at the actors’ antics, we sigh at the lovers’ predicament, we meditate with the soothing sounds, we rejoice to the resounding brass chords.  VOX 3’s approach to art is not one of “look at us perform” – it is “let us enjoy this wonderful cultural bounty together.”

WHY SHOULD I HELP?

Arts funding is difficult.  That’s why VOX 3 makes every penny count.  We take $100 and make it look like $1000.  Our dedicated personnel donate much of their time and talent to make these events happen.  But there are costs with an event of this enormous scope, from the venue spaces to the set, lighting, costumes, and other production costs.  We’ve even had to have rare scores shipped from Copenhagen!  VOX 3 Collective is the proud recipient of grant funds from the Chicago Community Trust and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and special events.  We are also asking local businesses for their support.  But it is the individual contributions and connections we value most.  Thank you for your consideration.