Lyric Opera of Chicago

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CRUZAR by the numbers

"...[A] moving story with universal appeal, performed with enormous zest and color..." – John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune                                   

Cruzar

 • "...[A] moving story with universal appeal, performed with enormous zest and color..." – John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

• "...[A] remarkably compelling and compact work... [A] persuasive immigration story told in heartfelt musical terms..." – Dennis Polkow, Newcity Stage

• "...[A]n emotional journey for the audience, especially for those who are reminded of their own story or that of a relative..."– Gisela Orozco, Hoy Chicago 

• "The energy of Martinez and his fellow musicians was tremendous. ...All the songs were beautifully performed by the Vargas group and the actor-singers." – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times  

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world's first mariachi opera, first commissioned by Lyric general director Anthony Freud when he was with Houston Opera, is the story of "one family, two countries, one life-changing secret."  Presented in April by Lyric Unlimited, the new audience development and community engagement branch of Lyric Opera. Let's look a little bit closer at Cruzar by the numbers

• Approximately 7520 total audience members attended Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at one of 5 performances.

• Cruzar was presented at 3 venues in 3 different neighborhoods: the Civic Opera House in Chicago's Loop, Benito Juárez Academy in Pilsen on Chicago's South Side, and the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on Chicago's North Shore.

• 42% of the Cruzar audience members at the Civic Opera House were attending their first performance at Lyric.

• 2 internationally renowned mariachi groups performed in Cruzar in Chicago: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and Mariachi Aztlán.

• Cruzar is the 1st Spanish-language composition performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein summarizes: "By presenting the Midwest premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) as the latest project of its Lyric Unlimited program, the company fulfilled several objectives. It reached out to members of the city’s Mexican and Latino communities through an art form many of them had never experienced before. It promoted cross-cultural understanding. It called attention to the multicultural diversity and vitality that help to make Chicago unique among major American cities. It made potential new friends for the company while exposing Lyric regulars to a more populist form of entertainment than they are used to." BRAVO to all who made Cruzar a tremendous success

Lyric beyond the Loop

In April, Lyric guest artists gave spirited performances at alternative Chicago venues, and Lyric-affiliated artists have garnered major international opera awards.

Aztlan at Jumping Bean

In April, Lyric guest artists gave spirited performances at alternative Chicago venues, and Lyric-affiliated artists have garnered major international opera awards:

• While in town to perform at Lyric in the world's first mariachi opera,Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, University of Texas Pan-American Mariachi Aztlán also made time to play brunch at the Café Jumping Bean in Pilsen. Cruzar cast members Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo and Octavio Moreno joined Mariachi Aztlán for the impromptu performance. Earlier this year, Mariachi Aztlán performed during President Obama's second term inauguration festivities and won their third consecutive first prize in the Houston Mariachi Invitational. 

• Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, who next season will make her Lyric debut as Rosina in the new production of The Barber of Seville, has won the 2013 Richard Tucker Award.  "Often referred to as the 'Heisman Trophy of Opera,' it is conferred annually on an opera singer at the threshold of a major international career;" according to the Richard Tucker Foundation, which awards the honor and $30,000 prize. 

• Lyric continued its collaboration with The Second City on April 21 with Improv and Arias: A Sneak Peek, an evening of sketch comedy and song.  Held at The Second City's home in Old Town, Improv and Arias allowed The Second City writers/improvisers/ensemble members and Ryan Opera Center alums Bernard Holcomb and Emily Birsan an opportunity to workshop material for the June run of The Second City Guide to the Opera at the Civic Opera House.

• The inaugural International Opera Awards were held in London on April 22, 2013, and tenor Jonas Kaufmann took home the prize for Best Male Singer.  The German heartthrob is scheduled to sing with Renée Fleming at the Civic Opera House in the 2013-14 Subscriber Appreciation Concert. The International Opera Awards were launched by London businessman Harry Hyman and Opera Magazine editor John Allison as a way to generate public excitement about opera and raise funds for the international opera community.  Kaufmann also won the first inaugural Opera Magazine Readers' Award.

Oh what a beautiful May!

It's lavish!  It's exhilarating!  It's two weeks away! Lyric launches its American Musical Theater Initiative on May 4 with a new 70th anniversary production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved Oklahoma!. Travel behind the scenes with the stars to the first day of rehearsal and enjoy preview presentations

Cudia and Brown Oklahoma

It's lavish!  It's exhilarating!  It's two weeks away!

Lyric launches its American Musical Theater Initiative on May 4 with a new 70th-anniversary production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved Oklahoma!

Travel behind the scenes with stars John Cudia and Ashley Brown (pictured above) to the first day of rehearsal and enjoy preview presentations from members of the creative and design teams.

 

 

Feeling as inspired as Ashley Brown, Lyric's Laurey? Purchase tickets for a May day here

Remembering Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief Paschen (January 24, 1925- April 11, 2013) Lyric Opera joins the international performing-arts community in mourning the loss of legendary ballerina and Chicago choreographer Maria Tallchief, who has passed away at 88.    

Maria Tallchief, credit Victor Skrebneski

Maria Tallchief Paschen (January 24, 1925- April 11, 2013)

Lyric Opera joins the international performing-arts community in mourning the loss of legendary ballerina and Chicago choreographer Maria Tallchief, who has passed away at 88.  

Ms. Tallchief began her five-decade affiliation with Lyric as a principal dancer in the Ruth Page Chicago Opera Ballet, Lyric's resident ballet troupe during the 1950s and 1960s. 

In 1973, Lyric general manager Carol Fox hired Ms. Tallchief to teach a movement class for Lyric singers.  This class evolved into the Lyric Opera Ballet, which Ms. Tallchief led from its inception in 1973 until 1979.  From the 1970s through the first decade of the twenty-first century, Ms. Tallchief choreographed dances for more than fifty different Lyric productions.  In recognition of her pioneering artistic influence, Lyric Opera created the advisory position of Ballet Director for Ms. Tallchief in the 1970s.  She is the first and only person to hold the title.

Ms. Tallchief is survived by her daughter Elise Paschen, her two grandchildren, her sister, and generations of Chicago dancers she taught, choreographed, and inspired. Her husband, Henry Paschen, died in 2004.

Top photo: Victor Skrebneski.

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