Lyric Opera of Chicago

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The “Stars” are aligning September 6

Can't wait for this year's free Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert? Here are a few tips and tricks to make this evening of opera enjoyable. Be there early on Saturday, September 6 to hold your place on the lawn before concert time of 7:30pm.

Can't wait for this year's free Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert? It's the official kickoff to Lyric's Diamond Anniversary Season and part of Millennium Park's 10th Anniversary Summer Celebration, so this is the perfect night to hear opera under the stars. Here are a few tips and tricks to make this evening memorable. 

Arrive fashionably early

We recommend coming downtown early on Saturday, September 6 to hold your perfect place on the lawn before concert time of 7:30pm. This year there will be pre-concert entertainment provided by members of the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America between 6:45 and 7:10pm. If you're looking for a seat in the pavilion, it opens up at 6pm—and they go fast!

Don't forget your phone 

This year, you'll be able to follow along with all of the English translations at lyricoperalive.org. There will be titles in real time, a link to the entire program to peruse at your leisure, and even a contest to win tickets for next season. And of course you'll need your phone to take that perfect selfie so you can show off your perfect "night at the opera under the stars" pic on social media! Use #LyricStars to connect with fellow opera lovers. No matter how you use it, your mobile is a must-have this year.

A good picnic is essential 

Whether you're making everything from scratch or picking up nibbles from Mariano's, Jewel, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or even ordering a picnic from Pastoral, it always pays off to come early and bring a wonderful spread for friends.

Love is in the air 

During last year's concert, there was a wedding proposal on the lawn (evidence below)! An evening of opera under the stars is the ideal setting to show your special someone you care.

Babies love opera 

Bring your kids! Millennium Park is a great way to get children of all ages to listen to opera with plenty of park to enjoy.

Costumes are encouraged 

Here's an enthusiastic audience member sporting his best Brünnhilde headgear. You can hit up Lyric's Costume Sale earlier in the day to get some fabulous threads to show off at the evening's concert. September 6 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Civic Opera House—be there or be square!

And the music will be amazing 

This year's program features some of the stars from the upcoming season, including the incredible cast of the season-opening Don Giovanni and singers from the  Ryan Opera Center. Lyric's music director Sir Andrew Davis leads the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus in all of their musical splendor. 

Looking for a preview? Here are just some of the selections you will hear on September 6.

"Te Deum" Finale from Tosca (Metropolitan Opera, 2010)

 

Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture (Christian Thielemann conducts the Munich Philharmonic)

 

"Patria oppressa" from Verdi's Macbeth (Gran Teatre del Liceu, 2005)

 

Photos credit Robert Kusel / Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

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

Renée Fleming and Jonas Kaufmann – A Night to Remember!

Renée Fleming, Lyric's own creative consultant, joined forces with THE tenor of the moment Jonas Kaufmann for their very first duo recital, a historic event that showcased these two magnificent performers at the height of their artistry.

The Civic Opera House was filled with love for the 2014 Subscriber Appreciation Concert, which featured two stars coming together for a one-night-only event.

Renée Fleming, Lyric's own creative consultant, joined forces with THE tenor of the moment Jonas Kaufmann for their very first duo recital, an historic event that showcased these two magnificent performers at the height of their artistry. 

Accompanied by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, superbly led by Lyric Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, Kaufmann and Fleming performed to a sold-out crowd a program that showcased the music of love: duets and arias from Faust, La forza del destino, Manon, Otello, Carmen, and Werther, interspersed with expertly chosen instrumental interludes by Saint-Saëns, Verdi, and Sir Michael Tippett.

In addition to the announced program, the duo delighted the audience with two encores: the Waltz from The Merry Widow and "Marietta's Lied" from Korngold's Die tote Stadt. Fleming's two gorgeous gowns were designed by Vivienne Westwood with jewelry by Ann Ziff for Tamsen Z.

This was a homecoming of sorts for Kaufmann, who made his U.S. debut as Cassio in Lyric's production of Otello to open the 2001-02 season. And playing Desdemona? Fleming, of course!

The next time to see Fleming on stage at Lyric is in Strauss's Capriccio  in October 2014. Subscriptions are available now! Kaufmann's latest album, a recording of Schubert's Winterreise, is due out on April 1.

Photo credits: Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Countdown to OKLAHOMA!—5 days!

37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra will play an Oklahoma! of almost operatic proportions, featuring the original Robert Russell Bennett orchestrations. According to Lyric conductor James Lowe, “We have been able to re-create the score in a way that I don't think has been done in many years. People are going to hear the music in a new way. There's so much warmth and lyricism in it."

Oklahoma banner

It's only Monday afternoon, but Lyric's dance card for the weekend is already full. Oklahoma! opens Saturday, May 4, at 7:30pm. 

For a behind-the-scenes preview, check out 91-year-old choreographer Gemze de Lappe, who danced Dream Laurey in the national company and London run of the original 1943 production.

 

Rodgers and Hammerstein's heroine dances to her own tune. So naturally Lyric's Laurey, Ashley Brown, was excited for her first rehearsal with the Lyric Opera Orchestra: 

37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra will play an Oklahoma! of almost operatic proportions, featuring the original Robert Russell Bennett orchestrations. Most Broadway orchestras use simplified arrangements to cut costs and because Broadway pits cannot accommodate enough musicians.  According to Lyric conductor James Lowe, “We have been able to re-create the score in a way that I don't think has been done in many years. People are going to hear the music in a new way. There's so much warmth and lyricism in it."

Broadway actor Curtis Holbrook, playing Will Parker, confirms:

A stunning Oklahoma! is just five days away! Purchase your ticket here!

Masterful MEISTERSINGER

Epic praise for Lyric's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, starring James Morris.

Meistersinger stage shot

Photo: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Chicago critics agree with Twitter users on all accounts about Lyric Opera of Chicago's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg!  There are three more opportunities to enjoy:

• The cast– "...first rate from top to bottom...deploying both vocal power and dramatic insight to shape their characters." – Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times
 
• The conducting–  "Lyric Opera of Chicago's new co-production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is five and a half hours short, due first and foremost to Lyric music director Andrew Davis, whose Wagner is luminous." – Nancy Malitz, Chicago on the Aisle
 
• The Lyric Opera Orchestra–  "Even by their standard, [they] played gloriously with refined, majestic brass, personality-plus woodwinds and gleaming, burnished string playing throughout." – Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
 
• The design–  "With airy yet intricately wrought sets and costumes by Vicki Mortimer, Lyric's Meistersinger looks like a pastoral 19th-century painting." – Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times
 
• The production–  "...warm, accessible, and very charming..." – Lori Dana, Chicago Stage Review
 
In short, "...opportunities to experience Die Meistersinger, let alone one this good, don't come around very often." - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune  Click on any of the three remaining performance dates to reserve tickets: Feb. 23, Feb. 27, or March 3.

 

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