Lyric Opera of Chicago

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An Insider's Guide to PORGY AND BESS

Everything you need to know about Lyric's upcoming production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (on stage November 17-December 20): video and audio previews, articles, photos, and more.

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy …" With iconic songs that have become jazz and pop standards, Porgy and Bess (on stage from November 17-December 20) is filled with some of George Gershwin's most beloved music. See the iconic American opera in this sumptuous production that brings the colorful characters of Catfish Row to life. Eric Owens stars as Porgy, the good man with a heart of gold who would do anything for the troubled Bess (Adina Aaron). But, when tempted by a former love and her drug addiction, can she remain true to him?

Porgy and Bess also stars Jermaine Smith (Sportin' Life), Eric Greene (Crown), and Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi (Clara). The production is directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Ward Stare

Video previews featuring Porgy and Bess star Eric Owens

 

Get to know Eric Owens in this "Patter Up!"

 

Owens talks about his role as a Lyric Unlimited Community Ambassador.

 

Articles with insights from the cast and creative team

Joy in Singing: Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi debuts at Lyric in Porgy and Bess
First-year Ryan Opera Center member Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi makes her Lyric debut as Clara in Porgy and Bess. The character sings what is arguably the opera's most famous aria, "Summertime."  
READ MORE

Chorister Profile: Kenneth Nichols
Bass-baritone Kenneth Nichols has been a member of the Lyric Opera Chorus for 13 years. We caught up with Nichols this summer in between performances in the chorus of San Francisco Opera's Show Boat,  (a co-production with Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera), to talk about his experiences as a singer and his thoughts on Lyric's upcoming production of Porgy and Bess. READ MORE

You can never get enough “Summertime”
 "Summertime" has moved beyond the world of opera to become one of the most beloved songs in American music. It's been covered more than 25,000 times...and still counting! This post on our blog Lyric Lately gathered some of the most beautiful and unexpected covers of the song from artists like Miles Davis, The Doors, and Sting.  
READ MORE

Opera 101: One-hit wonders
Porgy and Bess was Gershwin's only opera, which puts him in the small but distinguished category of composers that only wrote one opera that became a major hit. Also on the list? Beethoven and Dvořák, among others. READ MORE

 

Porgy and Bess Audio Preview

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

An Insider's Guide to IL TROVATORE

Lyric's production of Verdi's Il Trovatore runs October 27 through November 29. Here is your complete insider's guide with articles, photos, audio previews, and more.

Everyone has heard the Anvil Chorus, but Verdi's epic Il Trovatore (on stage October 27-November 29) is so much more than its signature choral piece. Learn more about Lyric's monumental production, originally conceived by director Sir David McVicar and conducted by Asher Fisch.

A cruel curse separates two brothers at birth. One is the privileged Count di Luna (Quinn Kelsey), and the other, the troubadour Manrico (Yonghoon Lee), is raised by the revenge-obsessed gypsy Azucena (Stephanie Blythe). Now bitter enemies, they clash over the love of the same woman, the beautiful Leonora (Amber Wagner). And that's just Act One! Kidnapping, imprisonment, mistaken identities, gypsies, poisonings, witches burning at the stake, star-crossed lovers, revenge—this opera has everything, including some of Verdi's most irresistible music. 

Articles with insights from the cast and creative team

Il Trovatore: A Vocal Feast
Verdi fans have joked for decades that all you need for the composer’s Il Trovatore are the greatest voices in the world – but there’s actually some truth in that! And if you’ve got the right voices, then the feast offered by this opera is sumptuous indeed.  
READ MORE

Lyric’s Chorus delights in Il Trovatore and beyond
Il Trovatore is a choral feast and provides one of the biggest showpieces for the amazing Lyric Opera Chorus this season. Chorus Master Michael Black takes us through some of the many choral highlights in Verdi's masterpiece. READ MORE

Opera 101: Inside tech week
 Opera secrets revealed! What happens at Lyric during the summer? Each mainstage opera has a week-long summer tech period. Lighting cues are set, sets are repaired, and everything is made ready for performances later in the season. Read on to for a day-by-day breakdown of the preparations for Verdi's Il TrovatoreREAD MORE 

Il Trovatore: A Lyric Photo History
Il Trovatore was a hugely popular success when it premiered, and it today remains one of the 20 most-performed operas around the world. Before you come and see Yonghoon Lee, Amber Wagner, Stephanie Blythe, and Quinn Kelsey in Sir David McVicar's production later this season, take a look at some past productions of this great opera throughout Lyric's history, including Maria Callas as Leonora and Jussi Björling as Manrico. READ MORE

Catching up with Chorus Master Michael Black
In this Lyric Lately exclusive, read more about Michael Black's history with Il Trovatore and how he keeps busy during the summer months away from Lyric. READ MORE

"Patter Up!" with Quinn Kelsey

Get to know Lyric's future Count di Luna as he answers rapid fire questions and sings a little Elvis!

 

 

Il Trovatore Audio Preview

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

An Insider's Guide to CAPRICCIO

Go inside Lyric's production of Strauss's  Capriccio (on stage October 6-28) with video and audio previews, articles, photos, and more. 

Capriccio, Richard Strauss's last opera, runs from October 6 through 28 at Lyric. Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and starring Lyric's creative consultant Renée Fleming in one of her signature roles, this sophisticated opera takes you inside the ultimate dinner party. Countess Madeleine (Fleming) is torn between two men—one a poet and the other a musician. Meanwhile, her brother is out to seduce a famous actress. Will he succeed? And who will she choose? Capriccio also stars Anne Sofie von Otter (Clairon), Bo Skovhus (Count), William Burden (Flamand), Audun Iversen (Olivier), and Peter Rose (La Roche).

Video preview with Renée Fleming

 

Articles with insights from the cast and creative team

A superstar cast for Strauss’s Capriccio
From October 6 through 28, creative consultant Renée Fleming once again graces the stage at Lyric singing one of her greatest roles. But the rest of the cast that surrounds her is no less exciting. Lyric’s production features five outstanding singers who will shine as the other characters in this remarkable “Conversation Piece for Music.” READ MORE

Strauss is for Her: Renée Fleming relishes the master’s final opera, Capriccio
Countess Madeleine in Capriccio is beautiful, elegant, highly intelligent, irresistibly charming, and soaring forth in some of Richard Strauss's most heavenly music. In other words, the role is a natural for Renée Fleming, as Lyric audiences will see and hear when Capriccio returns for the first time in 20 years. READ MORE

 

Capriccio Audio Preview

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

Popera!

What happens when opera goes pop? There's a grand tradition of opera stars teaming up with pop stars to create memorable collaborations. Here are a few of our favorite results when musical genres collide.

What happens when opera goes pop? There's a grand tradition of opera stars teaming up with pop stars to create memorable collaborations. Here are a few of our favorite examples (both exciting and unexpected) of when what happens when musical genres collide!

Lyric's creative consultant Renée Fleming is known for her diverse musical interests. Here she is with the late Lou Reed perform "The Perfect Day" in Prague in 2009. The performance was part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution. 

 

And she has also partnered with crooner Josh Groban, performing a medley from Brigadoon.

 

The adventurous Anne Sofie von Otter (starring as Clairon in Strauss's Capriccio  from October 6-28)  is not afraid to expand her musical horizons. She collaborated on an album with Elvis Costello in 2001, and they performed the title track, "For the Stars," on The Late Show with David Letterman.

 

As a native of Sweden, it only seems natural that she would release an album of covers of ABBA songs and others written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Here is her cover of  ABBA's "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room."

 

To celebrate Barcelona being chosen for the 1988 Olympics, pop icon Freddie Mercury and the great soprano (and Barcelona native) Montserrat Caballé teamed up to record a theme song, fittingly titled "Barcelona." They went on to record an entire album together, which would be Mercury's last.

 

Luciano Pavarotti is the king of pop duets. His "Pavarotti and Friends" concerts featured duets with U2, Lou Reed (another "Perfect Day" rendition), Sheryl Crow, and others. Here he is performing "It's a Man's World" with James Brown.

 

And he performed "I Hate You, Then I Love You" with diva Céline Dion.

 

Like Pavarotti, who joined him as one of "The Three Tenors," Plácido Domingo has also achieved a great deal of crossover success. He had a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Perhaps Love," a duet with John Denver recorded in 1981.

 

And he's performed with his Muppet alter ego Plácido Flamingo on Sesame Street.

 

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

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