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Lyric U: Baritones in opera

Have you tuned into Lyric U? Check out our new video library, which starts with an in-depth exploration of the baritone in opera with Sir Andrew Davis, Anthony Freud, and Renée Fleming. Plus, check out some video highlights of the greatest baritone arias on stage this season.

Have you tuned into Lyric U? It's Lyric's new resource for things opera, giving everyone an easy way to explore, discover, and engage. Whether you're new to the art form and looking for Opera 101 or an aficionado who wants to earn a PhD in Advanced Opera Studies, let Lyric U guide the way with this ever-expanding video library.

One of the new features on Lyric U is "From Soprano to Bass: Exploring Voice in Opera." Sir Andrew Davis, Renée Fleming, and Anthony Freud are your guides through the seven different categories of the human voice in this in-depth video series.

The first video in the series focuses on the baritone. This vocal range might be stuck in the middle of tenor and bass, but the baritone is definitely not a voice that can be easily overlooked. Some of the most famous roles in opera are portrayed by baritones-the ultimate bad boy in Mozart's Don Giovanni, the resourceful fixer Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, the king of the gods Wotan in Wagner's Ring cycle, and the great title roles in Verdi's Rigoletto, Falstaff, and Simon Boccanegra

 

Want to hear more? Below are video samples of some of the great baritone showcases that you can hear as part of Lyric's 2014-15 season.

Il Trovatore  - "Il balen del suo sorriso"

In Act 2 "The Gypsy" of Verdi's Il Trovatore, the villainous Count di Luna sings of his devotion to Leonora, who has decided to enter a convent because she believes her true love Manrico is dead. Though di Luna's song speaks to a beautiful love, he is actually plotting to kidnap her - thinking that the convent is the only obstacle to their happiness. Ryan Opera Center alum Quinn Kelsey takes on the role at Lyric from October 27 to November 29. 

 

(Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Metropolitan Opera, 2011)

Porgy and Bess  - "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'"

This quintessential American opera has many timeless songs, including "Summertime" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now, but one of Porgy's most famous arias is this ode to his simple life. Lyric favorite Eric Owens brings this iconic role to Chicago from November 17 to December 20. 

 

(Lawrence Winters, Columbia Masterworks recording, 1951)

Tosca - Te Deum

Scarpia, the police chief who is ruthlessly hunting the rebel artist Cavaradossi, sings of his lust and terrible plan to force Tosca into loving him, against the backdrop of a prayer. This season, two singers take on this villianous role: Evgeny Nikitin (Lyric debut, January 24 to February 5) and Mark Delavan (February 27 to March 14). 

 

(George Gagnidze, Metropolitan Opera, 2009)

Tannhäuser  - "O du mein holder Abendstern" (Song of the Evening Star)

This aria from Act 3 of Tannhäuser is in the pantheon of one of the most beautiful arias ever written, and is one of Wagner's most haunting melodies. Wolfram von Eschenbach loves the faithful and chaste Elisabeth, but she is in love with Tannhäuser; in this aria, he has a premonition of her death. Gerald Finley stars as Wolfram at Lyric from February 9 to March 6. 

 

(Peter Mattei, Staatsoper Berlin, 2014)

Don Giovanni  - "Deh vieni all finestra"

While posing as his right-hand man Leporello, Don Giovanni serenades the maid of his former conquest Donna Elvira with this lovely aria from Act Two. Mariusz Kwiecień stars in Lyric's hot-blooded new production through October 29. 

 

(Bryn Terfel, Metropolitan Opera, 2000)

Photo credits:

  • Top row: Quinn Kelsey (credit Dan Rest / Lyric Opera of Chicago); Evgeny Nikitin (credit Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera)
  • Bottom row: Eric Owens in Porgy and Bess (credit Terrence McCarthy / San Francisco Opera); Mariusz Kwiecień stars as the title role in Don Giovanni (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

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

Our Diamond Anniversary season has all of the hits

There's something for everyone in Lyric's 2014/15 season, including some of opera's must recognizable music from Don Giovanni, Il Trovatore, Tosca, and more! Read on to see and  hear some of this season's hit tunes. 

There's something for everyone in Lyric's 2014/15 season, including some of opera's must recognizable tunes. You might know some of these selections outside of their operatic homes—come and see these famous songs as you only can see them at Lyric, with the grandest staging and finest musicians.

Don Giovanni 

On stage September 27 to October 29

The Champagne Aria

Mariusz Kwiecień performs the Champagne Aria from Don Giovanni in this video from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden's 2014 production. The song is an ode to the fabulous party that the Don is planning, yet another occasion for him to add to his list of conquests. Kwiecień plays a Giovanni who has smoldering movie star charisma in Lyric's brand-new production from renowned stage director Robert Falls, which updates the setting to 1920s Spain.

 

 "La ci darem la mano"

This love duet between the duplicitous Don and the naïve Zerlina is one of the most well-known in the operatic repertoire. The odd couple of Luciano Pavarotti and Sheryl Crow have teamed up to perform it in concert! Once again is Mariusz Kwiecień, Lyric's Giovanni, with Mojca Erdmann as Zerlina.

 

(Metropolitan Opera, 2011)

Il Trovatore 

On stage October 27 to November 29

The Anvil Chorus

You've heard it in commercials and in films—now come see it on Lyric's stage! The Anvil Chorus from Verdi's Il Trovatore is one of the most famous tunes in opera. You're sure to be humming it for days after you see it in performance. Here is the incredible scene from director Sir David McVicar's epic production. 

 

(Metropolitan Opera, 2011)

Porgy and Bess 

On stage November 17  to December 20

"Summertime" and more…

Gershwin's Porgy and Bess is filled with an incredible number of songs that have made their way into the popular songbook, including "Summertime," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin," "It Ain't Necessarily So."  Here's a highlight reel of some of those amazing songs as performed at the San Francisco Opera in 2009 —and this is the very same production that will be right here at Lyric with Eric Owens as Porgy.

 

Tosca 

On stage January 24 to March 14

"Vissi d'arte"

Puccini's gut-wrenching story features a number of incredible musical moments, but none is quite so magical as "Vissi d'arte," Tosca's beautiful aria describing how she's lived for art and love, only to have fate turn against her. This season, you'll have two chances to hear this wonderful piece interpreted with Tatiana Serjan and Hui He both starring in the new-to-Lyric production.

The luminous Sondra Radvanovsky, who will take on the role of Anne Boleyn in Donizetti's Anna Bolena at Lyric later this year, brings this magnificent aria to life. 

 

(Metropolitan Opera, 2011)

Tannhäuser 

On stage February 9 to March 6

The Pilgrim's Chorus

The Pilgrim's Chorus in Act 3 of Tannhäuser is one of Wagner's most beautiful and majestic melodies. The simple melody starts quietly, as the singers are off stage, but grows until the full orchestra and chorus are at full volume. It has become a staple of concert choirs such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was even one of the Wagner melodies quoted in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Opera, Doc?"  We dare you not to be moved.

 

 

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

Opera on Ice!

This year's Olympics have featured some gorgeous figure skating routines set to some of the most famous classical music ever written. Here are a few skating routines, some recent and some gems from the past, that showcase the inherent drama of opera.

Opera_on_Ice

The Sochi Olympics have featured some gorgeous skating routines set to some of the most famous classical music ever written. Here are a few skating routines, some recent and some gems from the past, that showcase how well the drama and passion of opera translates to the ice.  

Michelle Kwan brought the crowd to its feet with a dramatic interpretation of Puccini's Tosca at the 2004 U.S. National Championships.

 

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the reigning couple of ice dancing, waltzed to selections from Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus in 2011. 

 

Katarina Witt was the winner of the "Battle of the Carmens," when both she and American Debi Thomas skated to music from Bizet's Carmen at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.

 

Canadian Patrick Chan, the silver medalist in Sochi, used music from Puccini's La Bohème for his long program last season.

 

Ekaterina Goordeeva and Sergei Gringkov, one of pairs skating's greatest couples on and off the ice, brought the overture from Rossini's The Barber of Seville to life in this program from 1989.

 

Kristi Yamaguchi channeled Cio-Cio San with this routine set to music from Puccini's Madama Butterfly from 1994.

          


Photo credits: Associated Press

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

 

Operatic Olympians

The Olympics could be seen as the opera of sports—exciting, dramatic, and full of colorful characters. In the spirit of the Sochi Olympics, we've paired some of our favorite operatic characters with their ideal winter sports.

The Olympics could be seen as the opera of sports—exciting, dramatic, and full of colorful characters. In fact, the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding  saga of 1994 has been turned into a rock opera by a company in Los Angeles.

In the spirit of the Sochi Olympics, we've paired some of our favorite operatic characters with their ideal winter sports.

Figaro_Nordic

Nordic combined - This event combines cross-country skiing with ski jumping, so it's the perfect sport for the man who can do everything, the one, the only Figaro showcased in Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro

Biathlon - Eugene Onegin is the obvious choice, though his accuracy with a gun might result in tragedy as often as it does a gold medal.

Adele_Slopestyle

Slopestyle - Adele from Die Fledermaus can certainly give U.S. gold medalist Jaime Anderson a run for her money. Her exuberant nature and willingness to perform makes her the perfect candidate for an event designed for show-offs.

Ladies figure skating - Pretty much any diva in opera would qualify, but we think Tosca has the perfect amount of dramatic flair and true tragedy to really sell that long program.

Don_Giovanni_skiing

Downhill skiing - Don Giovanni, with his relentless pursuit of passion, has the temperament downhill skier, who sacrifices everything in pursuit of the thrilling adrenaline rush of pure speed.  

Carmen_pairs

Pairs figure skating - Don José and Carmen are the perfect figure skating duo. He brings the passion, she brings the reckless abandon needed for the crazy lifts, throw jumps, and death spirals

Bobsled - Papageno and Tamino help save the girl in The Magic Flute, and that's exactly the kind of teamwork that's needed in the two-man bobsled.

Ice Hockey - The gypsies from Il Trovatore are a group of people not to be messed with—plus, the Anvil Chorus makes a perfect goal celebration song!

Falstaff_curling

Curling - This is probably the only Olympic sport that you can also do while drinking on the ice in your own backyard, which makes it perfect for the boisterous and often inebriated Falstaff.

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