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.