Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma Together Again!

On December 11, Lyric Opera of Chicago creative consultant Renée Fleming joined Chicago Symphony Orchestra creative consultant Yo-Yo Ma at a key event supporting arts education in the Chicago Public Schools. 

On December 11, Lyric Opera of Chicago creative consultant Renée Fleming joined Chicago Symphony Orchestra creative consultant Yo-Yo Ma at a key event supporting arts education in the Chicago Public Schools.

To an audience of CPS principals, network chiefs, teachers, and students, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced that 45 schools would be receiving funding for art learning opportunities. These awards are the inaugural grants from the newly created Creative Schools Fund, which is part of the CPS Arts Education Plan. 

Among the 45 grantees are seven schools that have participated in Lyric Unlimited’s educational programs this season: Charles R. Darwin Elementary School, George Armstrong International Studies Elementary School, Henry Clay Elementary School, Hiram H. Belding Elementary School, Jordan Elementary Community School, Kenwood Academy High School, and Lionel Hampton Fine & Performing Arts Elementary School.

After remarks from Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud and the announcement from the mayor, Renée spoke passionately about the transformative power of arts in schools. The daughter of two public school music teachers, she described being a shy teenager who found her voice and a way of expressing herself through music and poetry.  

The event featured performances from student groups, including a choir from Gallery 37, an afterschool choral program for CPS students that is also one of five participants in Lyric’s Vocal Partnership Program. This expanded program, part of Lyric Unlimited, gives students the opportunity to learn about opera and develop their skills through special events such as Lyric Opera performances and rehearsals, backstage tours, and master classes and conversations with main stage artists.

Kiela Nelson, a member of the Gallery 37 choir, is also part of Lyric’s new Youth Opera Council. She and her fellow singers met and mingled with Renée Fleming after the event.

Renée and Yo-Yo also performed a delightful rendition of “Winter Wonderland,” a nod to the arctic temperatures in Chicago and across the nation.  

Lyric and the CSO are the lead arts partners for the CPS Arts Education Plan. As part of that collaboration, Fleming and Ma have been named National Cultural Advisors, providing guidance to CPS and the Mayor’s Office and raising awareness of the importance of the arts for every child in every classroom.

Both artists were present in October 2012 when Mayor Emanuel first announced the CPS Arts Education Plan at Perez Elementary School. And earlier that year, Renée and Yo-Yo joined members of the CSO and CPS students in a special performance at the Thompson Center designed to bring attention to the importance of the arts in the lives of students.

 

Get the full details about these grants from the Mayor’s Office. 

 

Read more from Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune. 

 

Photos: Todd Rosenberg Photography
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Insider's Guide to MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Insider's Guide to Madama Butterfly. Watch Sir Andrew Davis, Renée Fleming, and Anthony Freud discuss Puccini's masterpiece, listen to audio previews, and more!

Patricia Racette and Stefano Secco assume the roles of Butterfly and Pinkerton when Puccini's Madama Butterfly returns to Lyric January 11-26. Experience the love, loss, and ultimate sacrifice of this deeply romantic tragedy.

Plot synopsis.

Read an article about Lyric's new production.

Further reading: "The Obi and the Dagger: Tradition plays a powerful role in the world of Puccini's Cio-Cio-San" by Geraldine Otani Grine and Director's Note.



Music director Sir Andrew Davis, creative consultant Renée Fleming, and general director Anthony Freud discuss Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly:



Madama Butterfly Discovery Series

Puccini’s East-meets-West heartbreaker is one of the most popular operas of all time. Amanda Echalaz (Cio-Cio-San), James Valenti (Pinkerton), and conductor Marco Armiliato discuss how this early 20th century blockbuster engages us on many different levels. Moderated by dramaturg Roger Pines.

Download (right click and "Save Target As" / "Save Link As")

Madama Butterfly Audio Preview

Music director Sir Andrew Davis shares the synopsis and excerpts from Puccini's masterpiece. Recordings used by permission of EMI Classics.

 

Madama Butterfly Commentary

Madama Butterfly 
by Giacomo Puccini

© 2013/14 Lyric Opera Commentaries 

Original sound recordings of musical excerpts used by permission of EMI Classics. All rights reserved. Post-production services provided by Mark Travis, Producer.

 

Download (right click and "Save Target As" / "Save Link As")

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Renée Fleming sings Letterman's Top Ten

Renée Fleming delivers the "Top Ten Opera Lyrics" on the Late Show with David Letterman! 

 Lyric's creative consultant Renée Fleming delivers the "Top Ten Opera Lyrics" on the Late Show with David Letterman!




Video courtesy of cbs.com.

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Lyric goes to London

July 19 reunited Lyric's mighty triumvirate of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming at the Royal Opera House for a semi-staged concert performance of Richard Strauss's final opera, Capriccio

FlemingCapriccio

July 19 reunited Lyric's mighty triumvirate of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming at the Royal Opera House for a semi-staged concert performance of Richard Strauss's final opera, Capriccio. With Anthony in the audience, Sir Andrew conducted Renée as the Countess, one of her signature roles, to great acclaim:

 "Swathed in a glittering Vivienne Westwood gown, she look[ed] ravishing and the soft, poised, top notes in the closing minutes hung in the air like so many silvery moonbeams." Richard Fairman, Financial Times

"Andrew Davis is a master Straussian, conducting with unassertive ease and stroking the requisite velvet out of the strings." Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph  

Lyric's leaders are working on four continents this summer! Where in the world is...

Anthony Freud? In addition to seeing Capriccio, Anthony attended the Royal Opera House's production of Benjamin Britten's Gloriana. Other highlights of his work travels in Europe included André Tchaikowsky's The Merchant of Venice and Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Bregenz Festival in Austria, Verdi's Attila at Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and Verdi's Il Trovatore and Wagner's Lohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In August and September, Anthony will attend performances at Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne, Bayreuth, and Salzburg.

Sir Andrew Davis? Sir Andrew's summer engagements in the UK require him to juggle three scores at the same time! In August, he returns to the Glyndebourne Festival, two hours south of London, where he will conduct Billy Budd for the Benjamin Britten centennial. Sir Andrew will lead the Glyndebourne cast and chorus and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a live broadcast of Billy Budd for the BBC Proms. BBC Proms fans also await Sir Andrew's rendition of Tippett's A Midsummer Marriage with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Sir Andrew will spend September with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, where he is music director. His programs in Melbourne include conducting Ryan Opera Center alumni Amber Wagner and René Barbera in Verdi's Requiem.October finds Sir Andrew back home in Chicago for Parsifal.

Renée Fleming? Renée's end-of-July recital in Dublin caps off a terrific season of international touring, including performances in China, Taiwan, Austria, and the United Kingdom, and a stop by the White House to receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. Renée's upcoming season once again will take her to all corners of the globeincluding Chicago for her first-ever duo concert with tenor sensation Jonas Kaufmann. 

Pictured above: Soprano Renée Fleming sings the Countess in Richard Strauss's Capriccio at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. (Photo: Royal Opera House/Catherine Ashmore)

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