Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Merit School of Music Honors Renée Fleming

On May 8, Chicago's prestigious Merit School of Music awarded Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming with the Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts as part of the school's 35th anniversary gala celebration at the Palmer House Hilton.

On May 8, Chicago's prestigious Merit School of Music awarded Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming with the Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts as part of the school's 35th anniversary gala celebration at the Palmer House Hilton.

Lyric's Board President Kenneth G. Pigott presented Fleming with the award, saying that Lyric is "a new and different organization thanks in major part to Renée Fleming."

Fleming, who was appointed Lyric's creative consultant in December 2010, has worked closely with Merit School of Music almost since the beginning of her tenure. Merit was the first school to partner with Lyric in what has now become the Vocal Partnership Program, offered through Lyric Unlimited. The program provides an avenue for high school students at five partner organizations to learn about opera and develop their skills through access to artistry and expertise from Lyric Opera artists and staff. Participants’ interest and passion for singing is supported and nurtured through special events such as attendance at Lyric Opera performances and rehearsals, backstage tours, recitals at partner schools, and master classes and conversations with main stage artists.

As part of this ongoing collaboration, Fleming has led master classes with students from Merit's Alice F. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory, participated in Lyric's first-ever career day for Merit students, and met with the school's vocal faculty to discuss Lyric's partnership and share pedagogy techniques.  

Fleming's award was the highlight of this gala celebration, which also featured performances from Merit's many music ensembles: brass, opera and musical theater, vocal jazz, conservatory choir, and the honors jazz combo.

Merit School of Music is nationally recognized for providing accessible, high-quality music education to nearly 5,000 Chicago-area students. Merit School of Music is devoted to giving children—especially children living in economically disadvantaged communities—the opportunity to grow through music. To learn more, visit meritmusic.org

Photo credits:

  • Renée Fleming accepts the Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts (Credit Jasmin Shah / Merit School of Music)
  • Renée Fleming with Merit students (Credit Jasmin Shah / Merit School of Music)

 

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They Have Confidence! SOUND OF MUSIC Fan Photos

Audiences are loving The Sound of Music, on stage at Lyric through May 25. Here are some of our favorite fan photos, documenting some amazing experiences at the beautiful Civic Opera House for #LyricSound. 

Audiences are loving The Sound of Music, on stage at Lyric through May 25. Here are some of our favorite fan photos, documenting their amazing experience at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Snap and share your pics with #LyricSound on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You could win a pair of tickets to any opera during Lyric's spectacular 60th anniversary season!

 

Looking for more audience reactions? Here are some thoughts from people right after they've seen the show!

 

THE SOUND OF MUSIC by the Numbers

Lyric's production of The Sound of Music is musical theater like you've never seen it before! The extraordinary resources of an opera company have made this a larger-than-life spectacle. But what exactly goes into this massive undertaking? Here's a breakdown of some key numbers.

Lyric's production of The Sound of Music is musical theater like you've never seen it before! The extraordinary resources of an opera company have made this a larger-than-life spectacle. Kris Vire of Time Out Chicago notes that this production "makes full use of the Civic Opera House's grand stage, from towering tableaus of the abbey to the irresistible moment when all seven of the von Trapp children ride onstage on matching but custom-sized bicycles—talk about commitment to a production aesthetic."

But what exactly goes into this massive undertaking? Here's a breakdown of some key numbers:

Total costumes in the show. Costume designer Alejo Vietti and Lyric's expert costume shop were very, very busy.

116

Feet make up the width of Lyric's huge stage…and The Sound of Music set uses every inch.

90

Electric candles are used in the show.

80 

Automatic lighting fixtures - the most onstage ever in any Lyric production. These fixtures are not visible to the audience but are very important to the actors!

Number of costumes being made for the von Trapp children alone. Those are some well-dressed kids!

50

Total cast members plus understudies (25 each!).

37

Orchestra members in the show, including many regular members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

32

Dressers to get all of the kids, nuns, and principals into their costumes

Singers in the ensemble, including 20 nuns and 5 men. Many are members of the Lyric Opera Chorus. Read more about the preparation of the singers from Lyric's Chorus Master Michael Black

Different scenes in The Sound of Music. Most operas just have a few!

Specially made vintage reproduction bikes from Chicago's own Heritage Bicycles for the von Trapp children and Rolf.

6

Pairs of shoes worn by Maria during the show. All shoes for The Sound of Music have been fitted with special non-skid soles applied by Brooks Shoe Repair.

4

Number of shops that made the scenery, made in three different time zones!

Don't miss this amazing production, on stage at Lyric through May 25!

 

Photo credits:

  • Scenes from The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

Lyric’s Women’s Board celebrates THE SOUND OF MUSIC – complete with curtain dresses!

On Friday, May 2, Lyric Opera of Chicago's Women's Board hosted what has become an annual tradition: a gala dinner in honor of Lyric's American Musical Theater Initiative."An Evening of Austrian Elegance" celebrated the culture and cuisine of Austria. And event co-chairs Alison McNally  and Eileen Murphy took the theme and ran with it.

On Friday, May 2, Lyric Opera of Chicago's Women's Board hosted what has become an annual tradition: a gala dinner in honor of Lyric's American Musical Theater Initiative.

"An Evening of Austrian Elegance" celebrated the culture and cuisine of Austria. Guests embraced the gala's theme by wearing dirndls and lederhosen and enjoyed traditional Austrian music and delicious Austrian fare. Naturally, event co-chairs Alison McNally and Eileen Murphy took the theme and ran with it.

One of The Sound of Music's most famous moments is when Maria makes play clothes for the von Trapp children out of the old curtains in her bedroom. Before the beginning of the 2013-14 season, the William B. and Catherine Graham Room was renovated with the support of Lyric's Women's Board. As luck would have it, during the renovation process, the curtains were saved.

When planning began in earnest for this year's Women's Board bash, Alison and Eileen joked that they should make dresses out of the old Graham Room curtains. What began as a joke was eventually, with the help of dressmakers Mimi Papavasiliou and Kelly Abrams, turned into reality. The elegant dark green fabric was turned into chic cocktail dresses for Alison and Eileen. There was even enough fabric to make dresses for their daughters and ties for their husbands!

The custom-made outfits were the talk of the party. And, as Alison says, now they have beautiful, one-of-a-kind dresses for Christmas and St. Patrick's Day!

Here's a look at curtains in the Graham Room before renovation:

Photo credits:

  • Event co-chairs Alison McNally and Eileen Murphy and daughters (credit Jaclyn Simpson / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • William B. and Catherine Graham Room before 2013 renovation (courtesy Lyric Opera of Chicago)

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