It is 1778 and a bedridden, bankrupt Mozart is carried into the kitchen of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. 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.
Music of the Baroque, in partnership with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, and Concert Theatre Works, presents the Midwest premiere of The Chevalier, a "concert theater" work written and directed by Bill Barclay (formerly music director of the Globe Theater). Known as “The Chevalier de Saint-Georges,” 18th-century Black composer Joseph Bologne was a virtuoso violinist, a friend of Mozart and Marie Antoinette, the finest fencer in Europe, general of Europe’s first Black regiment, and a crusader for the abolishment of slavery. Weaving together Bologne’s own music with semi-staged dialogue, The Chevalier ultimately offers a thoughtful meditation on the true nature of equality. Learn more about The Chevalier here.
The Chevalier stars four accomplished actors including Barclay as Choderlos de Laclos; R.J. Foster as Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges; Merritt Janson as Marie Antoinette, and David Joseph as Mozart. Dame Jane Glover conducts the Music of the Baroque Orchestra and violin soloist Brendon Elliott, who performs as the violinist Bologne.
Admission for this event is free, thanks to the generous support of the Zell Family Foundation. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination and a picture ID is required for entry. View complete information about Covid-19 protocols here. For information about how to create a digital vaccination card through the Illinois Department of Public Health, click here.
Written and directed by Bill Barclay
Music by Joseph Bologne
Additional music by Mozart & Glück
Music arranged by Bill Barclay
Commissioned by The Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2018
Debuted at the Tanglewood Learning Institute in 2019
Finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in 2020
Recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Grant in 2021
"The Chevalier" is generously supported by the Zell Family Foundation.