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An Insider's Guide to CAROUSEL

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel at Lyric (on stage April 10 through May 3) is the most eagerly anticipated musical event of the spring season. Learn more about this new production and its outstanding cast and creative team through articles, video, and more. 

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel at Lyric is the most eagerly anticipated musical event of the spring season. This brand-new production is helmed by eminent director/choreographer Rob Ashford and features the Lyric debuts of conductor David Chase (a New York favorite and longtime collaborator of Ashford's) and artist Paolo Ventura as set designer, plus costumes from Catherine Zuber, the acclaimed designer who has won multiple Tony Awards and who costumed Ashford's delightful Barber of Seville in Lyric's 2013-14 season. 

The behind-the-scenes talent is amazing, and the cast is astounding. Broadway favorite Steven Pasquale and two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes star as carousel barker Billy Bigelow and his beloved Julie Jordan. International operatic star Denyce Graves, known for her fiery interpretations of the title role in Bizet's Carmen, takes on her first full-length musical theater role as Nettie Fowler. 

Carousel is on stage at Lyric from April 10 through May 3, and this page is your source for all of the behind-the-scenes info. 

 Director Rob Ashford on Carousel

 

 Articles with insights on the cast and creative team

Carousel Comes to Lyric
Director Rob Ashford talks about the creative process for Carousel in this article from Lyric Opera News. "Every new production of a musical or opera has a unique journey to the stage but some, like Lyric's Carousel, are especially unusual. Five years ago director-choreographer Rob Ashford saw an exhibition in New York, 'Winter Stories,' by Italian artist Paolo Ventura. 'Part of it was set around a carnival,' Ashford recalls. 'It was so moving and beautiful. I was so captivated by it, I said, 'If I ever do Carousel,  that is the person who must design it.'" READ MORE

Broadway at Lyric: Steven Pasquale and Laura Osnes tackle Carousel
Carousel is coming to Lyric April 10 through May 3—and its two leads are bringing a bit of the Great White Way to Wacker Drive. Steven Pasquale and Laura Osnes star as carousel barker Billy Bigelow and his true love, innocent millworker Julie Jordan. Pasquale most recently stole hearts starring in The Bridges of Madison County on Broadway opposite Kelli O'Hara, and he's currently playing the handsome and passionate campaign manager Johnny Elfman on CBS's The Good Wife. At just 29, Osnes is already a two-time Tony nominee, first for Bonnie and Clyde and then for the recent revival of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, and she is thrilled for this opportunity to "check another R&H heroine off my dream-role list." READ MORE

Meet Steven Pasquale – Lyric’s Billy Bigelow
Billy Bigelow is one of the most demanding roles in musical theater. Lyric's leading man Steven Pasquale has a long list of credits on stage and screen. You might recognize him from his current role on the CBS hit The Good Wife —here are three of our favorite Steven Pasquale moments from past projects including Rescue Me and the Tony-nominated musical The Bridges of Madison County. READ MORE

Denyce Graves Breaks All the Rules
Superstar mezzo Denyce Graves returns to Lyric for the first time since 2005 to star in Lyric's new production of Carousel. Joining Broadway star Steven Pasquale's Billy Bigelow, Graves anchors the cast as Nettie Fowler, who acts as a mother hen to the New England waterfront community depicted by Rodgers and Hammerstein. READ MORE

From Broadway to Lyric: Exploring musical theater
Carousel marks Lyric's third production in its American Musical Theater Initiative, following 2012-13's Oklahoma! and last season's The Sound of Music. General director Anthony Freud talks about the genesis of this project and how it is changing the face of the company in this article from the Porgy and Bess program book. READ MORE

An Insider's Guide to TANNHÄUSER

Wagner's magnificent Tannhäuser is an epic tale of sin and redemption that is truly a monumental experience. Learn more about this new-to-Chicago production conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, directed by Tim Albery, and starring Johan Botha with interviews, audio previews, and more.

 

Wagner's magnificent Tannhäuser is on stage at Lyric February 9 through March 6. In this tale of sin and redemption, a wandering musician (Johan Botha) is lured into the erotic realm of the goddess Venus (Michaela Schuster). When he grows tired of her sensual delights, he returns home to his saintly beloved Elisabeth (Amber Wagner). However, he soon learns that true forgiveness is not so easily won. 

Sir Andrew Davis conducts this monumental vocal, choral, and orchestral feast that also stars Gerald Finley as Wolfram and John Relyea as the Landgrave in a new-to-Chicago production from director Tim Albery, who makes his Lyric debut. 

Click here to read the full plot synopsis, director's note, and more
in the complete Tannhäuser program book
.

Articles with insights from the cast and creative team

Closing the Circle: Sir Andrew Davis conducts Tannhäuser
Musically, stylistically, dramatically, and intellectually, there's no greater challenge for an opera conductor than the works of Richard Wagner. Sir Andrew Davis knows this very well—he waited to take them on until he became Lyric's music director in 2000. "The prospect of doing the Wagner operas was one of the most exciting things about coming to Lyric," he recalls. Fourteen years into his tenure—after The Flying Dutchman, Parsifal, the Ring, Tristan und Isolde, Lohengrin, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg—only one of Wagner's mature operas was left to tackle: Tannhäuser, which returns to Lyric's stage this season for the first time since 1988-89, from February 9 through March 6. READ MORE

The reviews are in: Tannhäuser is “sexy and striking” with “powerhouse voices”
Wagner's Tannhäuser is a bucket-list opera, full of some of the composer's most dramatic and moving music, from the opening overture to the Pilgrim's Chorus. This opera has not been seen at Lyric since the 1988-89 season, and critics are calling this epic production (on stage through March 6) a must-see event. Chicago on the Aisle   gave it four (out of five stars), calling it "potent, sensual and yet strikingly unromanticized production." READ MORE

Opera 101: Behind the scenes of Tannhäuser with August Tye
Wagner's Tannhäuser, which runs through March 6 at Lyric, has been earning rave reviews, especially for its epic opening dance sequence. August Tye, Lyric's ballet mistress for more than 10 years, takes us through the process of creating this sensuous depiction of Venusburg from auditions to rehearsals to opening night. READ MORE 

Tannhäuser Tweets: Why fans love this opera
Lyric's new-to-Chicago production of Wagner's Tannhäuser is the talk of Chicago. Read these tweets and posts from attendees to see why this is a can't-miss event. Our fan Miriam Scott says it best: it's a "veritable Wagner music hit parade and it's not even that long. Don't miss it." READ MORE 

Chorus member Jeffrey Taylor on Tannhäuser
As a bass with the Lyric Opera Chorus since 1981, Jeffrey Taylor has experienced countless thrilling performances firsthand. He's enthusiastic about this season's biggest choral challenge, Wagner's Tannhäuser, and why Lyric audiences should be excited to experience this massive masterpiece, unheard here since 1988. READ MORE 

Who is your Tannhäuser Valentine?
Wagner's Tannhäuser runs February 9 through March 6 at Lyric, including a performance on February 14! The hero of the opera must choose between the sensual goddess Venus and his saintly beloved Elisabeth. Who is your Tannhäuser Valentine? Take this quiz and find out! READ MORE 


Lyric U: Sopranos—how high can you go?
Get to know the soprano voice type with Renée Fleming, Anthony Freud, and Sir Andrew Davis in this Lyric U voice series installment. Plus hear examples of great soprano arias from some of the operas still on deck for this season, including "Dich, teure Halle" from Tannhäuser. READ MORE

 

Lyric U: Baritones in opera
Have you tuned into Lyric U? Check out our new video library, which starts with an in-depth exploration of the baritone in opera with Sir Andrew Davis, Anthony Freud, and Renée Fleming. Plus, check out some video highlights of the greatest baritone arias on stage this season, including Wolfram's beautiful aria "O du mein holder Abendstern" (Song of the Evening Star) from Tannhäuser. READ MORE

 "Patter Up!" with Amber Wagner

Get to know the lighter side of Tannhäuser star and Ryan Opera Center alumna Amber Wagner, who also triumphed earlier this season in Verdi's Il Trovatore

 

Tannhäuser Audio Preview

Music director Sir Andrew Davis shares the synopsis and excerpts from Wagner's Tannhäuser. Recordings used by permission of EMI Classics.

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THE MAGIC VICTROLA: Opera Comes Alive

Prepare for Lyric Unlimited's upcoming family presentation The Magic Victrola  on January 17 with this comprehensive guide, which gives an overview of the story and some of the musical excerpts that will be featured.

Children and adults alike will be enchanted by Lyric Unlimited's upcoming family presentation, The Magic Victrola on Saturday, January 17 at 3pm.

This one-afternoon-only event is a delightful way for children to learn about the joys of opera. The production is specifically designed for children ages 5 to 10, but people of all ages will enjoy this brand-new story brought to life by the Lyric Opera Orchestra and singers from Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center

The Story…

Caroline Heffernan and Logan Neuschaefer play Gracie and Sam, two children who are staying with their grandfather (Richard Henzel) for the summer. Though they initially worry they might be bored, they discover their grandfather's collection of opera records in the attic, along with an old-fashioned Victrola player that has magical qualities. When they put on the first record, the bird catcher Papageno (Ryan Opera Center baritone Will Liverman) from Mozart's The Magic Flute appears and encourages Gracie and Sam to play more records, which causes each famous opera scene to magically come to life in colorful vignettes.

The Process 

Curious about how the story and the music make it to the stage? Read this interview with Lyric's production design director Scott Marr and props coordinator Maria da Fabo, who designed the sets and costumes for this presentation.

The Snacks… 

The rumors are true! Kid-friendly snacks will be sold in the foyer and you can even take them with you to enjoy in the theater.

The Music… 

The Magic Victrola is filled with operatic favorites. If you want to introduce your children to the music before they come, here are some video excerpts!

Overture from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro

The Magic Victrola opens with one of the most famous overtures in opera: Mozart's delightful opening to The Marriage of Figaro.

 

"Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja" from Mozart's The Magic Flute

Papageno sings about his happy life as a birdcatcher.

 

The Doll Song from Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann 

Olympia the doll sings a song, but she occasionally needs to be wound up so she can keep going!

 

"Quanto è bella" from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore

This aria has a man singing about the beautiful woman he loves.  

 

The Flower Duet from Delibes's Lakmé

This duet is about all of the wonderful things found in nature.

 

"O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi

In this aria, a young woman asks for help from her father in a way that melts his heart. The title can be translated to "O my dear papa."

 

Habanera from Bizet's Carmen

This opera is set in Spain and this aria has a very catchy rhythm called the Habanera, which is a type of dance music.

 

Papageno Papagena Duet from Mozart's The Magic Flute

Papageno finally finds his perfect match: Papagena!

 

Photo credits:

  • Photos from The Family Barber, Lyric Unlimited's family presentation in the 2013-14 season (Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

 

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An Insider's Guide to TOSCA

Puccini's Tosca is opera at its finest, combining a heartbreaking story with achingly beautiful music that puts it on par with the composer's other beloved masterpieces Madama Butterfly and La Bohème. Learn more about this magnificent opera with interviews, audio previews, and more.

 

Puccini's Tosca  is opera at its finest, combining a heartbreaking story with achingly beautiful music that puts it on par with the composer's other beloved masterpieces Madama Butterfly and La Bohème. Learn more about this magnificent opera with interviews, audio previews, and more. 

Tosca, an impulsive opera star, is in love with a rebel artist—but he is hunted by a villainous police chief who will stop at nothing to capture his prey. What price is too high to save the man you love? For more than a hundred years, audiences have watched and listened spellbound as the cat-and-mouse game between diva Tosca and the devious Scarpia plays to its deadly conclusion. 

Lyric Opera presents two dynamic casts to bring this dramatic story to life. Tatiana Serjan (Tosca), Brian Jagde (Cavaradossi), and Evgeny Nikitin (Scarpia) portray this deadly love triangle from January 24 through February 5 and all make their Lyric debuts. Then from February 27 through March 14, Hui HeJorge de León (debut), and Mark Delavan take over the roles of lover, artist, and police chief. Dynamic young conductor Dmitri Jurowski makes his podium debut in this new Lyric coproduction from director John Caird, who dazzled with last season's Parsifal. 

Click here to read the full plot synopsis, director's note, and more
in the complete Tosca program book.

Articles with insights from the cast and creative team

Tosca through Scarpia's Eyes
Mark Delavan, who stars in Tosca as Scarpia for Lyric's second cast February 27 through March 14, gives some of his insights on this villainous character, one that he is able to reinvent each time he performs it. Delavan is certainly an expert, having performed this role more than 100 times around the world. READ MORE 


Opera 101: Q&A with Tosca Assistant Director Shawna Lucey
It takes a village to put together an opera, and one of the most important roles is the assistant director. Shawna Lucey, who is assistant director for Lyric's production of Puccini's Tosca (on stage now through March 14) gives a quick overview of her linchpin role as keeper of the "opera playbook." READ MORE 

See why TOSCA is “as pitch perfect as opera gets”
Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season continues with another acclaimed production; this time, critics are loving the new-to-Chicago production of Puccini's Tosca. It's on stage now through March 14, so act fast! If you're not convinced yet, here are just a few reasons to see this dramatic, passionate blockbuster. READ MORE


Tosca: A Lyric Photo History
Gobbi. Tebaldi. Bergonzi. Martins. Tucker. Pavarotti. Domingo. Scotto. Ramey. Morris. Voigt. These are just some of the amazing singers who have appeared in Puccini's Tosca  on stage at Lyric throughout the company's first 60 years. Learn more about the history of his magnificent opera at Lyric before seeing it on stage from January 24 to March 14. READ MORE

Lyric Libations: Tosca
Puccini's passionate tragedy is so intense that you will definitely need a drink afterwards to calm your nerves. And what better way to imbibe than with this set of four cocktails inspired by the opera? Channel your inner Tosca, Cavaradossi, and Scarpia—or learn how to make the potentially deadly concoction we like to call "Tosca's Kiss." READ MORE

A Tosca of Many Nations
There's no composer in opera more popular worldwide than Puccini, and it's not only in Italy that great Puccini interpreters are produced! Look, for example, at Lyric Opera's Tosca—the two trios of principals and the conductor together represent five different nations. READ MORE

On the Couch: Tosca
Opera divas are intense and dramatic—and perhaps in need of a bit of counseling, especially if you’re the tragic heroine of Puccini’s Tosca. Read notes from her therapist as he tackles Floria Tosca’s—FT for anonymity!—most persistent psychological traumas and provides an interesting alternate ending to the story. READ MORE


Lyric U: Sopranos – how high can you go?
Tosca contains one of the most beautiful and famous arias in the whole soprano repertoire: "Vissi d'arte." This glorious lament describes how the heroine Tosca has lived for art and love, only to have fate turn against her. Lyric's own Anthony Freud, Sir Andrew Davis, and Renée Fleming talk through what distinguishes the soprano voice in opera, with bonus video examples of other great soprano arias on stage at Lyric this season. READ MORE

Lyric U: Baritones in opera
A survey of great baritone roles in opera would not be complete without Scarpia. His Te Deum provides one of the most powerful scenes in all of opera, as the villain sings of his lust and his horrific plan to force Tosca into loving him, all against the backdrop of a prayer. Looking for more great baritone showcases? This Lyric U post highlights some other notable scenes. READ MORE

Patter Up! with Brian Jagde

Tenor Brian Jagde makes his Lyric debut as Cavaradossi in the first cast of Tosca (January 24-February 5). Learn more about his favorite foods, his go-to karaoke song, and his adorable dog Cav. 

 

Tosca Audio Preview

Music director Sir Andrew Davis shares the synopsis and excerpts from Puccini's Tosca. Recordings used by permission of EMI Classics.

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