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Lyric Unlimited 2015 Highlights

2015 is going to be a busy year for Lyric Unlimited, which is presenting three world premieres and a brand-new family performance! Read more about these great new projects, which include a klezmer opera and a zoo opera!

2015 is going to be a busy year for Lyric Unlimited, which is presenting three world premieres and a brand-new family performance! Lyric General Director Anthony Freud and Lyric Unlimited Director Cayenne Harris take you through these exciting new projects:

 

Adapted from the acclaimed graphic novel by Rutu Modan, The Property tells the story of Regina Segal and her granddaughter Mica, who travel to modern Warsaw to try to regain family property lost during World War II. As their journey unfolds, Regina is forced to confront painful truths about her past, while Mica realizes their reasons for coming might not be all that they seemed. 

This world-premiere opera is being composed by Wlad Marhulets and will be in the klezmer style. Stephanie Fleischmann and Eric Einhorn have adapted the novel and will act as librettist and director, respectively.

The Property will be presented in partnership with the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago and will be performed at that venue and at Skokie's North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets go on sale on July 1!

Let's all go to the zoo! In August 2015, Lyric Unlimited presents world premiere of a new children's opera, Second Nature, at the beautiful and historic Lincoln Park Zoo. Second Nature is set in the not-so-distant future, when the environment has deteriorated and humans have decided it's safer to live in zoo-like habitats that protect them from the outside world. Encouraged by the other animal inhabitants, two young children dare to explore the world outside the walls to see if there is still something worth saving. 

American composer Matthew Aucoin is both composer and librettist, and Matthew Ozawa directs. This new presentation is recommended for families with children ages 8 to 12. And best of all, it's free and open to the public!

But wait - there's more!! 

 

Preview performances for the highly anticipated mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina have been added at Benito Juaréz Community Academy in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and Waukegan's historic Genesee Theatre. Tickets for these previews are available July 1. Seats for the world-premiere performances right here at Lyric are available now!

And tickets for The Magic Victrola  are available right now, so save your seats today for this all-new family concert with music from Mozart's The Magic Flute, Bizet's Carmen, and other beloved operatic masterworks.   

Performance Calendar 

The Magic Victrola

lyricopera.org/victrola
With music by Mozart, Bizet, and others
David Kersnar and Jacqueline Russell, writers
Featuring members of the Ryan Opera Center and the Lyric Opera Orchestra

Civic Opera House
20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago
Saturday, January 17, 2015, 3 p.m.
Tickets: $10-$40

The Property

lyricopera.org/property
Based on the graphic novel by Rutu Modan
Adapted by Eric Einhorn and Stephanie Fleischmann
Wlad Marhulets, composer
Stephanie Fleischmann, librettist
Eric Einhorn, director
Featuring members of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

World-Premiere Performances
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
915 E. 60th St., Chicago
Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 26, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 27, 2015, 1 p.m.
Tickets start at $20 (on sale July 1)

The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 5, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $20 (on sale July 1)

El Pasado Nunca Se Termina

lyricopera.org/pasado
Jose "Pepe" Martínez, composer
Leonard Foglia, librettist and director

 

Preview Performances
Benito Juárez Community Academy
1450 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago
Friday, March 13, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 15, 2015, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $10 (on sale July 1)

Genesee Theatre
203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $10-$25 (on sale July 1)

World-Premiere Performances
Civic Opera House
20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 29, 2015, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $25-$125

Second Nature

lyricopera.org/secondnature
Matthew Aucoin, composer and librettist
Matthew Ozawa, director

 

World-Premiere Performances
Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo
2021 N. Stockton Dr., Chicago
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Performances times to be announced.
Free admission.

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Celebrating opera & mariachi in Pilsen!

Lyric Unlimited is proud to present  Canciones y arias, a special performance showcasing the many musical connections between mariachi music and opera on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at the beautiful performing arts center at Benito Juárez Community Academy in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

 

Think opera and mariachi music don't have anything in common? Think again! 

Lyric Unlimited is proud to present Canciones y arias, a special performance showcasing the many musical connections between mariachi music and opera on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at the beautiful performing arts center at Benito Juárez Community Academy in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

Featuring the award-winning Mariachi Aztlán from the University of Texas Pan-American, along with Suzette Mayobre and classical singers Sonja Krenek (soprano) and Carlos A. Feliciano (tenor), this hour-long performance showcases the drama and intensity of storytelling through song—both traditional mariachi songs and classical arias—using examples of popular Mexican musicians like singer Jorge Negrete and composer Manuel M. Ponce, as well as operatic excerpts from Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, and more.

The program traces the ties between the traditional art form of opera and the modern sounds of mariachi music, exploring the roots of mariachi—from indigenous folk music, African and European influences to the Western classical musical tradition of opera. 

Plus, before and after each concert, attendees can view an exhibit by youth artists from Yollocalli Arts Reach and Benito Juárez Community Academy  in the lobby. A student mariachi ensemble of the Chicago Mariachi Project will be performing after each of the concerts as well!

Here is a sneak preview of this very special event:

 

CRUZAR by the numbers

"...[A] moving story with universal appeal, performed with enormous zest and color..." – John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune                                   

Cruzar

 • "...[A] moving story with universal appeal, performed with enormous zest and color..." – John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

• "...[A] remarkably compelling and compact work... [A] persuasive immigration story told in heartfelt musical terms..." – Dennis Polkow, Newcity Stage

• "...[A]n emotional journey for the audience, especially for those who are reminded of their own story or that of a relative..."– Gisela Orozco, Hoy Chicago 

• "The energy of Martinez and his fellow musicians was tremendous. ...All the songs were beautifully performed by the Vargas group and the actor-singers." – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times  

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world's first mariachi opera, first commissioned by Lyric general director Anthony Freud when he was with Houston Opera, is the story of "one family, two countries, one life-changing secret."  Presented in April by Lyric Unlimited, the new audience development and community engagement branch of Lyric Opera. Let's look a little bit closer at Cruzar by the numbers

• Approximately 7520 total audience members attended Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at one of 5 performances.

• Cruzar was presented at 3 venues in 3 different neighborhoods: the Civic Opera House in Chicago's Loop, Benito Juárez Academy in Pilsen on Chicago's South Side, and the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on Chicago's North Shore.

• 42% of the Cruzar audience members at the Civic Opera House were attending their first performance at Lyric.

• 2 internationally renowned mariachi groups performed in Cruzar in Chicago: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and Mariachi Aztlán.

• Cruzar is the 1st Spanish-language composition performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein summarizes: "By presenting the Midwest premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) as the latest project of its Lyric Unlimited program, the company fulfilled several objectives. It reached out to members of the city’s Mexican and Latino communities through an art form many of them had never experienced before. It promoted cross-cultural understanding. It called attention to the multicultural diversity and vitality that help to make Chicago unique among major American cities. It made potential new friends for the company while exposing Lyric regulars to a more populist form of entertainment than they are used to." BRAVO to all who made Cruzar a tremendous success

Lyric beyond the Loop

In April, Lyric guest artists gave spirited performances at alternative Chicago venues, and Lyric-affiliated artists have garnered major international opera awards.

Aztlan at Jumping Bean

In April, Lyric guest artists gave spirited performances at alternative Chicago venues, and Lyric-affiliated artists have garnered major international opera awards:

• While in town to perform at Lyric in the world's first mariachi opera,Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, University of Texas Pan-American Mariachi Aztlán also made time to play brunch at the Café Jumping Bean in Pilsen. Cruzar cast members Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo and Octavio Moreno joined Mariachi Aztlán for the impromptu performance. Earlier this year, Mariachi Aztlán performed during President Obama's second term inauguration festivities and won their third consecutive first prize in the Houston Mariachi Invitational. 

• Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, who next season will make her Lyric debut as Rosina in the new production of The Barber of Seville, has won the 2013 Richard Tucker Award.  "Often referred to as the 'Heisman Trophy of Opera,' it is conferred annually on an opera singer at the threshold of a major international career;" according to the Richard Tucker Foundation, which awards the honor and $30,000 prize. 

• Lyric continued its collaboration with The Second City on April 21 with Improv and Arias: A Sneak Peek, an evening of sketch comedy and song.  Held at The Second City's home in Old Town, Improv and Arias allowed The Second City writers/improvisers/ensemble members and Ryan Opera Center alums Bernard Holcomb and Emily Birsan an opportunity to workshop material for the June run of The Second City Guide to the Opera at the Civic Opera House.

• The inaugural International Opera Awards were held in London on April 22, 2013, and tenor Jonas Kaufmann took home the prize for Best Male Singer.  The German heartthrob is scheduled to sing with Renée Fleming at the Civic Opera House in the 2013-14 Subscriber Appreciation Concert. The International Opera Awards were launched by London businessman Harry Hyman and Opera Magazine editor John Allison as a way to generate public excitement about opera and raise funds for the international opera community.  Kaufmann also won the first inaugural Opera Magazine Readers' Award.

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