Aleksey Bogdanov in “The Nose.” (Michael Brosilow)
Call “The Nose” the quintessential opera of the absurd. It’s a laugh-inducing social satire based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol written in 1835 and composed by Dmitri Shostakovich between 1927 and 1928 (when he was just in his early 20s). Both these Russian artists were not only clearly ahead of their particular time, but each had a keen sense of the warped obsession with status in Russian society, particularly as exemplified by the governing military. The Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is putting on an elaborate production of “The Nose” that opened Friday evening in a wildly zany, two-performance-only run at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.
The show features a large, multitalented cast exuberantly directed by Francesca Zambello and zanily choreographed by Kia S. Smith (with six excellent dancers drawn from the South Chicago Dance Theatre), plus a superb orchestra led by Lidiya Yankovskaya in her final…
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