Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Lately

Live-streamed to the world, Lyric announces a new RING and PASSENGER premiere

Ringheads rejoice! Today in a live-streamed press conference Lyric's Anthony Freud and Sir Andrew Davis announced that the company will mount an all-new production of Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen beginning in the 2016/17 season.

RING press conference

Ringheads rejoice! Today in a live-streamed press conference, Lyric's Anthony Freud and Sir Andrew Davis announced that the company will mount an all-new production of Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, led by conductor Sir Andrew Davis and director David Pountney and starring Lyric favorites Christine Goerke and Eric Owens. Rounding out the creative team are set designer Johan Engels, costume designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca, and lighting designer Fabrice Kebour.

Goerke and Owens play Brünnhilde and Wotan, the legendary father-daughter duo whose fraught relationship provides the four-opera cycle with its powerful emotional center.

Along with the entire creative team, Goerke was present at the press conference. Last seen at Lyric absolutely owning Strauss's Elektra in her company debut, Goerke is thrilled to return in such a high-profile role: "I'm beyond excited to do it. Aside from the fact that there's such a familial feeling at Lyric, it's the sight of that house, the space of that house - it's so grand, it suits the music so well, and it suits the scenes so well."   

Goerke shared that her first experience with Wagner was singing the Third Norn, but she always dreamed of being Brünnhilde: "I would stand on the side of the stage and watch the Prologue of Götterdämmerung and think, 'Oh, if some day just once I could do this.' Some day has arrived, which is remarkable."

This Ring cycle marks the first time that Eric Owens will sing Wotan, the king of all the gods. Though Owens has been offered the role of Wotan several times, he was finally tempted to accept Lyric's offer because of the ideal circumstances: "To do one opera per season and then to do the full cycle was the perfect fit, and in a company where I've performed so many times with people I adore, and with the whole atmosphere of the company being so nurturing. When you're stepping out into the unknown and exploring a role that is so iconic, I think this is just a perfect situation."

Owens, who joined the conference live via Skype, also joked that the toughest part of playing Wotan is "keeping straight the names of all the children!"

Freud and Davis also revealed that Pountney will bring his acclaimed production of the newly rediscovered The Passenger  by Mieczysław Weinberg to Lyric in the 2014/15 season. Written in 1967-68 but not fully staged until 2010, The Passenger tells the haunting and deeply powerful story of a chance encounter of a Holocaust survivor and her Nazi overseer. Weinberg was a Holocaust survivor and contemporary of Shostakovich, who lavishly praised Weinberg's work-which was frequently suppressed by the Soviet regime.

This production, first seen at the Bregenz Festival in 2010, shares the same core creative team (Pountney, Engles, Lecca, and Kebour) as Lyric's new Ring cycle. Full casting for The Passenger will be announced on January 27, along with the rest of Lyric's 2014-15 60th anniversary season. Come back to Lyric Lately for more details on that date!

The full schedule of Ring performances is:

2016/17
Das Rheingold
Performances begin October 1, 2016

2017/18
Die Walküre
Performances begin in early November 2017

2018/19
Siegfried
Performances begin in early November 2018

2019/20
Götterdämmerung
Performances begin in late March 2020

2020
Three complete Ring cycles
First cycle begins in April 2020

For those who are truly planning ahead, Das Rheingold goes on sale with the rest of the 2016-17 season in early 2016, and the full Ring cycle will be on sale in 2018. Mark your calendars NOW!

Photo credit: Jaclyn Simpson for Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

Insider's Guide to MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Insider's Guide to Madama Butterfly. Watch Sir Andrew Davis, Renée Fleming, and Anthony Freud discuss Puccini's masterpiece, listen to audio previews, and more!

Patricia Racette and Stefano Secco assume the roles of Butterfly and Pinkerton when Puccini's Madama Butterfly returns to Lyric January 11-26. Experience the love, loss, and ultimate sacrifice of this deeply romantic tragedy.

Plot synopsis.

Read an article about Lyric's new production.

Further reading: "The Obi and the Dagger: Tradition plays a powerful role in the world of Puccini's Cio-Cio-San" by Geraldine Otani Grine and Director's Note.



Music director Sir Andrew Davis, creative consultant Renée Fleming, and general director Anthony Freud discuss Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly:



Madama Butterfly Discovery Series

Puccini’s East-meets-West heartbreaker is one of the most popular operas of all time. Amanda Echalaz (Cio-Cio-San), James Valenti (Pinkerton), and conductor Marco Armiliato discuss how this early 20th century blockbuster engages us on many different levels. Moderated by dramaturg Roger Pines.

Download (right click and "Save Target As" / "Save Link As")

Madama Butterfly Audio Preview

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

 

Madama Butterfly Commentary

Madama Butterfly 
by Giacomo Puccini

© 2013/14 Lyric Opera Commentaries 

Original sound recordings of musical excerpts used by permission of EMI Classics. All rights reserved. Post-production services provided by Mark Travis, Producer.

 

Download (right click and "Save Target As" / "Save Link As")

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Lyric goes to London

July 19 reunited Lyric's mighty triumvirate of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming at the Royal Opera House for a semi-staged concert performance of Richard Strauss's final opera, Capriccio

FlemingCapriccio

July 19 reunited Lyric's mighty triumvirate of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming at the Royal Opera House for a semi-staged concert performance of Richard Strauss's final opera, Capriccio. With Anthony in the audience, Sir Andrew conducted Renée as the Countess, one of her signature roles, to great acclaim:

 "Swathed in a glittering Vivienne Westwood gown, she look[ed] ravishing and the soft, poised, top notes in the closing minutes hung in the air like so many silvery moonbeams." Richard Fairman, Financial Times

"Andrew Davis is a master Straussian, conducting with unassertive ease and stroking the requisite velvet out of the strings." Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph  

Lyric's leaders are working on four continents this summer! Where in the world is...

Anthony Freud? In addition to seeing Capriccio, Anthony attended the Royal Opera House's production of Benjamin Britten's Gloriana. Other highlights of his work travels in Europe included André Tchaikowsky's The Merchant of Venice and Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Bregenz Festival in Austria, Verdi's Attila at Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and Verdi's Il Trovatore and Wagner's Lohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In August and September, Anthony will attend performances at Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne, Bayreuth, and Salzburg.

Sir Andrew Davis? Sir Andrew's summer engagements in the UK require him to juggle three scores at the same time! In August, he returns to the Glyndebourne Festival, two hours south of London, where he will conduct Billy Budd for the Benjamin Britten centennial. Sir Andrew will lead the Glyndebourne cast and chorus and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a live broadcast of Billy Budd for the BBC Proms. BBC Proms fans also await Sir Andrew's rendition of Tippett's A Midsummer Marriage with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Sir Andrew will spend September with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, where he is music director. His programs in Melbourne include conducting Ryan Opera Center alumni Amber Wagner and René Barbera in Verdi's Requiem.October finds Sir Andrew back home in Chicago for Parsifal.

Renée Fleming? Renée's end-of-July recital in Dublin caps off a terrific season of international touring, including performances in China, Taiwan, Austria, and the United Kingdom, and a stop by the White House to receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. Renée's upcoming season once again will take her to all corners of the globeincluding Chicago for her first-ever duo concert with tenor sensation Jonas Kaufmann. 

Pictured above: Soprano Renée Fleming sings the Countess in Richard Strauss's Capriccio at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. (Photo: Royal Opera House/Catherine Ashmore)

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Divas and Gentlemen

Great divas Anna Netrebko, Albina Shagimuratova, and Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming join general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and president and CEO Kenneth G. Pigott for a Lyric family photo shoot.

This week, the stars aligned at Lyric when three stratospheric sopranos graced Lyric's stage on three consecutive evenings:

Renée Fleming as Blanche DuBois in André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire on March 26.

Albina Shagimuratova as Gilda in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto on March 27.

Anna Netrebko as Mimì in Giacomo Puccini's La bohème on March 28. 

              Diva shoot

(l-r:) Anthony Freud, Sir Andrew Davis, Anna Netrebko, Kenneth G. Pigott, and Renée Fleming. Todd Rosenberg Photography.

Anna and Albina graciously joined Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming, general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and president and CEO Kenneth G. Pigott for a Lyric family photo shoot.  

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