A new Zoom opera honors the health-care workers fighting COVID | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

A new Zoom opera honors the health-care workers fighting COVID 

Plus: Country cat Lawrence Peters leads a workshop for aspiring record collectors, and rapper Defcee drops an expanded version of his latest EP.

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click to enlarge Bellissima Opera's Zoom production On Call: COVID-19 - COURTESY WORKING IN CONCERT
  • Bellissima Opera's Zoom production On Call: COVID-19
  • Courtesy Working in Concert

We can't know how many decades it will take for humanity to heal from the physical and psychological damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, but musicians are already honoring in song the dignity of the sick, suffering, and dead—and the bravery of their caregivers. The folks at Bellissima Opera, an incubator run by Chicago nonprofit Working in Concert, were so moved by the plight of health-care workers that they created the hour-long Zoom opera On Call: COVID-19. Soprano Christine Steyer wrote the libretto, and pianist David Shenton composed the music; the opera portrays Zoom calls among six medical professionals in New York City, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago, the Lombardy region of Italy, and a Syrian refugee camp. The opera's format, designed by director Carl Ratner, kept the cast safe—they all recorded at home. Tickets for the premiere (Saturday, April 17, at 7 PM and Sunday, April 18, at 2:30 PM) are available via Bellissima's website; for an extra $10, which includes a donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, ticketholders can attend a virtual postshow meet and greet.

New record collectors couldn't ask for a better guide than local DJ and country musician Lawrence Peters, who leads the Lawrence Peters Outfit, plays in the Golden Horse Ranch Band, and hosts two shows on Lumpen Radio. On Sunday, April 18, at 2 PM, Peters hosts a virtual Old Town School of Folk Music workshop, sharing tips on hunting down cool albums and storing and cleaning them once you've got them. Registration is $30 ($25 for Old Town members).

On Friday, Chicago rapper Defcee dropped a new version of the December EP Ceenick, cut with producer Nick Arcade. The expanded edition doubles the number of luxurious instrumentals and tongue-twisting verses and includes appearances by Rich Jones and Add-2.  v

  • The new version of Ceenick is twice as long as the original.

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