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Orson Rehearsed Rehearsed

  • Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall, Roosevelt University 430 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL, 60605 United States (map)

Orson Rehearsed Rehearsed

Fifth House Ensemble, Robert Orth, Robert Frankenberry

Conducted by the Composer

January 19th 5-8 PM

The Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall

Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University


Members of the New Mercury Collective famed baritone Robert Orth (Orson/Ahab) and tenor Robert Frankenberry (Orson/Kane) join Chicago's Fifth House Ensemble, conducted by the composer, in an Open Reading Session from 5-8 PM on January 19th in the Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall  at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of acoustic and electro-acoustic arias from Orson Rehearsed, the post-genre musico-theatrical work Hagen is developing with members of the Fifth House Ensemble. The event is open to all current students and CCPA alumni, as well as invited guests. Click here to request an invitation to the session directly from Daron.

Trailer for the new opera.

Rehearsing Orson Rehearsed

The three-hour event will begin with an hour-long session during which Hagen, Orth, Frankenberry, and the ensemble will rehearse and create sound-masses and improvised fragments of music based on notated cues supplied by Hagen that will be integrated into the electro-acoustic score of the work as he composes it followed by a two hour reading session that will include improvisation and integraation with electro-acoustic elements. The next two hours will feature read-throughs and improvisations based on notated and pre-recorded music, centering on arias for the Orsons.

Popcorn & Pizza

In addition to the January 19th event, Hagen will present a talk in the Mikowsky Recital Hall entitled Orson Welles as Political Activist and Artist from 1-2 PM on the 18th, followed by a screening of Citizen Kane at which popcorn will be provided. From 12-1:30 on the 19th, Fifth House Ensemble Executive Director Melissa Snoza will present a talk entitled Funding Your Dreams to Director of Roosevelt's Center for Arts Leadership program Allegra Montanari's  seminar at which pizza will be provided. All events are open to all current students and CCPA alumni, as well as invited guests. Click here to request an invitation directly from Daron for the Reading Session.

The Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall

Orchestration & Composition

In addition to the Roosevelt-community-wide events, Hagen will give a lecture on orchestration and score preparation to Teddy Niedermaier's Advanced Orchestration Seminar on the 17th (read his Huffington Post essay, The Ink's Still Wet: How Composers Keep Scoreon which his lecture will be based), private composition lessons to a number of Roosevelt University's Director of Composition Kyong Mee Choi's students, and meet with production partners based in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

The first iteration of Orson Rehearsed will take place in October 2018 at Roosevelt University. 



Fifth House Ensemble and the Chicago College of Performing Arts team up with American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award-winning composer Daron Hagen in the creation of an innovative collaborative work that  examines in a non-linear narrative the American Story by limning the memories and half-remembered dreams of actor, director, writer, and painter ORSON WELLES during the last few moments of his life.

Orson Rehearsed is a think-piece comprised of the Zuzu’s petals-like memory crumbs of a life—about accepting that Process is more important than Product, accepting that Life is more important than Art, accepting the bitter acceptance that one’s dreams had always been—and would remain—out of reach.


Orson Rehearsed...

  • suggests that the American Experiment is a Creative Process.
  • advances the notion that Welles’ quest to “go beyond himself” was more than a thirst for self-actuation; it was an intertwined quest for social justice and creative liberty.
  • exists in torso.
  • takes a different shape every time it is performed.
  • expands and contracts in size depending on the venue, whether it be a Church Basement or High School Gym, a Homeless Shelter or Park Avenue Brownstone, a Dive Bar or a Black Box, a Recital Hall or a Grand Opera House.
  • is called a prestidigitation because it is comprised of 52 sound collages that are triggered by The Magician in performance “on the fly” in an un-predetermined sequence. Taken together, and combined with live and pre-recorded performances by singers and instrumentalists of both notated and improvised music, they form Welles’ consciousness.
  • manifests the creative vision of Daron Hagen, who is crafting a stream-of-consciousness, intertextual, post-genre score and libretto that adheres to no single cultural-aesthetic hegemonic hierarchy or dogma.
  • is a complex, tightly-organized sonic mobile that shuffles and reshuffles scraps of dialogue and interviews, totemic motives such as “Rosebud,” fragments of half-forgotten tunes, the sound of rain, bells, applause, footsteps—all pressed into service in the pursuit of the truth about a mystery more profound than the meaning of the name of a child’s sled—Art was not his life, the Process of Making Art was.may last from 60-90 minutes.
  • may or may not have from one to one hundred instrumentalists who may or may not sing, vocalise, move, and improvise.
  • may be staged or un-staged.
  • may or may not include any number of roles, spoken, sung, and mute for children and adults.
  • may be declaimed or danced rather than sung.
  • may exist entirely as an interactive website.
  • may, in fact, not exist at all, except as a set of options.
  • may simply be a memory; or the dream of an idea.
  • ends with Welles’ death and apotheosis.



Earlier Event: January 13
Misterioso for Koto, Voices, & Cello
Later Event: January 21
Piano Trio No. 3: Wayfaring Stranger