Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Lyric Libations: TOSCA

Love. Jealousy. Revolution. Death. It all can be found in Puccini's Tosca (at Lyric January 24 through March 14). Three characters-the rebel, the diva, and the villain-are caught a game of cat-and-mouse with deadly consequences. Non-stop drama could require a cocktail (or three) to unwind. Pick your favorite!

Love. Jealousy. Revolution. Death. It all can be found in Puccini's Tosca (at Lyric January 24 through March 14). Three characters—the rebel, the diva, and the villain—are caught a game of cat-and-mouse with deadly consequences. Non-stop drama could require a cocktail (or three) to unwind. Pick your favorite!

Vissi d'arte 

Floria Tosca lives only for art and for love—her passionate nature leads her to make some impulsive, and ultimately deadly, decisions. This cocktail pays tribute to her over-the-top personality with sweet agave and spicy jalapeno; blood oranges give it an appropriately crimson color (no stabbing required!).  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 fl ounces) fresh squeezed blood orange juice
  • 2 tbs Agave
  • 4 fl ounces whiskey
  • 1 medium sized jalapeño, chopped, stem removed (about 2 tbs)

In a cocktail shaker, add the blood orange juice, agave and whiskey, stir until combined. Add the jalapenos, replace the shaker cap and shake three times, immediately pour through a strainer into two highball glasses filled with ice, straining out the jalapeños. Discard the jalapeño.  (Recipe from Honest Cooking)

The Rebel Artist 

Mario Cavaradossi is hot-blooded and brash; his love for Tosca is only equaled by his fervent political beliefs. Quench your thirst for justice with this fiery cocktail that combines sweet strawberries with spicy Sriracha.

Ingredients

  • Half of 1 ripe strawberry
  • 1 stalk cilantro, chopped in 3 pieces
  • 2 thin slices cucumber
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce agave nectar
  • 1/8 ounce amaro (I used Averna)
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 drops Sriracha, or more to taste
  • Ice
  • Garnish: 3 thin slices cucumber

Muddle strawberry, cilantro, and two cucumber slices. Add lime juice, agave nectar, amaro, tequila, and Sriracha. Fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with remaining cucumber slices. (Recipe from Serious Eats)

Scarpia's Sazerac 

This classic cocktail is as bitter as Scarpia's soul. The strong poison seeps into your veins and can make you susceptible to all kinds of dark insinuations. Those who are easily swayed by their emotions have been warned!

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 1/2 ounces rye whisky
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • absinthe
  • lemon peel

In an Old-Fashioned glass (not a mixing glass; it's part of the ritual), muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water. Add several small ice cubes and the rye whiskey, the Peychaud's bitters, and the Angostura bitters. Stir well and strain into a second, chilled, Old-Fashioned glass in which you have rolled around a few drops of absinthe until its inside is thoroughly coated, pouring off the excess. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.  (Recipe from Esquire)

Tosca's Kiss 

This drink is deceptively sweet and naive, but ultimately just as potent as the diva for which it is named. It's the perfect cocktail to sip if you want to forget all of your troubles. Or, for a more sinister use, it truly could be the kiss of death for the sadistic man who is plotting to kill your one true love and take his place in your heart…and your bed.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 oz Red Vodka
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 tbsp Apricot Brandy

Shake all ingredients well with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Recipe from Spiritdrinks.com)

Photo credits:

  • Tatiana Serjan, Brian Jagde, and Evgeny Nikitin in Puccini's Tosca at Lyric Opera of Chicago (credit Todd Rosenberg) 

 

Steppin' with Sportin' Life

Porgy and Bess star Jermaine Smith gives you a personal dance lesson in this behind-the-scenes video. Follow along as he takes you through, step-by-step, some of his great dance moves during his showstopping solo "It Ain't Necessarily So."

Porgy and Bess star Jermaine Smith gives you a personal dance lesson in this behind-the-scenes video. Follow along as he takes you through, step-by-step, some of his great dance moves during his showstopping solo "It Ain't Necessarily So."

 

Lean more about his journey to opera stardom in this great interview with ChicagoNOW's Patricia Andrews-Keenan. He also was interviewed about the show and performed with pianist Matthew Piatt in this segment from WCIU's You &Me This Morning

Be sure to catch him in action on stage at Lyric until December 20! 

Photo credits:

  • Porgy and Bess at Lyric Opera of Chicago (credit Todd Rosenberg)

Which PORGY AND BESS character are you?

Are you a stalwart hero like Porgy, a nurturing mother like Clara, or a fun-loving yet troubled soul like Bess? Find out who your Porgy and Bess character soul mate is with this new quiz!

Are you a stalwart hero like Porgy, a nurturing mother like Clara, or a fun-loving yet troubled soul like Bess? Find out with this quiz! Once you've found your match, be sure to see your Catfish Row counterpart at Lyric in Porgy and Bess, on stage until December 20. 

 

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)

 

 

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