Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Critics can’t get enough of CAROUSEL

Lyric's new production of Carousel is one of the most celebrated productions of the year. It's the toast of Chicago…and could it be the toast of New York? Hear what the critics have to say about this stunning production that's worthy of Broadway. Don't miss your chance to take a ride on this Carousel before it closes on May 3. 

Lyric's new production of Carousel  is one of the most celebrated productions of the year. It's the toast of Chicago…and could it be the toast of New York? Hear what the critics have to say about this stunning production that's worthy of Broadway. Don't miss your chance to take a ride on this Carousel before it closes on May 3. 


★★★★ - Chicago Tribune

"A chance to hear this cherished score delivered with such ample vocal and musical resources should not be missed by anyone who remains entranced by the unique appeal of the great Broadway musicals." - The New York Times

"profoundly moving" - Chicago Tribune

"by far the best of the opera company's annual spring forays into the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein canon." - Chicago Tribune

"Musically and visually, Lyric's Carousel is an unabashed pleasure…"
- Time Out Chicago

"This really is a gorgeous new production....Aside from the huge vocal performances by the likes of Laura Osnes, Steven Pasquale, and Denyce Graves, what really impresses here is the richness of the storytelling, and more important yet, the depth of the emotional connection between Julie Jordan and her no-good louse of a husband, Billy Bigelow. This is a world-class Carousel, spinning right here in Chicago." -  CBS 2

"director/choreographer Rob Ashford's seductive, unsentimental yet darkly compelling production...comes about as close to perfect as it gets." - Daily Herald

"’s a familiar tale of love, loss and forgiveness that has found its way into our hearts and Lyric’s production only affixes it further." - Make It Better

"… in bold and creative ways, this 'Carousel' … reaches literally for the stars and frequently attains them, bringing innovate ideas and the personnel to implement them to a production that is huge, audaciously daring, and bracingly human. And yes, one that is immediately legendary." - Broadway World

"under Rob Ashford's sublime direction, Lyric Opera of Chicago's production is a Carousel for the ages. " - Huffington Post

Praise for "the grandeur of the massive sets, the spectacle of the dances... and the sheer power of a cast of five dozen insanely talented folks walking an expansive stage, telling a timeless tale while singing songs loved by generations of Americans." - Broadway World

"[Ashford's] vision offers a grandly majestic, operatic sweep overflowing with wonderful characters and inventive, athletic choreography." - Chicago Theatre Review

"Come to the 'Carousel.' You need to get your ticket punched, to catch a ride on your very own life, and to do so in the most unforgettable way you can imagine. And you'll never walk alone." - Broadway World

"Lyric's Carousel is beautiful and heart melting" - Chicago Parent

"stunning and breathtaking from start to finish" - Around the Town Chicago

Carousel is "as near perfect as possible" - Chicago Critic

"Lyric Opera of Chicago is on a roll with its scintillating new production of the iconic 1945 musical 'Carousel.'" - Lake County Journal

The dream cast

"Stacked with Broadway stars and cast with uncommon consistency and shrewdness, Ashford's production appears directed with Broadway in mind and, well, New York should be so lucky." - Chicago Tribune

"The results are impressive: The production is as beautifully sung — and beautifully played, by the Lyric orchestra under the conductor David Chase — as anything on Broadway right now" - The New York Times

"Steven Pasquale and Laura Osnes are delivering career-defining star turns as doomed lovers Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan.…The pairing…already feels like a legendary Broadway coupling. Now someone just needs to actually get them on Broadway. Soon, please." - 

Steven Pasquale "brings the first act to an electrifying climax with his powerful rendering of 'Soliloquy'" - The New York Times

Steven Pasquale "has it all going on" - Chicago Tribune

"Pasquale brings a Brando-esque quality to Billy" - Chicago Sun-Times

"Pasquale's take on Billy's eight-minute solo 'Soliloquy' is downright transcendent"
- Time Out Chicago

Steven Pasquale gives "a breathtaking turn as a handsome young punk you want to root for in spite of yourself" - Chicago on the Aisle

"Laura Osnes is a superb Julie—at once tough and fragile, independent and vulnerable." - Chicago Reader

Laura Osnes "offers a very striking window into Julie's determination to separate from her peers, manifest vocally through the exciting crescendo she constructs for such famous lyrics as 'Round in circles I'd go,' where the resilience in the musical swell undermines the lyrical expression of doubt" - Chicago Tribune

"Osnes' delicacy, vulnerability and spine are lovely throughout"
 - Chicago Sun-Times

"Osnes…gives us a Julie Jordan that is fragile and wounded even as she's independent." - Talkin' Broadway

Jenn Gambatese "who made a playful Maria in Lyric's Sound of Music last spring, is an effusive delight as Julie's love-drunk friend Carrie Pipperidge"
- Time Out Chicago

Matthew Hydzik's "soaring voice and determined spirit are spot-on"
 - Chicago Sun-Times 

Denyce Graves is "spectacular" - Chicago Tribune

Jarrod Emick "makes bad-boy Jigger Craigin another one of his characterizations that is both a dynamite singer and an imposing physical presence."
 - Broadway World

Charlotte d'Amboise is "an extraordinary dancer and actor whose every move's a marvel" - Chicago on the Aisle 

Tony Roberts gives "an avuncular but unsentimental turn as the Starkeeper" - Chicago Tribune

The breathtaking ballet 

"Ashford's staging of the Act II ballet is an assured thrill" - Time Out Chicago

"Among the production's most glorious scenes is the second act ballet"
- Chicago Sun-Times

"Ashford's choreography here is suffused with deep emotional intensity, and Simon dances so beautifully, the quality of her acting in the crucial final encounter with her father is a bonus, but a crucial one all the same." - Chicago Tribune

"Ashford's version is more like a fever dream for Billy, who walks through its action and can't quite believe the horrors that appear before him. …what a creative way to conceive of the entire sequence!" - Broadway World

Ashford "has intensified the role of ballet in the show...drama, song, orchestral music, dance, and design are fused into a total theater experience." - Chicago Reader

"How wonderful that Director Rob Ashford choreographed all-new pieces for Lyric Opera's new production of Carousel. And better yet that the dancers—Abigail Simon as Louise, Martin Harvey as her Carnival Boy partner, Charlotte D'Amboise as the nightmare image of Mrs. Mullin—and the entire dance ensemble gave flawless performances." - 

The transcendent music 

"With its magnificent revival of 'Carousel,' Lyric Opera of Chicago has accomplished what few other theaters ever will, which is to showcase the grand and glorious score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein with a full complement of strings, woodwinds and brass most theatergoers are unlikely to hear outside an opera house or symphony hall." - Daily Herald

"it is wonderful to hear Rodgers's rich score delivered by an opera-company chorus and orchestra under David Chase's baton." - Chicago Reader

"[U]nder David Chase's assured baton, the Lyric's orchestra mines all the magic in this lilting score. " - Huffington Post

"The music is divine" - Around the Town Chicago

"This Carousel employs a lush 37-piece orchestra and a raft of ensemble singers, rendering Rodgers's rich score with exquisite care" - Time Out Chicago

The stunning visuals 

"[The] hypnotic production design by Paolo Ventura elevates the dreamlike and otherworldly aspects of this heartbreaking love story." - Huffington Post

"the design from the Italian artist Paolo Ventura … is strikingly lean, dominated by miniaturized vistas that feel more picayune European than puritan New England, and suggesting, as profoundly and existentially as any of the scores of productions of this work I've seen, the transitory nature of any happiness you can find at a traveling carnival in the company of one who barks for a living." - Chicago Tribune

"The set by Paolo Ventura is amazingly real with the opening number's actual carousel appearing as if it was transported from a museum to the stage on Wacker Drive." - Around the Town Chicago

"Another risk for Ashford that pays off is the contribution of Paolo Ventura, an artist and photographer making his theatrical debut as set designer. His settings have a water-color feel reminiscent of some of Edward Hopper's work."
- Talkin' Broadway 

"Tony Award-winning costume and lighting designers Catherine Zuber and Neil Austin work with a variety of silhouettes and colors to highlight and deepen the visual attention." - Broadway World

Don't wait - Carousel will be gone in less than three weeks! 
This limited-engagement musical runs only through May 3. BUY YOUR TICKETS today!


Photo credits:

  • Carousel production photos credit Todd Rosenberg and Robert Kusel for Lyric Opera of Chicago

THE PASSENGER is “virtually flawless” and “profoundly moving”

The Midwest premiere of Weinberg's The Passenger is onstage at Lyric through March 15. The Chicago Tribune gives this production a perfect four stars and deems it "an experience in the theater that is not to be missed." Read more critical praise for this haunting and powerful opera.


The Midwest premiere of Weinberg's The Passenger  is onstage at Lyric through March 15. The Chicago Tribune  gives this production a perfect four stars and deems it "an experience in the theater that is not to be missed." Here is more critical praise for this haunting and powerful opera.

"A virtually flawless performance and [David] Pountney's definitive production justify the decision of Lyric general director Anthony Freud to bring 'The Passenger' to Chicago….If this is a harbinger of fresh directions at Freud's Lyric Opera, then bring them on, I say." - Chicago Tribune

"With a faultless large cast and striking and imaginative production, one can't imagine Weinberg's dark yet hopeful opera receiving stronger advocacy." - Chicago Classical Review

The Passenger is "a compelling opera that manages the nearly impossible task of shedding meaningful light on the horror of Auschwitz." - Chicago Sun-Times

"Pountney's staging sweeps us from present to past with the fluidity of film, using an ingenious unit set the late designer Johan Engels based on Medvedev's original concept." - Chicago Tribune

The Passenger "stunningly powerful" and a "tasteful testimony to the courage and heroism of the human spirit." - Chicago Critic

"stunning" -  Chicago on the Aisle

Sir Andrew Davis and the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus 

Sir Andrew Davis "conducted with searing authority" - Chicago on the Aisle

"Davis harnesses the power and sensitivity of his instrumental forces to undergird the emotional trajectory of the work." - Chicago Tribune

"The crisp rhythmic definition and propulsive energy Davis brings to Weinberg's sometimes spiky, sometimes nostalgically jazzy orchestra reminds us he is as much a master of 20th century music as he is of Mozart and Strauss. He secures admirable work from the orchestra and the Michael Black-trained chorus, at the top of their game at the end of a demanding 60th anniversary season." - Chicago Tribune

"The level of scrupulous preparation was manifest in every bar, with Davis's acute balancing bringing out every quirky detail of the score from the haunting celesta tones to the sardonic xylophone writing." - Chicago Classical Review

The impressive cast 

"Lyric has assembled an impressive array of singers who managed to make every Auschwitz inmate and prison guard a vivid, individual character."  - Chicago Sun-Times

 "Amanda Majeski is already on a fast track to a major career, but as Marta, the former Ryan Opera Center member delivered a shattering, star-making performance. " - Chicago Classical Review

 "Her ringing soprano glistened like Waterford crystal, combining transparent fragility with soulful strength." - Chicago Sun-Times

Amanda Majeski's "singing is pure, shining and true.  She has done nothing finer at the company that launched her international career." - Chicago Tribune

"Mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, who last season sang Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal, is riveting as the panicked woman Liese" - Chicago on the Aisle

Karanas  "delivered a superbly rounded performance, singing with a big tone and proved credible as both the frightened wife and scarily sadistic Auschwitz guard." - Chicago Classical Review

"The soft edges of Karanas's rich mezzo-soprano conveyed Liese's terror, but her tone became appropriately commanding in her scenes as a manipulative SS guard. " - Chicago Sun-Times

"With his powerful heldentenor Brandon Jovanovich brought daunting vocal strength to the somewhat thankless role of Walter, Liese's diplomat husband." - Chicago Classical Review

"A fine singer with real acting chops, Jovanovich is convincing as a mostly good guy, with a propped-up image of himself that he is keen to defend." - Chicago on the Aisle

 "As Tadeusz, Marta's fiancé, Joshua Hopkins used his rich baritone to create a calm, moral center amid the madness of Auschwitz." -Chicago Sun-Times

"Notable among Marta's richly individualized community of barrack companions are soprano Kelly Kaduce as the tough-minded Russian freedom fighter Katya, who can't quite remember all the words to the old folk song her grandmother used to sing; dramatic soprano Nina Warren as a crazed older woman who's the only survivor from her group of arrivals, and mezzo-soprano Liuba Sokolova as determinedly faithful Bronka, who lights candles to God and insists He will not forget even the ones who have given themselves up utterly to the idea that they are forsaken." - Chicago on the Aisle

Photo credits:

  • The Passenger at Lyric Opera of Chicago production photos credit Michael Brosilow and Robert Kusel

The reviews are in: TANNHÄUSER is “sexy and striking” with “powerhouse voices”

Wagner's Tannhäuser is a bucket-list opera, full of some of the composer's most dramatic and moving music, from the opening overture to the Pilgrim's Chorus. This opera has not been seen at Lyric since the 1988-89 season, and critics are calling this epic production (on stage through March 6) a must-see event.

Wagner's Tannhäuser is a bucket-list opera, full of some of the composer's most dramatic and moving music, from the opening overture to the Pilgrim's Chorus. This opera has not been seen at Lyric since the 1988-89 season, and critics are calling this epic production (on stage through March 6) a must-see event.

Chicago on the Aisle  gave it four (out of five stars), calling it "potent, sensual and yet strikingly unromanticized production." The Chicago Tribune  says that "the musical performance is glorious." The Chicago Sun-Times says this production "conveys the opera's compelling drama and transcendent vocal beauty."

Chicago Splash  simply says, "Lyric's current production is about as strong a case as you're ever going to hear for [Tannhäuser], a reminder of Wagner's ability to provide us with the same delights his title character experiences in his hedonistic paradise. Too bad we have to return to the real world."

Sir Andrew Davis and the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus 

"[Tannhäuser's] true hero way well be music director Andrew Davis, drawing floods of sumptuous sound and deep-piled lyricism from the admirable Lyric Opera Orchestra. The no less demanding choral writing found Michael Black's finely disciplined chorus singing its collective heart out." - Chicago Tribune

" Lyric music director Andrew Davis conducts Tannhäuser for the first time with the dramatic conviction, musical assurance and fluent lyricism of one whose knows his Wagner inside out. The Lyric Opera Orchestra delivers at a very high level, indeed." - Chicago on the Aisle

"Longtime Lyric music director Andrew Davis, who is conducting Tannhäuser for the first time, adroitly shapes the complex, unfolding drama, paying due attention to the all-important balances in this opera and highlighting its many intimate musical moments." - Chicago Sun-Times

The Glorious Cast 

"Johan Botha offered his finest Lyric performance to date" - Chicago Classical Review

"Botha is today's definitive Tannhäuser, and he has the vocal heft, lung power and stamina to make it through to the end of a very long opera without a hint of strain." - Chicago Tribune

"Tannhäuser is one of the most difficult Wagner roles to sing, yet Johan Botha is a revelation in the role" - Chicago Splash

"The vocal pillar of this production is soprano Amber Wagner, with her commanding stage presence and forceful, affecting voice." - Chicago Sun-Times

"With her impressive performance as Elisabeth, Amber Wagner showed that she is coming into her own as a complete, major artist." - Chicago Classical Review

"A Ryan Opera Center breakout star, [Amber Wagner] produced a gleaming, ample and effortless sound that also was warm and womanly when it needed to be" - Chicago Tribune

"Gerald Finley…possesses a wonderfully expressive bass-baritone voice with surprising lightness and grace" - Chicago Sun-Times

Gerald Finley's "Wolfram was a masterful work of dramatic singing" - Chicago Classical Review

"As Wolfram, Gerald Finley threatened to run away with the show. His vocal strength was complimented by a dramatic sense that shaded the facets of the character hopelessly in love with Elisabeth, a moral paragon whose goodness is essentially unrewarded." - Chicago Splash 

Michaela Schuster "swathed in a slinky, sequined black gown, threw herself into this ungrateful role with riveting intensity and panache" - Chicago Tribune

 "John Relyea anchored the ensemble at the low end with his sonorous bass" - Chicago Classical Review

The Sensual Opening Dance 

"a sexy and striking coup de theatre" - Chicago Tribune

"A high point of the production is the beginning bacchanal, which features a swirling, electrifying dance, smartly choreographed by Jasmin Vardimon." - Chicago Sun-Times

"Vardimon perfectly captures an all-consuming love in her erotic spectacle." - The Fourth Walsh


Photo credits

  • Tannhäuser production photos credit Robert Kusel and Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago


See why TOSCA is “as pitch perfect as opera gets”

Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season continues with another acclaimed production; this time, critics are loving the new-to-Chicago production of Puccini's Tosca. It's on stage at Lyric until March 14. If you're not convinced yet, here are just a few reasons to see this dramatic, passionate blockbuster.

Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season continues with another acclaimed production; this time, critics are loving the new-to-Chicago production of Puccini's Tosca. It's on stage at Lyric until March 14. If you're not convinced yet, here are just a few reasons to see this dramatic, passionate blockbuster.

"Highly Recommended" - Chicago Sun-Times 

"…a mesmerizing night of music theater imaginatively staged, perceptively conducted and gloriously sung." - Chicago on the Aisle

"this Tosca is as pitch perfect as opera gets" - Le Bon Travel and Culture 

"…this production, staged by John Caird with sets and costumes by Bunny Christie, offers something more: a fresh approach to staging as evocative as the singing." - Chicago Sun-Times 

The Glorious Music

"Let me end by praising one of the great performances of the night: the orchestra's. Under Dmitri Jurowski's baton, this night saw the Lyric's house band find again and again an exquisite late 19th century sound, the winds and brass speaking gorgeously from within beds of strings." - Bachtrack 

" the Lyric's production features Puccini's glorious musical score that soars under the Lyric's exceptional orchestra led by Dmitri Jurowski in his Lyric debut. " - Le Bon Travel and Culture 

"Jurowski consistently and fetchingly underscores the opera's emotional surge, with deft shifts into sweet comedy and arching lyricism. Both the Lyric Opera Chorus, in the grand Te Deum that crowns Act I, and the Orchestra distinguish themselves with performances that bloom and soar." - Chicago on the Aisle  

The Electrifying Cast

Tatiana Serjan and Brian Jagde are "an inspired pairing: two wonderful acting singers with the extraordinary voices that make for opera legend." - Chicago Reader 

"Tatiana Serjan commanded the stage, tracing the arc of Tosca's journey from capricious, jealous diva to a woman driven to desperate action in a frantic effort to save the life of her lover." - Chicago on the Aisle 

"the Russian soprano showed she truly is the complete package as a singer and actress, with her Tosca as affecting and vulnerable as her Lady Macbeth was chilling and evil." - Chicago Classical Review 

"One could go a lifetime and not hear a finer “Vissi d’arte” in the theater than the one Serjan delivered Saturday night." - Chicago Classical Review 

"Making his Lyric debut, the American tenor [Brian Jagde] declares his love for Tosca in his opening aria, unleashing his supple, warm-toned tenor in a passionate outpouring that set the audience cheering." - Chicago Sun-Times 


Photo credits:

  • Tosca production photos credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago


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