Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Lyric Libations: IL TROVATORE

Nothing says fall like Verdi's epic drama Il Trovatore (on stage until November 29). This opera truly has everything you could possibly ask for: a larger-than-life plot and blockbuster music to match. Get into the spirit with one of these delightful concoctions. You'll be singing along to The Anvil Chorus while tipsy in no time.

Nothing says fall like Verdi's epic drama Il Trovatore (on stage until November 29). This opera truly has everything you could possibly ask for: a larger-than-life plot and blockbuster music to match. Get into the spirit with one of these delightful concoctions. You'll be singing along to The Anvil Chorus while tipsy in no time. 

The Troubadour 

Channel your inner Manrico with this blackberry and white rum concoction. Warning: This drink may cause civil strife and mistaken identities. It will not cause witches to be burned at the stake or babies switched at birth.

  • 6 fresh blackberries
  • fresh mint leaves
  • 1.5  ounces white rum
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice

In a cup or shaker, mash 3 blackberries (just enough to get the juice) and mix with mint leaves. Add shot of rum and ice, then shake. Pour into wine goblet. Add cranberry juice and sugar (to taste). Put 3 blackberries on a bamboo pick, and lay bamboo pick across the top of the goblet. Garnish with mint sprigs. (Recipe from Smarty Had a Party)

The Gypsy's Curse 

This tangy, spicy drink has nothing on Azucena's life-long bitterness. It's the perfect way to quench your thirst for revenge without plotting to have your arch-nemesis kill his long-lost brother.

  • 1 orange wedge
  • 13 cranberries
  • Three 1-inch pieces crystallized ginger- 2 minced and 1 whole for garnish
  • 2 ounces Aperol
  • 1 ounce Lillet Blanc
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces hard cider
  • 4 dashes Cranberry-Anise Bitters or Peychaud's bitters

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the orange wedge with 10 of the cranberries and the minced ginger. Add the Aperol, Lillet Blanc, bitters and ice. Shake well. Double-strain the drink into an ice-filled Collins glass and top off with the hard cider. Garnish with the 3 remaining cranberries and the slice of ginger skewered on a toothpick. (Recipe from Food & Wine)

Count di Luna's Cider Punch 

This recipe can feed an entire army of soldiers while they are waiting for you to kidnap your beloved from a convent. The combination of hard cider, whiskey, and ginger beer will keep even the sleepiest minion awake on a dark, dark night.

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 1 750 ml. bottle of dry hard cider
  • 3 12-ounce bottles of ginger beer 
  • 1 1/2 cups whiskey
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • Several dashes orange bitters
  • 1 orange sliced into rounds, for garnish
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Combine the ciders, ginger beer, whiskey, lemon juice, and bitters in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir to combine. Top with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Ladle into ice-filled punch glasses. (Recipe from Saveur)

Leonora's Amberjack

In honor of Il Trovatore star Amber Wagner, the perfect drink for the lovelorn is this cocktail that mixes two fall flavors: apple and maple syrup. It's not quite as extreme as Leonora's method for getting out of a sticky situation, but drinking a few of these will quickly wash away all of your troubles. 

  • Ice
  • 1 ounce apple vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Macallan Amber (Scotch-based maple-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/2 ounce Calvados (apple brandy)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces chilled apple lambic
  • 1 thin green apple slice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Macallan Amber, Calvados and lime juice; shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass, stir in the lambic and garnish with the apple slice. (Recipe from Food & Wine)

Photo credits:

  • Lyric's 2014-15 season production of Il Trovatore (credit Michael Brosilow)

 

 

Experience the “vocal thunder” and “visceral grit” in IL TROVATORE

"It seems like Lyric Opera can do no wrong this season"  - or so says the Chicago Classical Review. Lyric's production of Verdi's epic  Il Trovatore  is another bonafide hit. Your fall is not complete without seeing this "blazing romantic drama" (Chicago Stage Standard), now at Lyric through November 29.

"It seems like Lyric Opera can do no wrong this season"- or so says the Chicago Classical Review. Lyric's production of Verdi's epic Il Trovatore is another bonafide hit. Your fall is not complete without seeing this "blazing romantic drama" (Chicago Stage Standard), now at Lyric through November 29.

"Lyric's 'Il Trovatore' is grand opera at its finest" - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

"Lyric Opera delivers the vocal thunder in a dark and combustible 'Trovatore'" - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"an effective amalgam of visual beauty and visceral grit" - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Chicago Tribune

 "This is a performance worth seeing, if only for the tremendous performances by each star in the ensemble. Whether this is your first opera or your 60th, the Lyric's Il Trovatore does not disappoint." - Tim Corpus, Chicago Stage Standard

"I've experienced the delirious pleasure of Il Trovatore many times before, but never get tired of it—especially when the intoxicating masterpiece is mounted with Lyric's magnificent attention to detail and flair for exceptional dramatization." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture

The Can't-Miss Cast 

Yonghoon Lee as Manrico

" Tall, slim and handsome, Lee unleashed his agile tenor with youthful ardor." - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

" the Korean tenor sang with imposing power and lyric sensitivity" - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"he is like a reborn Golden Age tenor having returned to the opera stage." - William Burnett, Opera Warhorses

Quinn Kelsey as Count di Luna

"Kelsey has now fully graduated into the leading Verdi baritone roles he was clearly born to sing." - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Chicago Tribune

"the Ryan Center alum proved an explosive presence as Count di Luna" - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"While singing his heartfelt aria about his love for Leonora, his performance shakes you to the point where, for a moment, you forget he is the bad guy." - Tim Corpus, Chicago Stage Standard  

Amber Wagner as Leonora

"It was clear from the first time Lyric put her on a Chicago stage that Wagner has that rarity, a voice that's not just excellent but—in its power and unique timbre—actually thrilling over most of its range. That voice, like a searchlight in a room full of candles, is magnificently on display in Lyric Opera's current production of Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore." - Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader

"Amber Wagner spun reams of gorgeous, creamy tone"  - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Chicago Tribune

"Amber Wagner brought the crowd to a roaring applause" - Tim Corpus, Chicago Stage Standard

"…she belongs in any list of the world's great Verdian sopranos" - William Burnett, Opera Warhorses

Stephanie Blythe as Azucena

Stephanie Blythe's "big, rich mezzo-soprano combined both ringing clarity and smoky depths as the tormented gypsy poured out her tale of sorrow and vengeance." - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

"As Azucena, Stephanie Blythe comes through with a delicious mezzo-soprano that reverberates with her tale of woe and desire for revenge." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture

"No singer can sing everything, with just one caveat: Stephanie Blythe. Her characterization of the gypsy Azucena was appropriately gripping, and I’m certain she could have been heard in the theater at any vocal level she desired from the comfort of her dressing room." - Aaron Hunt, New City

The Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus

"Conductor Asher Fisch drew a most satisfying account of the score from his players (not to mention those anvils!)." - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Chicago Tribune

"Even by their current elevated standard, Michael Black's chorus sang with tremendous strength and sonorous impact, with the soldier's choruses especially resounding."  - Lawrence A. Johsnon, Chicago Classical Review

"Soft-edged, plangent woodwinds underscored the opera's melancholy mood, and pulsing strings were a comforting presence its opera's quiet moments. But when the famous Anvil Chorus erupted, the dry ring of massive hammers on unforgiving metal was both thrilling and chilling." - Wynne DelacomaChicago Sun-Times

Photo credits

  • Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Il Trovatore (credit Michael Brosilow)

 

Your guide to an operatic Halloween

No need to go as a superhero or your favorite president for Halloween this year - opera is full of larger-than-life characters, from Azucena to the Commendatore, that will make you the talk of your costume party.

No need to go as a superhero or your favorite president for Halloween this year - opera is full of larger-than-life characters, from Azucena to the Commendatore, that will make you the talk of your costume party. 

Azucena from Il Trovatore

 
The revenge-obsessed gypsy 

 
Costume: Think of it as peasant-chic. A colorful bohemian blouse and skirt with beaded necklace. Bed head is encouraged!

Must-have accessory: Convince some friends to join in the fun and sing the Anvil Chorus wherever you go. Or just carry around a knife to lend that authentic touch.

Optional: Make it a night to remember by orchestrating the demise of your adopted son, who is actually the brother of your sworn enemy.

Henry VIII from Anna Bolena

 
The lustful king

Costume: An ermine robe is the only way to go, plus the latest in 16th century fashion: doublet, jerkin, and hose.

Must-have accessory: Crown and scepter.

Optional: Have a second date lined up for later in the night just in case you have to move on to plan B...for Boleyn. 

 Floria Tosca from Tosca


The ultimate diva

Costume: A diva never leaves the house in anything less than her best gown. Hair and jewelry should be over-the-top. Think bling!

Must-have accessory: A handsome painter who calls you his muse.

Optional: A willingness to take a big leap in the name of love

Venus from Tannhäuser

The goddess of love

Costume: A seductive goddess gown will help lure men into your realm.

Must-have accessory: A giant bed always helps when you're encouraging people to give in to the pleasures of the flesh.

Optional: To truly mimic the pleasure of Venusburg, surround yourself with a coterie of attractive ballet dancers at your Halloween bacchanal.

Manrico from Il Trovatore


The warrior-troubadour and devoted son

Costume: A puffy shirt, tight pants, and leather boots are your preferred look.

Must-have accessories: A lute to serenade your beloved and a sword to fight your enemies.

Optional: An ongoing feud with your arch-nemesis, who also happens to be your brother.

Donna Elvira from Don Giovanni

 
The independent lady

Costume: Think 1920s chic…pants, pin-curled hair, and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Donna Elvira would probably love hanging out with a young Amelia Earhart.

Must-have accessory: Motorcycle

Optional: If you can recreate the Picasso dress from Lyric's new production, go nuts!!!

The Commendatore from Don Giovanni


The murdered father / escort to the underworld

Costume: Channel your inner statue - paint any suit or military outfit green and gray and be sure to cover your face and hair in a ghost-like sheen.

Must-have accessory: Bring your own pedestal, for better lurking in a cemetery.  

Optional: We're not saying that you have to condemn someone to hell, but it's nice to know you have the power.

Photo credits

  • Stephanie Blythe in Lyric's production of Il Trovatore; credit Michael Brosilow / Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Kyle Ketelsen as Henry VIII in Anna Bolena; credit Michal Daniel / Minnesota Opera
  • Doina Dimitriu (left) and Violeta Urmana at Lyric; credit Dan Rest / Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Michaela Schuster in 

    Tannhäuser; credit 

     Clive Barda / Royal Opera House
  • Yonghoon Lee in Il Trovatore at Lyric; credit Michael Brosilow / Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Ana María Martínez in Don Giovanni at Lyric; credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • Andrea Silvestrelli 

    Don Giovanni at Lyric; credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago

 

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.

Have you tuned into Lyric U? It's Lyric's new resource for things opera, giving everyone an easy way to explore, discover, and engage. Whether you're new to the art form and looking for Opera 101 or an aficionado who wants to earn a PhD in Advanced Opera Studies, let Lyric U guide the way with this ever-expanding video library.

One of the new features on Lyric U is "From Soprano to Bass: Exploring Voice in Opera." Sir Andrew Davis, Renée Fleming, and Anthony Freud are your guides through the seven different categories of the human voice in this in-depth video series.

The first video in the series focuses on the baritone. This vocal range might be stuck in the middle of tenor and bass, but the baritone is definitely not a voice that can be easily overlooked. Some of the most famous roles in opera are portrayed by baritones-the ultimate bad boy in Mozart's Don Giovanni, the resourceful fixer Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, the king of the gods Wotan in Wagner's Ring cycle, and the great title roles in Verdi's Rigoletto, Falstaff, and Simon Boccanegra

 

Want to hear more? Below are video samples of some of the great baritone showcases that you can hear as part of Lyric's 2014-15 season.

Il Trovatore  - "Il balen del suo sorriso"

In Act 2 "The Gypsy" of Verdi's Il Trovatore, the villainous Count di Luna sings of his devotion to Leonora, who has decided to enter a convent because she believes her true love Manrico is dead. Though di Luna's song speaks to a beautiful love, he is actually plotting to kidnap her - thinking that the convent is the only obstacle to their happiness. Ryan Opera Center alum Quinn Kelsey takes on the role at Lyric from October 27 to November 29. 

 

(Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Metropolitan Opera, 2011)

Porgy and Bess  - "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'"

This quintessential American opera has many timeless songs, including "Summertime" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now, but one of Porgy's most famous arias is this ode to his simple life. Lyric favorite Eric Owens brings this iconic role to Chicago from November 17 to December 20. 

 

(Lawrence Winters, Columbia Masterworks recording, 1951)

Tosca - Te Deum

Scarpia, the police chief who is ruthlessly hunting the rebel artist Cavaradossi, sings of his lust and terrible plan to force Tosca into loving him, against the backdrop of a prayer. This season, two singers take on this villianous role: Evgeny Nikitin (Lyric debut, January 24 to February 5) and Mark Delavan (February 27 to March 14). 

 

(George Gagnidze, Metropolitan Opera, 2009)

Tannhäuser  - "O du mein holder Abendstern" (Song of the Evening Star)

This aria from Act 3 of Tannhäuser is in the pantheon of one of the most beautiful arias ever written, and is one of Wagner's most haunting melodies. Wolfram von Eschenbach loves the faithful and chaste Elisabeth, but she is in love with Tannhäuser; in this aria, he has a premonition of her death. Gerald Finley stars as Wolfram at Lyric from February 9 to March 6. 

 

(Peter Mattei, Staatsoper Berlin, 2014)

Don Giovanni  - "Deh vieni all finestra"

While posing as his right-hand man Leporello, Don Giovanni serenades the maid of his former conquest Donna Elvira with this lovely aria from Act Two. Mariusz Kwiecień stars in Lyric's hot-blooded new production through October 29. 

 

(Bryn Terfel, Metropolitan Opera, 2000)

Photo credits:

  • Top row: Quinn Kelsey (credit Dan Rest / Lyric Opera of Chicago); Evgeny Nikitin (credit Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera)
  • Bottom row: Eric Owens in Porgy and Bess (credit Terrence McCarthy / San Francisco Opera); Mariusz Kwiecień stars as the title role in Don Giovanni (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

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