But Craig Trompeter was unfazed. Or put another way, he wanted to present works as closely as possible to the way audiences would have experienced them at the time of their creation. The four-character story, which centers on a woman stranded on an island with her younger sister, manages to weave farcical humor with genuinely affecting moments. Not only is Haymarket the only company in Chicago devoted to a total period style, it is also among just a handful of such producers anywhere.

According to Stubbs, the year-old Boston festival, which has been at the forefront of the field, and Opera Atelier in Toronto, Ontario, are the only such companies in North America, aside from Haymarket.

But even in such settings, Stubbs said, modern productions tend to be mixed in. There are a lot of politics against it. These period-instrument productions gave audiences a taste of what might be possible.

Trompeter is always on the hunt for forgotten treasures, but he adheres to certain parameters. Is it a Paper Mache Company piece, number 1?

And is it something we can manage physically? Beginning with its fifth-anniversary season inHaymarket added two components to its annual offerings — a March oratorio and a summer course in Baroque opera for young vocal artists. At the heart of the company are internationally recognized keyboardist Jory Vinikour and a fine pit Kirkwood Stair Company comprising Chicago-area musicians and nomadic period-instrument specialists.

Too often, she said, period-instrument musicians are paid less than their counterparts in modern orchestras. For the recent Haydn opera, the company assembled its largest orchestra to date — 20 musicians.

Vinikour performed on a fortepiano, and the wind players used instruments authentic to that period. She is a Baroque-dance specialist who said the training is important because so much of the acting in the 17th- and 18th-century centuries employs prescribed body movements and gestures that emphasize certain words and musical phrases.

She studies treatises on dance and acting from the period and looks at historic paintings to see how bodies were positioned. The company draws on a pool of regular performers, but Trompeter also makes a point of adding new voices to each production for the Florida Distributing Company Salary of variety.

So far, Haymarket has had little trouble finding them. We have a really good reputation now, and I get a lot of inquiries. One of those regulars is McCord, a Chicago singer who studied in London with soprano Emma Kirkbythe noted early-music specialist, on Haymarket Opera Company Chicago Fulbright scholarship.

Haymarket Opera Company Chicago has appeared in three Haymarket productions and has nothing but praise for the company. As the company looks to the future, Trompeter anticipates the same gradual growth it has enjoyed so far, allowing Haymarket to take carefully calculated risks without sacrificing artistic quality or financial stability. In addition, he plans to schedule a concert performance or two each season for the orchestra as way to help fill the void left by the dissolution earlier this year of the Baroque Band, the Chicago-based period-instrument chamber orchestra.

While Haymarket is never likely to challenge Lyric Opera or Chicago Opera Theater, it has a developed a successful niche by making the old new and appealing to both opera devotees and newcomers. Kyle MacMillan served as music critic Farm Supply Company Santa Maria the Denver Post from through Haymarket artistic and music director Craig Trompeter.

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Home — Haymarket Opera Company

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