Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2014-2015 Season

Civic-opera-houseSeptember 27 -October 29, 2014: Don Giovanni
October 6-28 2014: Capriccio
October 27- November 29 2014: Il Trovatore
November 17-December 20 2014: Porgy and Bess
December 6 2014-January 16 2015: Anna Bolena
January 24- March 14 2015: Tosca
February 9 -March 6 2015: Tannhäuser
February 24 -March 1, 2015: The Passenger
March 28-29 2015: El Pasado Nunca Se Termina
April 2015: Carousel

Anthony Freud announced Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2014-2015 season today.

Press Release | Official Site

Lyric Opera of Chicago's The Passenger and New Ring Cycle

Christine-goerkeLyric Opera of Chicago's 2014-2015 season includes The Passenger, which will be performed from February 24 to March 15, 2015. The company will also present a new Ring production, directed by David Pountney, starting on October 1, 2016 and continuing in consecutive seasons, followed by three complete cycles in April 2020. The conductor is Sir Andrew Davis, and the cast includes Christine Goerke (pictured left) as Brünnhilde and Eric Owens as Wotan.

Press Release | Official Site

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2013-2014 Season

Civic-opera-houseOctober 5 – November 2 2013: Otello
October 15 2013- January 26 2014: Madama Butterfly
November 9–29 2013: Parsifal
November 20- December 20 2013: La traviata
December 10 2013-January 18 2014: Die Fledermaus
February 1–28 2014: Il barbiere di Siviglia
February 22- March 16 2014: Rusalka
March 5–23 2014: La clemenza di Tito
Spring 2014: The Sound of Music

Anthony Freud announced Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2013-2014 season yesterday.

Press Release | Official Site

Rinaldo at Lyric Opera of Chicago


* Notes *
A new production of Rinaldo (Act II, Scene 3 pictured left, photograph by Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago) concludes Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2011-2012 season. The Sunday matinée performance was nothing if not entertaining. Director Francisco Negrin created his own little circus within Handel's music, an internally consistent world whose elements all work together. The set, by Louis Désiré, involves a monolithic word scramble reading "Gerusalemme," glass panels that can be lit white or red, and an enormous piano-shaped box. Désiré's costumes are likewise striking and odd. Ana Yepes's choreography is amusing and was performed cleanly.

Harry Bicket conducted a rather dry performance from the orchestra. The keyboard solo from Jory Vinikour at the end of Act II was strong. Musically, one of the most interesting parts of the afternoon was during "Or la tromba," when the trumpet almost flubbed a note, but recovered magnificently.

Much of the singing was good, though not always historically informed. Iestyn Davies sounded bright as Eustazio, his fast notes lack deftness, but his timbre is pretty. Sonia Prina's vibrato was distracting at times, she tends to overdo the machismo for trouser roles, and her Goffredo was not an exception. She did rein in the bluster for "Sorge nel petto," which she sang nicely. The pleasant lightness of Luca Pisaroni's voice may not have been perfect for the wicked Argante, but his acting and movements were effective.

Elza van den Heever was a compelling Armida. Her voice is gorgeous and powerful, perhaps a tad heavy for Baroque repertoire. She had the meatiest role as far as direction was concerned, and certainly made the most of this. Julia Kleiter made for a cute, sweet Almirena, she started off sounding a bit breathy but improved as the performance progressed. In the title role, David Daniels also had a shaky start, especially at the beginning of "Cara sposa."

* Tattling *
The audience seemed engaged with the performance. There was some light talking in the dress circle, but not a lot of electronic noise.

Show Boat at Lyric Opera of Chicago


* Notes *
A new production of Show Boat (Act I, Scene 1 pictured left, photograph by Robert Kusel/Lyric Opera of Chicago) opened at Lyric Opera of Chicago last month. The Friday matinée performance was an utter delight from top to bottom. Director Francesca Zambello is at her best in this co-production with Lyric, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, and Houston Grand Opera. The humanity of the characters is clear and compelling. Peter J. Davison's set is not overly ornate, move cleanly, and work well with Mark McCullough's characteristically elegant lighting. The costumes, by Paul Tazewell, often make use of a pleasing contrast of red, white, and turquoise. The dancing, choreographed by Michele Lynch, is charming.

The straightforward music sounded effortless as far as the orchestra was concerned, conducted here by John DeMain. The chorus was robust, as were the principals. Cindy Gold and Ross Lehman were entertaining as Parthy and Captain Andy. Alyson Cambridge made for a striking Julie, with her incisive, but never shrill voice. Angela Renée Simpson sang Queenie with beauty and feeling. Morris Robinson was most impressive as Joe, his music is perhaps the most famous in this particular work, and he sang "Ol' Man River" with warmth and beauty. Ashley Brown was an adorable Magnolia, she chirped sweetly. Nathan Gunn turned out a believable Ravenal, the lightness of his voice having an appeal in this role.

* Tattling *
The house was full of seniors and children, which meant there were watch alarms at the hours and a lot of fidgeting. The family in Upper Balcony Row Q Seats 10-16 could not stay still, one of the sons kept running across the aisle and the other would occasionally stand up as he was unable to see the stage from his seat.

Lyric's World Premiere in 2015-2016

Today Lyric Opera announced the world premiere of Bel Canto, by composer Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz. The work is based on the novel by Ann Patchett will be performed in the 2015-16 season. The conductor will be Sir Andrew Davis and the director Stephen Wadsworth. The opera has been commissioned as part of Lyric's Renée Fleming Initiative.

Press Release | Official Site

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2012-2013 Season

October 6-30 2012: Elektra
October 15 - November 9 2012: Simon Boccanegra
November 11-26 2012: Werther
November 25- December 15 2012: Don Pasquale
December 7 2012-January 19 2013: Hansel and Gretel
January 21- March 28 2013: La bohème
February 8- March 3 2013: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
February 25- March 30 2013: Rigoletto
March 26- April 6 2013: A Streetcar Named Desire

Anthony Freud announced Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2012-2013 season yesterday.

Press Release | Official Site

Hercules at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Eric-Owens-Lucy-Crowe-Marckarthur-Johnson-in-Hercules-Dan-Rest * Notes *
The cast for Lyric Opera of Chicago's Hercules is nothing short of impressive. The Thursday matinée performance seemed well-attended, even the lecture from director Peter Sellars was rather full. Sellars certainly expressed a strong conception for how he staged this oratorio, and has both respect and understanding for the work. However, sometimes it is difficult to see past all the artifical miming, especially with the chorus. While the movements were humorous, I suspect one is not supposed to laugh at the lines "Jealousy! Infernal pest!"

The set is attractive, not unlike an elaborate, classically-informed water feature in an outdoor mall. The lighting was rather literal, red when fire or passion was mentioned, blue and green if water was invoked. The costumes were somewhat puzzling, the women looked like they were SCA members in their casual wear, the men vaguely like they were from the Pacific Northwest.

The orchestra lacked crispness in the overture under Harry Bicket. There were parts that were more focused and pretty, and those that were less so. The cello in "There in myrtle shades" was overwhelming, and the first brass part during the triumphal march was somewhat sour.

The chorus was slightly off from the orchestra in the second choral number, especially when the choral soloists sang. The singers did their choreography well. The last chorus, "To them your grateful notes of praise belong," was moving and beautiful.

The principals were all exceedingly fine, both in acting and in singing. Despite being ill, Richard Croft (Hyllus) sounded warm and sweet, though quiet at times. Lucy Crowe was brilliant as Iole, her voice is gorgeous, and "My breast with tender pity swells" was one of the best arias of the afternoon. David Daniels made the most of Lichas, sounding clear and lovely. In the title role, Eric Owens showed a full range of emotions with his scant three arias. The last was particularly stirring. Likewise, Alice Coote effectively displayed her dramatic abilties within the constraints of the Baroque form. Her Dejanira is incredibly human, and her voice has strong low notes and striking high ones.

* Tattling *
A phone rang during the first half of the show. Many audience members in the boxes fell asleep, at one point there was quite the chorus of snores. Worse yet, an elderly couple in Box 9 kept speaking during the music, once in the overture, once during Daniels' first aria, and once during Crowe's first aria. Thankfully, they responded fairly well to being asked to be quiet, and they left at intermission.

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2011-2012 Season

October 1-29 2011: Tales of Hoffmann
October 10- November 5 2011: Lucia di Lammermoor
November 7-29 2011: Boris Godunov
November 19- December 11 2011: Ariadne auf Naxos
December 6 2011-January 22 2012: Die Zauberflöte
January 21- February 8 2012: Aida
February 12- March 17 2012: Show Boat
February 29- March 24 2012: Rinaldo

Lyric Opera of Chicago announced the 2011-2012 season today. Matthew Polenzani is Hoffmann. Ferruccio Furlanetto sings Boris with Stefan Margita, Erik Nelson Werner, Andrea Silvestrelli, and Raymond Aceto. Deborah Voigt stars in Ariadne and Sondra Radvanovsky stars in Aida. David Daniels sings in Rinaldo with Luca Pisaroni, Elza van den Heever, and Sonia Prina.

Press Release | Official Site

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2010-2011 Season

October 1-30 2010: Macbeth
October 13 2010- March 27 2011: Carmen
November 5-23 2010: A Midsummer Night's Dream
November 15- December 10 2010: Un Ballo en Maschera
December 6 2010-January 21 2011: The Mikado
January 22- February 21 2011: La Fanciulla del West
February 11- March 8 2011: Lohengrin
March 4-21 2011: Hercules

Lyric Opera of Chicago announced the 2010-2011 season today. Thomas Hampson is Macbeth, David Daniels sings in Midsummer, and Sondra Radvanovsky stars in Un Ballo. Deborah Voigt is opposite Marcello Giordani in Fanciulla. Eric Owens, Alice Coote, and Richard Croft are in Hercules.

Press Release | Official Site

Lyric Opera's 2009-2010 Season

September 26 2009- January 29 2010: Tosca
October 5- November 7 2009: Faust
October 27- November 23 2009: Ernani
November 22- Deceumber 12 2009: Katya Kabanova
December 5 2009- January 16 2010: The Merry Widow
January 23- February 22 2010: L'Elisir d'Amore
February 20- March 17 2010: La Damnation de Faust
February 28- March 27 2010: Le Nozze di Figaro

René Pape and Kyle Ketelsen share the role of Mephistopheles in Faust. Salvatore Licitra sings opposite of Sondra Radvanovsky in Ernani. Karita Mattila will sing the title-role of Katya Kabanova. Susan Graham, Paul Groves and John Relyea star in La Damnation. Le Nozze features Joyce DiDonato and Mariusz Kwiecien.

Tribune Article | Official Site