Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago begins the 2016-2017 season with the 5th annual Collaborative Works Festival, held at venues around Chicago from September 7-10, 2016. The 2016 Festival, La bonne chanson – The Influence of Paul Verlaine, will explore the influence of the seminal French poet his symbolist contemporaries on the composers of the Parisian Belle Époque.
The opening salon concert, presented in partnership with The Poetry Foundation on September 7, 2016, will explore the impact of Verlaine’s poetry on Claude Debussy. The composer was a young piano student of Verlaine’s mother-in-law, who was instrumental in his preparation for his entrance to the Paris Conservatory.
Debussy would later set Verlaine’s poetry to music more than that of any other poet. The concert will feature performances of all of Debussy’s song settings of Verlaine’s poetry, which account for almost a quarter of all of his song compositions. The evening’s musicians will be CAIC Artistic Director Nicholas Phan, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, pianists Matthew Gemmill and Scott Allen Jarrett, and soprano Sarah Shafer, whom the San Francisco Chronicle has praised for her “gleaming, powerful vocalism” and “probing dramatic intelligence”.