For three decades the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera was a cultural gem in Chicago. After dinner at Frederick Chramer’s famous Scandinavian restaurant, patrons adjourned across the lobby to the plush 210 seat opera house to enjoy miniature but elaborate productions of such operas as La Bohème, Aida, La Traviata, and Madama Butterfly.
In 1967, Gary Jones joined the exclusive group of puppeteers who operated the unique rod puppets from beneath the slotted stage floor. He was the first, and only black puppeteer at the Miniature Grand Opera but his artistic talents were quickly recognized when he was invited to create the scenery for the opera’s new productions.
Here is his account of his adventures, the performers who worked “understage”, and the abrupt finale of the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera in 1971.
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About the Author
For four years he was the scenic designer at Chicago's internationally acclaimed Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera. After the theatre closed in 1971, Gary established Blackstreet
USA Puppet Theatre and has toured throughout the U.S. and internationally. Forever looking forward, he continues to explore his unique movement language exploiting the barrier between the real and the unreal, the finished puppet and the unfinished puppet artist.