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Critics love Lyric's “bold, provocative, hot-blooded” DON GIOVANNI

Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season has started off in style. Critics are raving about the new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni from renowned director Robert Falls of the Goodman Theatre, with Lyric's music director Sir Andrew Davis on the podium. Seductive and stunning, this is the can't-miss event of the fall season. Here are just a few reasons why.

Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season has started off in style. Critics are raving about the new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni from renowned director Robert Falls of the Goodman Theatre, with Lyric's music director Sir Andrew Davis on the podium. Seductive and stunning, this is the can't-miss event of the fall season. Here are just a few reasons why. 

Robert Falls's audacious staging 

"Falls' bold, provocative, hot-blooded new production of 'Don Giovanni' opened Lyric's 60th anniversary season Saturday night at the Civic Opera House, and it had the audience cheering for numerous reasons. … This 'Don Giovanni' is as nourishing to the eye as it is to the ear and mind." - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"Director Robert Falls' fresh, boldly conceived staging infused new life into Mozart's dramma giocoso. " - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"The production of Giovanni, which just opened at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, is a glorious triumph for Falls, and a spectacular opening to the Lyric's 60th season. Falls re-imagination of Don Giovanni has it all—passion, sex, heartbreak, murder, jealousy, and revenge. " - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture

"[Lyric's] cast and crew throw themselves into Falls' approach, and what results is an impressive theatrical and musically intensive brew that will have you laughing one minute while gasping with indignation the next." - Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald 

"Run, do not walk, to the Civic Opera House and catch this show." - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

The exceptional cast 

"Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień is one of the world's best Don Giovannis, a trim, handsome bundle of raging testosterone. " - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times 

"The Polish baritone wielded his robust, burnished baritone with such elegant style and tonal beauty, it was easy to understand why all the women of Europe are dropping at his feet." - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez is wonderfully fiery with a dusky sound as the revenge-bent Donna Elvira (she also clearly relishes her "modern woman" role reconceptualization—even arriving via motorcycle)." - Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald 

"It's a tribute to Kyle Ketelsen that he held his own with Kwiecien's Don, more than is usually the case. The bass-baritone delivered a nimble and witty Catalog Aria and firmly brought out the servant's seething resentment as well as the men's camaraderie with a natural conversational quality to their rapid-fire exchanges." - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"I found [Marina Rebeka's] Donna Anna superb: The sound was creamy, voluminous and steady as a laser, with plenty of fiery temperament to match the dramatic thrust of her singing." - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Andriana Chuchman "brought a charming yet vixenish quality to the good-girl flirt and sang her two arias with notably youthful spirit." - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

"...bass-baritone Michael Sumuel deftly captured Masetto's mix of jealous male and vulnerable lover." - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

Antonio Poli's "ardent, tender arias shaped Don Ottavio, often a bland cipher, into the opera's sole voice of reason." - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times 

"Andrea Silvestrelli's Commendatore was towering in height and sonorous of voice" - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

 Sir Andrew Davis and the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus 

"Lyric music director Sir Andrew Davis conducted the Lyric Orchestra with plenty of panache, bringing out the light and dark colors of Mozart's timeless score with buoyant style." - Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald

"…music director Andrew Davis drew lithe, elegant, stylish playing from his fine orchestra that felt all of a piece with the Don's high-stakes games of seduction." - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"the magnificence of the production should also be credited to Sir Andrew Davis, who at the helm of Lyric’s exceptional orchestra, gives his all to Mozart’s delicious score; [and] to Michael Black who brings out the best in Lyric’s chorus..." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture

The fantastic sets and costumes 

"Walt Spangler's scenic design is consistently imaginative, centered on a traditional balconied facade of a Spanish house as unit set with striking splashes of flowers and color." - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review  

" Not only are the sets something to behold, but so too are the ravishing costumes by Ana Kuzmanic that evoke the carefree flamboyance of the Jazz Age." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture

"…in the ball scene, [Ana Kuzmanic's] lavishly stylized, brocade and velvet costumes for Donna Elvira, Donna Anna (Marina Rebeka) and Don Ottavio (Antonio Poli) clearly delineated the chasm between the aristocrats and the common folk, an important point for Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. " - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

The spectacular final scene 

"While everything about the opera soars, the climactic scene (which I won't spoil), in which Giovanni is sent to hell, is jaw-dropping stunning. This is the best Don Giovanni I have ever seen. Opera lovers will be talking about it for a long time." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture

"There is a juicily melodramatic death scene for the Don whose surprising details I will not spoil by revealing." - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Photo credits:

  • Don Giovanni photos credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago

 

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!

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