Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Jeanne Gang Makes Her Lyric Design Debut

Lyric's 60th Anniversary Concert on November 1 just got a little bit more spectacular. World-renowned architect Jeanne Gang and her firm, Studio Gang Architects, will be designing a brand-new concert shell that will have its debut at this concert. Read on for details and to see a first look at the fantastic design.

Lyric's 60th Anniversary Concert on November 1 just got a little bit more spectacular. World-renowned architect Jeanne Gang and her firm, Studio Gang Architects, will be designing a brand-new concert shell that will have its debut at this concert.

Gang is a MacArthur Fellow, perhaps better known as the "genius grant," and among her iconic building designs is the acclaimed Aqua Tower (pictured right) here in Chicago, completed in 2010 and is the tallest structure ever designed by a female-led firm.

It was this building and her other works that made Studio Gang Lyric General Director Anthony Freud's first choice for this project. "As a newcomer to Chicago in 2011, I was immediately enamored with the bold freshness of Ms. Gang's work," Freud said. "She has redefined the Chicago skyline, and seemed the perfect match for Lyric Opera as it moves into the future with passion and a redefined mission of what it means to be a great opera company in the 21st century."

A first look at the design (top right) explores the material properties of wood, bent into conic surfaces with varying degrees of concavity and convexity, and assembled into units that can be stored and assembled with ease. The design of the shell also explores moments of continuity with its surroundings, encouraging an elegant transition between the space of the Civic Opera House and the stage.

Lyric's 60th Anniversary Concert features a luminous assemblage of artists from Lyric's past, present, and future. Sir Andrew Davis leads the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Chorus, and artists including Renée Fleming and jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, Stephanie Blythe, Johan Botha, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Quinn Kelsey, Mariusz Kwiecień, Ana María Martínez, Eric Owens, Sondra Radvanovsky, Samuel Ramey, Marina Rebeka, and Amber Wagner, as well as members of the Ryan Opera Center and The Second City.

Tickets are available now for Lyric subscribers from just $49. Don't have your subscription yet? Subscribe now before single tickets to go on sale July 1.

Photo credits:

  • A view of Lyric's Ardis Krainik Theatre with a rendering of the concert shell design. (Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects, Original Photography - Jon Miller, Hedrich Blessing)
  • Aqua Tower (Courtesy Studio Gang Architects)

 

“So Long, Farewell” Some parting GIFs for you!

It's the final weekend of The Sound of Music! The past month has absolutely flown by. But though this wonderful musical might be leaving Lyric's stage, it will be in our hearts forever. And here are some of our favorite moments, preserved in GIF form, for you to treasure and share.

It's the final weekend of The Sound of Music! The past month has absolutely flown by. But though this wonderful musical might be leaving Lyric's stage, it will be in our hearts forever. And here are some of our favorite moments, preserved in GIF form, for you to treasure and share.

The Mother Abbess gives the best advice.

In the immortal words of Oscar Hammerstein, "Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay. Love isn't love until you give it away."

Captain von Trapp approves.

And finally, the von Trapp children say goodbye!

Video credit:

  • Scenes from Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music (credit HMS Media / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

Calling all foodies! 2015 James Beard Awards coming to Lyric

On May 20, Chicago scored a major culinary coup when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation, announced that the 2015 James Beard Awards would be held not only at Chicago, but right here at Lyric in the beautiful Ardis Krainik Theatre!

On May 20, Chicago scored a major culinary coup when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation, announced that the 2015 James Beard Awards would be held not only at Chicago, but right here at Lyric in the beautiful Ardis Krainik Theatre! Considered the Oscars of the food world, the Beard Awards always feature the best chefs from around the country gathering to celebrate their art form.

This historic move marks the 25th anniversary of the awards and is the first time that they will take place outside of New York City. Flanked by past James Beard Award winners and famed Chicago chefs—including Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Tony Mantuano, Art Smith, Gale Gand, Graham Elliott, Stephanie Izard, and Rick Tramanto—Mayor Emanuel and Ungaro toasted this very special event in a press conference at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Lyric General Director Anthony Freud, whose passion for food is almost equal to his passion for opera, remarked, "I couldn't be more thrilled that this celebration of great food should take place in our opera house, which has seen so many celebrations of great opera." 

Photo credits:

  • Pictures from the James Beard Foundation press conference announcing the move to Chicago for 2015. (l-r) Tony Mantuano and Graham Elliot; Rick Bayless; Susan Ungaro and Mayor Emanuel. (Credit Adam Alexander Photo)

THE SOUND OF MUSIC – A few of Lyric’s favorite things!

As the final performances of  The Sound of Music  draw closer (it closes May 25!), you might think that our production staff has seen it all. But you'd be wrong! Here are a few of the highlights of the show from the point of view of our design staff.

As the final performances of The Sound of Music draw closer (it closes May 25!), you might think that our production staff has seen it all. From acrobats to valkyries, they have handled almost any challenge that a production might throw their way. But even for people who have climbed every logistical mountain, Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music has some very impressive elements. Here are a few of the highlights of the show from the point of view of our design staff.  

The Mountains

The mountains Maria comes down at the beginning of the show and the family climbs up at the end are digitally printed and glued to a wooden cutout. They were made in Wales, traveled to Canada by ship, and came to Chicago by train, after a few delays at customs!

The von Trapp Villa

What you see on stage as the front of the von Trapp's house is actually the back of the real von Trapp family home in Salzburg. And there might not be a gazebo in Lyric's production, but there is a great fountain, perfect for dancing.

The Sheer Size of the Set

We almost ran out of theater! During the preset for the show (when the stage crew loads in all the sets and builds them), we were about 1 foot from touching the back wall of the space. 

The Uniforms

The Nazis, priests, and altar boys uniforms are all rented, perhaps with a touch of irony, from Angels Costumiers, located in London. This is the same company that built the military uniforms for Lyric's new production of The Barber of Seville earlier this season. The rest of the Austrian clothing was purchased from websites that specialize in festival wear. 

The Suits

Paul Chang is the tailor for the show. A set of tails were made by Paul for Edward Hibbert.  We need to turn these set of tails into a jumpsuit with zipper up the back for a quick change during the party scene. "Presto, change-o!"

Maria's Bedroom Armoire

Brian Smith, Lyric's carpenter, made the armoire that you see on stage during "The Lonely Goatherd."  It is being built to the specifications that it is a replica of the one in the 1956 German film The Trapp Family, which was also based on the von Trapp's story and made before the stage and theatrical version of The Sound of Music.  The armoire used in that film was an actual piece of furniture from the Von Trapp family home.

Maria - Best Dressed Nun Award

The beautiful costumes for Jenn Gambatese were built in New York by Marianne Krostyne, who is this year's winner of the prestigious TDF Irene Sharaff "2014 Artisan of the Year" Award. Maria has  9 costumes total:  postulant, the Ugly Dress, sleepwear, play clothes (dirndl), party dress, the new postulant suit for her return, wedding dress, traveling/honeymoon suit, and festival performance outfit. Go Maria!!

The Nuns

Tons of research went into designing these costumes. Who knew there were so many different variations? The rosaries were especially made for the show, except for vintage ones purchased for Mother Abbess, Maria, and Sisters Sophia, Margaretta, and Berthe. We were going to purchase for the rest of the nuns, but couldn't because we are not a religious organization. 

The Beautiful Cast

Elizabeth Futral and Billy Zane are both very easy on the eyes. Elizabeth looks stunning in her 3 costumes also made by Marianne Krostyne, two day dresses and a beautiful ball gown. And Billy Zane looks amazing in Alejo Vietti's designs that include an Austrian suit, his wedding uniform, tails, and two suits, tailored by Paul Chang, who also made suits for Billy when he was shooting an unaired episode of NBC's The Playboy Club (which was filmed here in Chicago).  

Photo credits:

  • Jenn Gambatese as Maria comes down the mountain (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • The von Trapp villa in Lyric's production (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago) & the real von Trapp home in Salzburg (courtesy Villa Trapp)
  • The von Trapp children say goodnight (credit Robert Kusel / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • A stormtrooper in uniform (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Edward Hibbert as Max Detweiler (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Friedrich (Brady Tutton) hides in Maria's armoire (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Maria's many costumes (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • The nuns of The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Elizabeth Futral and Billy Zane as Elsa Schraeder and Captain von Trapp (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

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