Lyric Opera of Chicago

2011-12 Season Announced

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011


William Mason’s final season as general director
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 57th season
begins Saturday, October 1, 2011, at 6:30 p.m.
starring Matthew Polenzani, James Morris,
Anna Christy, Erin Wall, & Alyson Cambridge

  Also next season: Lucia di Lammermoor*, Boris Godunov, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Magic Flute, Aida, Show Boat*, and Rinaldo*
72 performances of 8 operas in the 25-week season

  *THREE NEW PRODUCTIONS to be seen at Lyric in 2011-12
including two Lyric Opera premieres

  MAJOR ROLE DEBUT: Matthew Polenzani/title role, Hoffmann
Catherine Malfitano/stage dir., Lucia di Lammermoor (Lyric directing debut)
Sondra Radvanovsky/title role, Aida (first U. S. performances)
Nathan Gunn/Ravenal, Show Boat (first staged performances) 

  Sir Andrew Davis to conduct Mussorgsky (debut), Strauss, and Mozart operas

  New web videos feature Renée Fleming and Sir Andrew Davis in conversation about highlights of 2011-12 season

  Subscriber Appreciation Concert
starring Renée Fleming (Lyric’s Creative Consultant) & Dmitri Hvorostovsky
honoring General Director William Mason – Saturday, January 7, 2012
Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra

Subscription brochures in the mail this Friday, February 5.
4-opera series start at $100, 8-opera series start at $200
Season subscribers enjoy up to two operas free, depending on series they choose;
price reductions for weekday matinee subscription series (top-priced areas).

  23 different subscription choices offered, including 10 economically-priced 4-opera series
Subscriber benefits include free ticket exchanges for 8-opera subscribers, TRADEONE option for 4, 5, & 6-opera subscribers,
and choice of two “perfect pairs” for “O” Series subscribers.

  Free 30-minute pre-opera lectures for ticketholders
start an hour before every performance (except Opening Night).
On-premises restaurants offer convenient dining for ticketholders.

  Opening nights for all operas of Lyric’s 2011-12 season to air live on
The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts on 98.7WFMT and

  NExT discount student tickets available for selected performances –
$20 for fulltime college students who register online.

  Encore Evenings for Young Professionals – substantially discounted tickets available
for selected performances.

  Lyric’s Wine Auction scheduled for February 10, 2012.


  Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 57th Season – 2011-12



The Tales of Hoffmann: Matthew Polenzani, James Morris, Anna Christy, Erin Wall

Lucia di Lammermoor: Susanna Phillips, Giuseppe Filianoti, Gabriele Viviani, Christian Van Horn

Boris Godunov: Andrea Silvestrelli, Raymond Aceto

Ariadne auf Naxos: Deborah Voigt, Anna Christy, Alice Coote,

Brandon Jovanovich, Eike Wilm Schulte

The Magic Flute: Nicole Cabell, Kathleen Kim, Richard Stilwell

Aida: Sondra Radvanovsky, Marcello Giordani, Salvatore Licitra,

Jill Grove, Gordon Hawkins, Quinn Kelsey, Štefan Kocán

Show Boat: Nathan Gunn

Rinaldo:   David Daniels



The Tales of Hoffmann: Alyson Cambridge

Boris Godunov: Ferruccio Furlanetto, Štefan Margita

Ariadne auf Naxos: Matthew Worth

The Magic Flute: Charles Castronovo, Alek Shrader, Stéphane Degout, Günther Groissböck

Aida: Hui He, Anna Smirnova

Show Boat: Morris Robinson, Angela Renée Simpson

Rinaldo:   Julia Kleiter, Elza van den Heever, Luca Pisaroni, Sonia Prina, Iestyn Davies



Harry Bicket, Sir Andrew Davis, John DeMain,

Renato Palumbo, Emmanuel Villaume, Massimo Zanetti*



John Cox, Matthew Lata, Catherine Malfitano**,

Francisco Negrin, Julia Pevzner*, Stéphane Roche*, Francesca Zambello



August Everding+, Nicolas Joël, Stein Winge



Jason Brown, Vinicio Cheli*, Wilson Chin*, Peter J. Davison, Louis Désiré*,

Ezio Frigerio, Kari Gravklev, Mark Grey, Pet Halmen, Renate Kalanke, Mark McCullough, Robert Perdziola, Bruno Poet*, Duane Schuler, Franca Squarciapino*, Paul Tazewell,

Terese Wadden*, Göran Wassberg, Jörg Zimmermann+



Michele Lynch*, Kenneth von Heidecke, Ana Yepes*



*Lyric Opera debut

**Lyric Opera directing debut





William Mason, General Director

Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director 

Renée Fleming, Creative Consultant

Bruno Bartoletti, Artistic Director Emeritus


William Mason, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director, announced today the repertoire, principal singers, conductors, directors, and designers for Lyric’s 2011-12 season.


Three new productions are being created for Lyric’s 57th season. Lyric’s 2011-12 season will offer 72 performances of eight different operas beginning Saturday, October 1, 2011, and concluding Sunday, March 25, 2012.


Joining Mason and Davis for today’s announcement was Show Boat stage director Francesca Zambello (artistic & general director, The Glimmerglass Festival). Zambello had planned to be in Chicago for the press conference, but instead participated via Skype from New York because of severe weather.



Lyric’s three new productions for 2011-12  include a company premiere and a company stage premiere.


Show Boat , the seminal American masterpiece with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, will have its Lyric premiere in a new production starring Nathan Gunn, Alyson Cambridge (debut season), Morris Robinson (debut), and Angela Renée Simpson (debut), conducted by John DeMain and directed by Francesca Zambello.


Handel’s Rinaldo returns to Lyric for the first time since an off-season concert performance in 1984. The new production will star David Daniels in the title role, with Julia Kleiter, Elza van den Heever, Luca Pisaroni, Sonia Prina, and Iestyn Davies all making company debuts. Harry Bicket conducts and Francisco Negrin directs.


Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor will receive a new production starring Susanna Phillips, Giuseppe Filianoti, Gabriele Viviani, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Massimo Zanetti (debut) and staged by Catherine Malfitano in her company directorial debut.


Two operas will be presented in productions from other companies:


Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann (Les contes d’Hoffmann) returns to Lyric for the first time since1982 in a production from the Teatro Real, Madrid, starring Matthew Polenzani, James Morris, Anna Christy, Erin Wall, and Alyson Cambridge (debut). Emmanuel Villaume will conduct and Stéphane Roche (debut) will direct the production originally staged by Nicolas Joël. Set designs by Ezio Frigerio are based on those first created for Lyric in 1976.


Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov returns to Lyric in a production owned by the San Francisco Opera Association and seen here previously in 1994-95. It will star Ferruccio Furlanetto and Štefan Margita in their Lyric debuts, along with Andrea Silvestrelli and Raymond Aceto. Sir Andrew Davis conducts this masterpiece for the first time and Julia Pevzner (debut) directs the production originally staged by Stein Winge.


Three popular Lyric productions will be revived:


Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos stars Deborah Voigt, Anna Christy, Alice Coote, and Brandon Jovanovich. This delectable production premiered at Lyric in 1998-99 (also starring Voigt in the title role) directed by John Cox, who returns for the revival. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.


Mozart’s The Magic Flute stars Nicole Cabell, Charles Castronovo/Alek Shrader (debuts), Stéphane Degout (debut), Kathleen Kim, and Günther Groissböck (debut). The beloved 1986 production by the late August Everding will be staged by Matthew Lata. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.


Verdi’s Aida stars Sondra Radvanovsky/Hui He (debut), Marcello Giordani/Salvatore Licitra, Jill Grove/Anna Smirnova (debut), and Gordon Hawkins/Quinn Kelsey. Renato Palumbo conducts, and Matthew Lata will stage the Nicolas Joël production.


Lyric’s 57th season “encompasses Handel and Hammerstein, spanning three centuries and including exceptional works by Donizetti, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Offenbach, and Kern,” Mason said. Lyric’s 2011-12 season “will include two company premieres – Show Boat and Rinaldo [the latter heard here previously in a single concert performance], and the return of works long absent from our stage – Hoffmann, Boris, and Ariadne,” Mason noted.


Show Boat is among the great works of American musical theater that certainly have a place in the opera houses of this country and indeed, the world,” Mason said. “Show Boat is the first great musical that was truly American; what came before it was predominantly European in style. Based on the great Edna Ferber novel, Show Boat compellingly tells the story of a group of performers while also addressing the racial and societal upheavals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is all-American in its subject, in its musical style and inspiration, and we are proud to present this captivating drama. This new production anticipates Lyric’s annual commitment to American music theater, starting with a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma in the spring of 2013, which is part of the Renée Fleming Initiative.”


Mason noted that Francesca Zambello has directed Show Boat twice previously: in a fully staged production at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2006, and in a semi-staged production at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2008.


“Our audiences will enjoy a variety of beautiful music performed in French, Italian, German, Russian, and English by a roster of outstanding artists, and we will present three productions newly created for Lyric by world-class directors and designers,” said Mason. “I’m pleased to be concluding my career at Lyric with such a thrilling season.”  


Next season will also feature the welcome return of soprano superstar Renée Fleming and baritone sensation Dmitri Hvorostovsky in a Subscriber Appreciation Concert on Saturday, January 7. The concert will honor Mason, who retires as general director at the close of Lyric’s 2011-12 season. “Renée’s recent Subscriber Appreciation Concert was a terrific hit, especially following the announcement of her new role as Lyric’s creative consultant,” said Mason. “Sir Andrew will conduct our wonderful orchestra. It promises to be a most memorable musical occasion – for the audience and for me personally.” 


Mason noted that Sir Andrew Davis, currently celebrating his tenth anniversary as Lyric’s music director, will also conduct Boris Godunov, Ariadne auf Naxos, and The Magic Flute during the 2011-12 season.


 “Great opera is about the power of the emotions,” said Davis. “You can experience great emotions in a stage play, but when you add the singing voice and the orchestra, it magnifies everything exponentially. That’s what makes the art form so great – you see and experience human emotions on a scale that’s both amplified and personal. It becomes both grander and more intimate. This coming season at Lyric has many examples: In Boris there is the clangorously impressive coronation scene and his tortured soliloquies; in Aida, the grandeur of the triumphal scene and the lovers’ final entombment; in Ariadne, the brilliantly witty combination of high tragedy and vaudeville. The stylistic variety of next season is one of the most attractive in years.”


Renée Fleming made the following comments about Lyric’s 2011-12 season: “The fusion of extraordinary musical values and illuminating productions featuring some of my most beloved colleagues makes for a thrilling combination. There are six operas in which the title characters are prime examples of each genre – French, bel canto, Russian, Strauss, Verdi, and Baroque – each one a singing lesson.


“It’s fabulous that Lyric showcases its own Ryan Opera center alumni, putting its money where its mouth is and supporting the rising stars the company discovered early on. How wonderful that Chicago audiences can witness these great talents as they develop,” Fleming continued.


“New productions will delight and illuminate. I’m especially interested to hear Show Boat performed with the extraordinary resources of Lyric in a new production by Francesca Zambello. Show Boat has some of the best tunes in the history of Broadway and ones I grew up on – my mother’s favorites, too. Francisco Negrin will infuse Rinaldo with a fascinating contemporary treatment. And I know Catherine Malfitano will challenge her cast in Lucia di Lammermoor as surely as she challenged herself in her own powerful stage performances.


“Lyric’s 2011-12 season offers an abundance of riches and so many operas that I personally would want to see!” Fleming concluded.





Lyric will offer 72 performances of eight operas during its 25-week season, up from 68 performances in the current season, Mason noted.


“Prices are actually going down for the top-priced weekday matinees,” Mason said. As in the current season, subscribers will have the opportunity to purchase individual tickets at discounts for operas not in their series.  


 Depending on the series they choose, 2011-12 subscribers can enjoy up to two operas free.


Among the best subscription deals next season will be the A-1, B-1, and E-1 5-opera weekday series offering subscribers a 40% discount over single tickets – the equivalent of getting two operas free, Mason says. Also an excellent value are the A-2 and B-2 4-opera weekday series, priced to provide the equivalent of one free opera.


Next season Lyric patrons can choose from 23 different subscription packages, including ten economically-priced 4-opera series.  


Lyric will offer six 8-opera series, three 6-opera series, four 5-opera series, and ten 4-opera series.

Subscribers who prefer a daytime opera experience continue to have four choices: one 8-opera matinee series and three 4-opera matinee series. “These have proved to be very popular with Lyric’s audiences,” Mason noted.


2011-12 ticket prices will increase by about 3% over the current season, except for the top-priced weekday matinee tickets, which will be reduced.


The 25% down payment plan option will again be available for the coming season, Mason said. “Just 25% down secures your subscription seats with a credit-card payment, with the remaining three payments automatically charged monthly.”


The TRADEONE option remains popular for subscribers to fewer than all eight operas, and free ticket exchanges are an appreciated benefit for full-season subscribers. “These wonderful perks provide our subscribers with increased scheduling flexibility,” Mason said.


Continuing next season, eight-opera subscribers may exchange subscription tickets for another date of the same opera with no fee (weekend upgrades additional). Subscribers with 4-, 5-, or 6-opera series may exchange subscription tickets for another date of the same opera for just $4 per ticket (plus weekend upgrade if applicable).


With the TRADEONE program, subscribers with 4-, 5-, or 6-opera series in 2011-12 may again trade one opera in their series for an opera not in their series should they wish to do so when they place their subscription orders. There is a $9-per-ticket TRADEONE fee, with an additional $15-per-ticket fee if trading from a weekday to a weekend performance.


 “O” Series subscribers will again be able to choose their own two “perfect pairs” of any adjacent opera dates in the season – e.g. Oct. 15-16 and Mar. 12-13. Created especially for out-of-town subscribers, this series offers four operas in two sets of dates. Starting with the current season, “O” Series subscribers have had the flexibility of selecting their four preferred operas and the best dates for their own two “perfect pairs.” There are 25 “perfect pair” options from which to choose. “O” Series prices will vary, depending on whether subscribers opt for two pairs of weekend performances, two pairs of weekday performances, or a mixed pair.


Subscription brochures will be mailed February 5. Weekday prices apply Monday through Friday matinees; weekend rates apply Friday evening through Sunday.


Discounts for selected performance dates will be offered for group ticket sales next season (15+ per group), Mason noted.


NExT Discount Student Tickets will again be available, Mason said. “They cost just $20 for seats throughout the Civic Opera House, and are offered through the internet to fulltime, degree-seeking college students (who register online as NExT members) for regular performances of selected Lyric productions. Students from nearly 200 universities and colleges have purchased NExT tickets. NExT membership is free.”


Encore Evenings for Young Professionals were launched in early January, and will be offered again next season, Mason noted. “Substantially discounted tickets for selected performances are offered through the internet to young professionals in their 20s and 30s. Registered members receive ticket offers in two price categories, along with invitations to special social events just for young professionals. As with the NExT program, Encore Evenings membership is free.”


Free pre-opera lectures will once again be offered next season before every performance of every opera (except Oct. 1, opening night of the season) to enhance the opera-going experience, Mason said. “These wonderful 30-minute talks, presented by members of Lyric’s staff as well as experts from the community, are highly enjoyable and informative.”


Lyrics website ( is a comprehensive source of information, handsomely designed and easy to navigate. New this year are exciting web videos featuring conversations with Renée Fleming and Sir Andrew Davis about each opera in the 2011-12 season. Individual videos will be released weekly beginning in February.


 Other website features include the popular Backstage at Lyric podcast, comprised of informal interviews with the major artists of each production (available free on iTunes). Discovery Series lectures and panel discussions are also available as podcast episodes. Lyrics in-depth and expertly produced Commentaries are available for streaming, free of charge. Short video features on each production, including performance highlights and directors’ interviews, are also online for viewing.


 “Lyrics website has terrific and varied content, and is constantly updated during the season, Mason said. “Visitors can spend hours listening, watching, and reading about the productions and artists appearing on our stage. Our content is not only educational, but also very entertaining. I strongly encourage audiences to get the most out of the live experience by first enjoying our multimedia offerings at home or on the go. Our Facebook and Twitter fan base has also enjoyed tremendous growth this season, helping to foster opera engagement and excitement in our digital communities. 


Lyric’s website also includes a customer interface feature allowing patrons to view their upcoming and past performances, exchange tickets, select their own seats, renew their donations, make other contributions, make reservations to The Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room restaurant, and receive special messaging.


Projected English translations and texts will be used for all eight productions in Lyric’s 2011-12 season.


98.7WFMT and will air the opening-night performance of each opera in Lyric’s 2011-12 season live locally, and will rebroadcast all eight operas internationally in May and June of 2012. The Matthew Bucksbaum Family is the generous sponsor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Bucksbaum Family Broadcasts, with matching funding provided by The Crown Family and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart.




in the 2011-12 SEASON



THE TALES OF HOFFMANN  / Jacques Offenbach (in French with projected English translations) 

9 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for opening night at 6:30 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Oct. 1, 5, 9 (mat), 12 (mat), 15, 18, 21, 24, 29

A matchless operetta composer’s sole attempt at “serious” opera, The Tales of Hoffmann (1881) was the masterpiece of Jacques Offenbach. At a tavern in Nuremberg, the passionate poet Hoffmann (tenor Matthew Polenzani) – while waiting for his beloved Stella (soprano, TBA) to finish her performance at the opera – entertains his friends with the tales of his three ill-starred adventures in love: with the mechanical doll Olympia (soprano Anna Christy); the consumptive singer Antonia (soprano Erin Wall); and the fickle courtesan Giulietta (soprano Alyson Cambridge, debut). Menacing Hoffmann at every turn are the villains – Councilor Lindorf, the crazed inventor Coppélius, the murderous Dr. Miracle, and the magician Dapertutto (all portrayed by bass-baritone James Morris). In each of these stories Hoffmann is assisted by his faithful friend Nicklausse (mezzo-soprano Emily Fons). The four comic servants – Andrès, Cochenille, Pitichinaccio, and Frantz – are all sung by tenor Rodell Rosel. Additional roles will be sung by Jamie Barton (debut), David Cangelosi, and Christian Van Horn.

            Hoffmann will be conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. The original production by Nicolas Joël will be remounted at Lyric Opera by stage director Stéphane Roche (debut). The sets designed by Ezio Frigerio are based on his designs for Lyric’s 1976 production. Costumes are designed by Franca Squarciapino (debut). Vinicio Cheli (debut) is the lighting designer. 

            Coproduction of the Teatro Real de Madrid with the Israeli Opera of Tel Aviv, the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and the Teatro Regio di Torino.

The Lyric Opera presentation of The Tales of Hoffmann is generously made possible by the NIB Foundation, the Abbott Fund, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Ryan Opera Center alumnus and Lyric favorite Matthew Polenzani will be magnificent in the title role,” said Mason. “After James Morris’s delightful detour as the Mikado this season, he will return to the ‘dark side’ as the four villains, roles in which he has long excelled.”

Davis noted that “there’s a mythic quality about this opera, with Hoffmann confronting the archetypes of both the perfect woman and the force of destructive evil. It’s very romantic, but at the same time with the bittersweetness of love repeatedly gone wrong. The music is wonderfully poetic and witty, full of fantasy and big changes of mood, with great writing for the chorus, and the beautiful ‘Barcarolle.’ Matthew will bring a special yearning to the role through the sheer beauty of his sound.”


New Production

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR  / Gaetano Donizetti (in Italian with projected English translations)

8 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Oct. 10, 13 (mat), 16 (mat), 19, 22, 28, Nov. 1, 5

Based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott, Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic tragedy is perhaps the most popular work of the bel canto era. The heroine, Lucia (soprano Susanna Phillips), is the sister of the villainous Enrico (baritone Gabriele Viviani). Enrico’s mortal enemy is Edgardo of Ravenswood (tenor Giuseppe Filianoti), who is in love with Lucia. She returns his love, and the two hope to be married. Desperate to extricate his family from certain financial ruin, Enrico arranges a match between Lucia and the wealthy Lord Arturo (tenor TBA). To convince Lucia to marry Arturo, he schemes to make her believe that Edgardo has been unfaithful. When Edgardo unexpectedly appears at the wedding, he denounces Lucia, which leads to a tragic dénouement, to the horror of Lucia’s tutor, the dignified Raimondo (bass-baritone Christian Van Horn).

Lucia will be conducted by Massimo Zanetti (debut) with Catherine Malfitano as stage director (Lyric directing debut). Also making Lyric debuts are set designer Wilson Chin and costume designer Terese Wadden. The lighting designer is Duane Schuler.

The new Lyric Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor is generously made possible by Nelson D. Cornelius.

            “Susanna Phillips has enjoyed early-career successes at the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe, and elsewhere nationwide including Lyric since leaving the Ryan Opera Center, and we are delighted to have her back in this iconic role of the bel canto repertoire,” Mason said. “Both tenor Giuseppe Filianoti and baritone Gabriele Viviani charmed us as romantic rivals in Donizetti’s delightful comic opera The Elixir of Love last season (in which Susanna also starred), and they will make compelling rivals of a more serious nature in this powerful tragedy. Catherine Malfitano, who is such an exceptional artist and a great Lyric favorite for so many years, now returns to us as a director who has scored triumphs at the English National Opera, Théâtre de la Monnaie, and Washington National Opera, among others, bringing all of her insights as a consummate singer and actress,” Mason said.

Davis praised Phillips for her “creamy voice and expressiveness. Lucia’s music requires enormous virtuosity and a large range. It’s also a great acting role, with such a huge range of emotions – from ecstasy to complete despair and madness. In terms of portraying a woman destroyed by love, it is one of the greatest operas.”


BORIS GODUNOV / Modest Mussorgsky (in Russian with projected English translations)

7 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Nov. 7, 11, 17 (mat), 20 (mat), 23, 26, 29

            One of the greatest works of the Russian operatic repertoire, Mussorgsky’s masterpiece returns to Lyric for the first time in 17 years. As was the case during the 1994-95 season’s production, Lyric will present Boris Godunov in its original 1869 version. In this work, the contrast between the private anguish and the public face of the Czar of Russia is devastating. Boris (bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, debut) is outwardly in command when appearing before his people, but is privately tortured by having instigated the murder of young Dmitri, heir to the throne. He is also susceptible to the subtle deviousness of an ambitious courtier, Prince Shuisky (tenor Štefan Margita, debut). After the monk Pimen (bass Andrea Silvestrelli) tells the novice Grigori (tenor Erik Nelson Werner, debut) about Boris’s murdering the czarevitch, Grigori determines that he should pose as Dmitri and seek to overthrow Boris. Also in the cast is bass Raymond Aceto, who portrays the boisterous monk Varlaam. Other roles will be sung by Jamie Barton, David Cangelosi, Edward Mout, and Ljubomir Puškarić.

            Sir Andrew Davis conducts. The original production is by Stein Winge. Julia Pevzner (debut) is stage director, set designer is Göran Wassberg, costume designer is Kari Gravklev, and lighting designer is Duane Schuler.

The production is owned by the San Francisco Opera Association. The Lyric Opera presentation of Boris Godunov is generously made possibly by an Anonymous Donor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Ferruccio Furlanetto is the reason we’re doing Boris we saw him in the role in Vienna and were deeply moved and impressed,” Mason said. “He is one of the great basses of our time, who has scored terrific successes everywhere. He just had a great triumph in the Met’s Don Carlo, and Chicago audiences will remember him from the CSO’s Mozart-da Ponte cycle in the early 1990s. It’s also exciting to have Andrew conducting this magnificent work for the first time.”

            Said Davis, “It’s a grand, barbarous, and thrilling piece that captures the darkness and the vibrancy of the Russian soul. The music glows with a sort of inner fire. I’m looking forward to working with Ferruccio enormously. His experience in this role is extraordinary – he was the first Italian to portray Boris at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, and he has also portrayed Boris in Rome, La Scala, Venice, Florence, Vienna, and San Diego.”


ARIADNE AUF NAXOS  / Richard Strauss (in German with projected English translations)

6 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinee at 2:00 p.m.

Nov. 19, 22, 28, Dec. 2, 7, 11 (mat)

            The third collaboration of Strauss and his brilliant librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Ariadne auf Naxos was premiered in 1912, but the pair revised their opera significantly for a second premiere in 1916 (this “standard” version is the one Lyric will perform). The revision includes a glorious prologue that sets the stage for the opera to come. The opera, “Ariadne on Naxos,” to be presented in the home of the richest man in Vienna, is written by a passionately idealistic composer (mezzo-soprano Alice Coote), whose efforts are encouraged by his music master (baritone Eike Wilm Schulte). The composer is appalled to learn that it must be presented simultaneously with a performance by a commedia troupe led by Zerbinetta (soprano Anna Christy) and Harlequin (baritone Matthew Worth, debut). The serious work and the commedia manage to integrate themselves into a smashing entertainment: the prima donna (soprano Deborah Voigt) and the leading man (tenor Brandon Jovanovich), violently jealous of each other in the prologue, become noble Ariadne and ardent Bacchus. Other roles will be sung by Jamie Barton, Nili Riemer (debut), Edward Mout, and Wilbur Pauley.

            Sir Andrew Davis, a renowned  Straussian, conducts the production staged by John Cox. The set and costume designer is Robert Perdziola and the lighting designer is Duane Schuler.

The Lyric Opera production was originally made possible by an Anonymous Donor. The revival of Ariadne auf Naxos is generously made possible by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation, Roger and Julie Baskes, and the Estate of Howard A. Stotler.

Deborah Voigt returns in the production that was created for her in 1998-99,” Mason said. “It’s incredibly beautiful, with a sensational final duet that Debbie – currently our Minnie in Fanciulla – and Brandon Jovanovich – returning in March as Don José in Carmen – will sing magnificently,” said Mason. “As Zerbinetta, Anna Christy will display her considerable vocal and comedic talents in her 12-minute aria in the second act – she’s perfect for the role. People who know this opera look forward to that scene, and those who don’t yet know it will be astonished.”

“This production is one of the most enchanting, brilliantly realized things that I know in the whole operatic realm,” said Davis. “The piece is challenging because of the preposterous idea of having two entertainments occur simultaneously. Strauss and Hofmannsthal did something brilliant with the tragédie and the commedia dell’arte, which interfere with each other but also illuminate each other. The wit of the thing is wonderful, starting below the stage, with the set based on an actual theater in Drottningholm, near Stockholm, with all this mechanical machinery done by ship builders in the 17th or 18th century.”

Strauss’s music for Ariadne, Davis added, “has all the elements of Der Rosenkavalier. It has that sort of voluptuousness of scoring – nobody used the orchestra better than Strauss. But it is actually a small orchestra, so there is a sort of intimacy about it that sets it apart. It’s civilized and elegant, quite different from what he had done with Salome and Elektra. If you like Rosenkavalier, then come to this.”


THE MAGIC FLUTE  (DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE) /  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (in German with projected English translations)

 10 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Dec. 6, 8 (mat), 10, Jan. 4 (mat), 6, 9, 11, 14, 20 (mat), 22 (mat) 

The Magic Flute  (Die Zauberflöte), Mozart’s final opera, is an extraordinary monument to the victory of peace and love over evil. The protagonists are Prince Tamino (tenors Charles Castronovo and Alek Shrader, debuts) and Pamina (soprano Nicole Cabell), the princess for whom Tamino endures a series of rigorous trials. Pamina has been abducted by the high priest Sarastro (bass Günther Groissböck, debut), who opposes her mother, the vengeful Queen of the Night (soprano Kathleen Kim). Accompanying Tamino on his journey in search of Pamina is the queen’s amiable birdcatcher, Papageno (baritone Stéphane Degout, debut). Monostatos, the Moor who lusts after Pamina, will be tenor Rodell Rosel. Additional roles will be sung by Amber Wagner, Katherine Lerner, Richard Stilwell, and others to be announced at a later date.

            Sir Andrew Davis, an internationally celebrated Mozart interpreter, will conduct. Stage director Matthew Lata will remount the original August Everding production, with sets by the late Jörg Zimmermann, costumes by Renate Kalanke, and lighting by Jason Brown.

The I. A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation Production in memory of Mrs. Thomas B. Burke. The revival of The Magic Flute is generously made possible by Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, and The Negaunee Foundation.

            “This is a remarkable masterpiece by one of the great musical geniuses of all time, combining an endearing, naïve charm with profound compassion,” Mason noted, “and this will be the final opportunity to see this delightful production at Lyric.”

            “If you’re taking someone to the opera for the first time, especially children, this is it,” said Davis. “Even young children are captivated by the music and the story. You have the serious, philosophical, spiritual aspect, and almost slapstick comedy as well. The fact that it switches from one to the other is one of the magical things about it. This production does full justice to every side of the piece. We have two superb alumnae of the Ryan Opera Center: Nicole Cabell, who has a hugely successful international career, has the sort of radiance one wants for Pamina, and Kathleen Kim will be dazzling as the queen, with the steely brilliance of her voice. Our two Taminos will have exciting company debuts: Charles Castronovo is an elegant Mozart singer, and Alek Shrader is a remarkable singer and perceptive actor.”


AIDA / Giuseppe Verdi   (in Italian with projected English translations)

12 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Jan. 21, 25, 28, 31, Feb. 3 (mat), 8 (mat), Mar. 6, 10, 15 (mat), 19, 22, 25 (mat) 

In the exotic and mysterious setting of ancient Egypt, Verdi and his librettist, Antonio Ghislanzoni, created a powerfully dramatic love triangle between the captive Ethiopian princess Aida (sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky and Hui He, debut); Radames, captain of the Pharaoh’s army (tenors Marcello Giordani and Salvatore Licitra), who loves Aida and is loved by her; and Pharaoh’s daughter, the jealous and manipulative princess Amneris (mezzo sopranos Jill Grove and Anna Smirnova, debut). Tragic events are set in motion after Aida’s father, the Ethiopian king Amonasro (baritones Gordon Hawkins and Quinn Kelsey), after being captured by Radames, asks his daughter to escape with him and she persuades Radames to join her. Also in the cast is bass Štefan Kocán as the implacable high priest Ramfis.

            Renato Palumbo will conduct. The original production by Nicolas Joël is being remounted by stage director Matthew Lata. The set and costume designer is Pet Halmen, the lighting designer is Jason Brown, and the choreographer is Kenneth von Heidecke.

The I. A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation Production. The revival of Aida is generously made possible by Mr. and Mrs. J. Thomas Hurvis.

“It’s one of the grandest of all grand operas, combining some of Verdi’s most passionate music with great spectacle and drama,” Mason said. “We have two wonderful Verdi sopranos: Sondra Radvanovsky, who has quickly established herself as a Lyric favorite, and the remarkable Chinese soprano Hui He, who will make her company debut. Our Italian tenors, Marcello Giordani (currently costarring in Fanciulla) and Salvatore Licitra, have Verdi in their blood. Our memorable Porgy, Gordon Hawkins, and our Ryan Opera Center alumnus Quinn Kelsey, will each make an exceptional Amonasro. Jill Grove, who has excelled in Wagner, Strauss, and Berg here, will sing her first Italian role with Lyric as Amneris, with Russian mezzo Anna Smirnova also debuting in that role. Renato Palumbo will add to his string of Verdi ‘pearls’ at Lyric, having conducted a marvelous Macbeth earlier this season, Ernani the year before, and Attila for his debut in 2000-01.”

“People love this opera and keep coming back not just for the thrilling grand numbers, but for this wonderfully tragic story,” said Davis. “It’s all about rivalry and the lengths to which people go to fulfill their desires. It’s that intensity that Verdi was so good at.”


Lyric Opera Premiere / New Production

SHOW BOAT  / Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) (in English with projected English texts)

12 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Feb. 12 (mat), 13, 17, 18, 22, 25, 28, Mar. 1 (mat), 2 (mat), 7 (mat), 9, 17

            Premiered on Broadway in 1927, Show Boat contains some of the best-loved songs of the 20th century, including “Old Man River,” “Bill,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” and “You Are Love.” One of the most captivating visions of theatrical life ever presented on the American stage, this work blazed a trail for shows bridging the gap between opera and musical theater. Kern and Hammerstein were able to integrate songs into the drama as none of their musical-theater predecessors had done. The show boat of the title is the Cotton Blossom, depicted from 1880 up to the1920s. The captain’s daughter, Magnolia Hawks (soprano TBA), has a fine life on the show boat, thanks to the affection of her friends – the stevedore Joe (bass Morris Robinson, debut), the cook Queenie (soprano Angela Renée Simpson, debut), and the acting company’s leading lady, Julie La Verne (soprano Alyson Cambridge).When Julie, a mulatto, and her husband Steve Baker (actor TBA), the company’s leading man, are arrested for miscegenation and taken away by the sheriff, their roles are given to Magnolia and Ravenal (baritone Nathan Gunn), a rakish gambler. After the two marry – despite Magnolia’s mother’s objections – and settle in Chicago, Ravenal’s luck runs out. Deeply ashamed, he leaves his wife and their daughter. When Julie, now singing at Chicago’s Trocadero, overhears Magnolia auditioning there, she purposely sacrifices her position so that it can be Magnolia’s. On New Year’s Eve at the Trocadero, Magnolia sings and becomes a star. 

            The production team includes stage director Francesca Zambello and conductor John DeMain, set designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Mark McCullough, sound designer Mark Grey, and choreographer Michele Lynch (debut).

Generous sponsors for this new production are The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Vance, the Mazza Foundation, Jim and Vicki Mills/Jon and Lois Mills, Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The vocal writing in this great work requires singers at an operatic level,” Mason noted. “It’s up to companies such as ours to bring Show Boat and other classic American musicals to a new and wider audience. Francesca Zambello and John DeMain brought a riveting production of Porgy and Bess to Lyric a few seasons back to enormous acclaim and will do so again with Show Boat.”

“This is a seminal work, in many ways the beginning of opera and musicals in America,” said Zambello. “It was a phenomenal crossover piece in 1927, based on one of the great novels by Edna Ferber, about the great changes in America from 1880 through1920. It’s a work that has at its very core politics, social change, racial issues – they’re deeply and brilliantly examined through personal lives. That is of course what makes great theater and great opera – telling an epic story through individual people’s lives.  To explore these characters and these issues in an opera house as the composer intended, with a great big chorus and orchestra, and one hit tune after another – I’m very honored to come back to do this, especially since part of the story takes place in Chicago.” Prior to Porgy and Bess Zambello’s productions at Lyric were Salome and Tristan und Isolde.


Lyric Opera Stage Premiere / New Production

RINALDO / George Frideric Handel   (in Italian with projected English translations)

7 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinee at 2:00 p.m.

Feb. 29, Mar. 4 (mat), 8, 12, 16, 20, 24

            Nearly all of Handel’s more than 40 operas premiered in London, and the first of these was one of his greatest successes: Rinaldo (1711), a work full of superhuman vocal pyrotechnics but also extraordinarily affecting expressiveness in its arias for all the major characters. The knight Rinaldo (countertenor David Daniels) is a hero at the time of the First Crusade (late 11th century). Jerusalem is ruled by the Saracen king, Argante (bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, debut), who is in league with a sorceress, Armida, Queen of Damascus (soprano Elza van den Heever, debut). The city is attacked by the Christian army led by Goffredo (mezzo-soprano Sonia Prina, debut) with the aid of Rinaldo and Goffredo’s brother Eustazio (countertenor Iestyn Davies, debut). Almirena, Goffredo’s daughter (soprano Julia Kleiter, debut), and Rinaldo are in love. Complications ensue when Armida takes Rinaldo hostage. In the end, Rinaldo and Goffredo capture Argante and Armida, and Rinaldo is ecstatically reunited with Almirena. 

            Harry Bicket will conduct the new production staged by Francisco Negrin, with sets and costumes by Louis Désiré (debut), lighting by Bruno Poet (debut), and choreography by Ana Yepes (debut).

The new Lyric Opera production of Rinaldo is generously made possible by Margot and Josef Lakonishok.

            “When it comes to great opera composers writing great music for the voice, Handel deserves to be ranked with Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini,” Mason said. “Lyric’s premiere of Rinaldo continues the line of presenting his works to our audience, many of whom may not know this repertoire. The great American countertenor David Daniels, who has established a wonderful relationship with Lyric and our audience, returns in the title role, joined by several exciting debut artists. David has collaborated with Harry Bicket more than with any other conductor – they’ll be here together shortly for Handel’s Hercules – so that will bring a special depth to their interpretation of this work.”

            “I’m very excited about Rinaldo,” said Davis. “We’ve had such a great track record with all kinds of different styles of productions for Handel’s operas here – always with great class.”




with the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis

Saturday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Lyric welcomes American soprano Renée Fleming for her third Subscriber Appreciation Concert, joined for the first time here by Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. The program will be announced at a later date. Tickets start at $39 and are available to 2011-12 subscribers only. The concert will honor Lyric’s general director William Mason.

Named Lyric’s first-ever Creative Consultant in December 2010, Renée Fleming is a beloved favorite of Lyric Opera audiences and has won acclaim in literally every major opera house and concert hall in the world. She debuted with the company during the 1993-94 season in the title role/Susannah (Lyric premiere/new production), and has since returned as Marguerite/Faust (1995-96), Countess Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro (1997-98), title role/Alcina (1999-00), Desdemona/Otello (new production, 2001-02), title role/Thaïs (new production, 2002-03), and Violetta/La traviata (2007-08).

After winning the first Cardiff Singer of the World competition (1989), Dmitri Hvorostovsky capped his rapid rise to international stardom with his American operatic debut at Lyric as Germont/La traviata (1993-94 season). He has returned four times: as Valentin/Faust (1995-96), Germont again (1998-99), Renato/A Masked Ball (2002-03), and in his signature role, the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (2007-08).

Like Fleming, Hvorostovsky is equally celebrated in operatic, concert, and recital repertoire, and is also a prolific recording artist. The two have collaborated in Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera (2007, international HD transmission, DVD) and in two concerts telecast on PBS: for Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers” series (2000) and “Renée Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg” (2010, DVD).





The Tales of Hoffmann


American tenor MATTHEW POLENZANI (Title role)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumnus who has returned to Lyric to triumph as Belmonte/The Abduction from the Seraglio (new production, 2008-09), Alfredo/La traviata (2007-08), Roméo/Roméo et Juliette (2006-07)
  • Firmly established as a favorite artist at the Metropolitan Opera, where he stars this season as Ernesto/Don Pasquale and Alfredo/La traviata (new production); the Met’s 2008 Beverly Sills Award winner
  • This season’s operatic highlights also include appearances at the Opéra National de Paris (Così fan tutte), Covent Garden (tour to Japan in Manon, opposite Anna Netrebko)
  • Has earned great success as the tenor heroes of Mozart and the bel canto composers at the major houses of London, Vienna, Rome, Naples, as well as at the Salzburg Festival


American bass-baritone JAMES MORRIS (Four Villains)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Seven roles since 1979, most recently title role/The Mikado (2010-11), Scarpia/Tosca (2009-10), Wotan/Ring cycle (2004-05, individual Ring operas in 2004-05, 2003-04, 2002-03)
  • Long a favorite artist at the Metropolitan Opera; sang three highly varied roles there last season – Fiesco/Simon Boccanegra, Claudius/Hamlet, and Dr Schön (role debut)/Lulu; returns to the Met this season as Scarpia/Tosca and Friar Laurence/Roméo et Juliette
  • Has been acclaimed in every leading international house as Wagner’s Wotan, while also making a profound impact in many other major bass and bass-baritone roles in the German, French, Italian, and Russian repertoire
  • Makes role debut this season as Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Washington National Opera


American soprano ANNA CHRISTY (Olympia)

  • Highly successful at Lyric Opera as Tytania/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (company premiere, 2010-11), Sister Constance/Dialogues of the Carmelites (company premiere, 2006-07), Muffin/A Wedding (debut, world premiere, 2004-05)
  • Returned to the Metropolitan Opera this season as Olympia; this season’s highlights also include Susanna/The Marriage of Figaro at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Paris) and the formidable role of Kitty/Menotti’s The Last Savage (Santa Fe Opera, where Christy previously earned international attention in world premiere of Judith Weir’s Madame Mao)
  • In recent seasons has triumphed as Cunegonde/Candide (Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, La Scala, English National Opera, Ravinia Festival, Hollywood Bowl) and Donizetti’s Lucia (premiere of new production, English National Opera)
  • Has also appeared at Covent Garden and the major companies of San Francisco, St. Louis, Los Angeles


American soprano ERIN WALL (Antonia)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumna, has appeared in 11 roles at Lyric Opera since 2001-02, most recently Helena/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (company premiere, 2010-11), Konstanze/The Abduction from the Seraglio (new production, 2008-09), Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte (2006-07)Triumphed at Santa Fe Opera in title role/Strauss’s Daphne and the four heroines/The Tales of Hoffmann (premieres of new productions); has rapidly established herself internationally as Marguerite/Faust (Santiago), Donna Anna/Don Giovanni (Munich), Fiordiligi (Aix-en-Provence, Paris, Vienna), Belinda/Dido and Aeneas (opposite Jessye Norman, Paris), Britten’s War Requiem (London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis) Has received critical praise for Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the San Francisco Symphony with Tilson Thomas (CD, Grammy Award winner), Staatskapelle Berlin with Boulez (CD), Orchestre de Paris, City of Birmingham Symphony, and Edinburgh Festival
  • Has been heard with the Chicago, Montreal, Houston, and San Francisco symphony orchestras, and at the Ravinia, Grant Park, Tanglewood, and Mostly Mozart festivals

Filipino-American tenor RODELL ROSEL (Four Servants)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumnus, has sung 14 roles at Lyric Opera since 2005-06, among them the Prince, Manservant, and Marquis/Lulu (2008-09), Bardolfo/Falstaff  (2007-08), Emperor Altoum/Turandot (2006-07)
  • Has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Valzacchi/Der Rosenkavalier (debut) and Nathanaël/The Tales of Hoffmann, both for HD transmissions
  • Has earned critical attention as Squeak/Billy Budd (Houston), Ong Chi Seng/Paul Moravec’s The Letter (world premiere, Santa Fe Opera), Goro/Madama Butterfly (Pittsburgh Opera), Monostatos/The Magic Flute (Florentine Opera of Milwaukee)
  • Returns to Houston this season for Madama Butterfly and Ariadne auf Naxos



Lucia di Lammermoor


American soprano SUSANNA PHILLIPS (Lucia)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumna, has sung seven roles at Lyric Opera since 2005-06, most recently Adina/The Elixir of Love (2009-10), Rosalinde/Die Fledermaus student matinees, Juliette/Roméo et Juliette (both 2006-07)
  • Is rapidly acquiring a formidable reputation nationwide, including successes at the Metropolitan Opera as Musetta and Pamina; Santa Fe Opera as Pamina, Fiordiligi, Countess Almaviva, and Donna Elvira; Minnesota Opera in the exceptionally challenging role of Elmira/Keiser’s Croesus
  • First attracted wide attention in 2005 by winning four leading vocal competitions: Operalia, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, and the George London Foundation competition; the Met’s 2010 Beverly Sills Award winner
  • Has also been heard with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, New York Pops (Carnegie Hall debut), and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic



Italian tenor  GIUSEPPE FILIANOTI (Edgardo)

  • Capped his rise to prominence with debuts last season at Lyric Opera as Nemorino/The Elixir of Love and at both San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera as Edgardo
  • Scored a tremendous success at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this season in the title role/The Tales of Hoffmann, which he has also recently sung at the Opéra National de Paris
  • Appears in leading roles each season at many of the world’s most prestigious theaters, with recent successes including Lucia di Lammermoor (Vienna), The Elixir of Love (Munich,  Paris, London, Los Angeles); repertoire also encompasses Mozart’s Tito (Turin), Massenet’s Werther (Rome, Genoa), Ruggero/Puccini’s La rondine (Met), and Stravinsky’s Tom Rakewell (Palermo), among many other leading roles
  • Appears on CD in Donizetti’s rarely heard Dom Sébastien (Covent Garden)


Italian baritone GABRIELE VIVIANI (Enrico)

  • Debuted at Lyric Opera last season in another Donizetti role, Belcore/The Elixir of Love
  • Made his American debut opposite Natalie Dessay in Lucia di Lammermoor at San Francisco Opera
  • Has rapidly established himself in major Italian houses – La Scala (Madama Butterfly under Maazel), Bologna (Elixir, Don Pasquale), Genoa (Le villi), Trieste (Madama Butterfly)
  • Has also appeared at  Covent Garden (La bohème), the Vienna Staatsoper (I puritani), La Monnaie in Brussels (Falstaff), and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia (La bohème)


American bass-baritone CHRISTIAN VAN HORN (Raimondo)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumnus, six roles at Lyric Opera since 2004-05, most recently Brander/The Damnation of Faust (2009-10), Nourabad/The Pearl Fishers (2008-09), Police Commissioner/Der Rosenkavalier (2005-06)
  • Has appeared in numerous productions at Munich’s renowned Bayerische Staatsoper, including Oroveso/Norma (opposite Edita Gruberova), the Speaker/The Magic Flute, most recently Colline/La bohème this season (he sings the latter role this summer at Santa Fe Opera)
  • Has also appeared in Salzburg in Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins (Easter Festival) and as the Duke/Roméo et Juliette (Summer Festival)
  • Earned considerable critical acclaim creating Karenin/David Carlson’s Anna Karenina (world premiere at Florida Grand Opera, revival at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis)



Boris Godunov


Italian bass ANDREA SILVESTRELLI (Pimen)

  • Previous successes at Lyric Opera in seven roles since 2000-01, most recently Bartolo/The Marriage of Figaro (2009-10), Osmin/The Abduction from the Seraglio (new production, 2008-09), Colline/La bohème (2007-08)
  • Recent highlights include Gianni Schicchi (San Francisco Opera), Das Rheingold (Deutsche Oper Berlin), Arnaldo de Felice’s “Fragments from Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant” (Orchestra Haydn di Trenta e Bolzano, world premiere)
  • One of few Italian basses to excel internationally in German-language repertoire, including Sarastro (Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, Santa Fe), Osmin (Lyric, San Francisco, Houston, Munich), the Landgrave/Tannhäuser (Tokyo), Hagen/Götterdämmerung (Mexico City, Austria’s Tiroler Festspiele), Fasolt/Das Rheingold (Seattle, San Francisco), La Roche/Capriccio (Parma)
  • Has also earned acclaim in Verdi, including Philippe/Don Carlos in Cardiff (French version) and Graz (Italian version), Zaccaria/Nabucco (La Scala, Macerata), Lodovico/Otello (Munich), and Banco/Macbeth (Amsterdam); among his bel canto performances are Norma (Helsinki) and La favorita (Philadelphia)


American bass RAYMOND ACETO (Varlaam)

  • Ten roles at Lyric, most recently Count des Grieux/Manon (2008-09), Fafner/Ring cycle, Ramfis/Aida (both 2004-05)
  • Returned to Covent Garden earlier this season for Rigoletto and The Pearl Fishers
  • Highly successful international career includes appearances at the Vienna Staatsoper (Carmen), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Aida, Simon Boccanegra, Lucia di Lammermoor), Covent Garden (The Barber of Seville, Il trovatore), Madrid’s Teatro Real (Il trovatore), Verona Arena (Carmen, released on DVD), Netherlands Opera (Rigoletto), Brussels’s La Monnaie (I due Foscari)
  • Has also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera and the major houses of Houston (including role debut as Puccini’s Scarpia last season, opposite Patricia Racette’s first Tosca), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Toronto, Montreal, New Orleans



Ariadne auf Naxos


American soprano DEBORAH VOIGT (Ariadne/Prima Donna)

  • Successes at Lyric in seven roles since 1992-93, including Minnie/The Girl of the Golden West (2010-11), title role/Tosca (2009-10), Isolde/Tristan und Isolde (2008-09)
  • Acclaimed worldwide as one of today’s most formidable interpreters of the heroines of Wagner and Strauss, as well as in major dramatic roles of the Italian repertoire
  • A great favorite at the Metropolitan Opera, where she stars this season in her first performances of Brünnhilde/Die Walküre (new production)
  • Made her long-awaited role debut in The Girl of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera in June 2010, reprising the role earlier this season at the Met


American soprano ANNA CHRISTY (Zerbinetta)

See The Tales of Hoffmann


English mezzo-soprano ALICE COOTE (Composer)

  • Scheduled to return to Lyric later this season as Dejanira/Hercules; previous successes at Lyric as Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus (2006-07), Hansel/Hansel and Gretel (debut, 2001-02)
  • Much acclaimed in starring roles in London at both Covent Garden and the English National Opera, also at Glyndebourne, the Opéra National de Paris, the Salzburg Festival, and Los Angeles Opera  
  • Recently made highly successful appearance at San Francisco Opera as Charlotte/Werther
  • Equally celebrated as a recital and concert artist, with venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and Carnegie Hall


American tenor BRANDON JOVANOVICH (Bacchus)

  • Scheduled to return to Lyric this season as Don José/Carmen, company debut in 2009-10 as Boris/Katya Kabanova
  • Starred at the Metropolitan Opera last season (debut) and this season as Don José, which he has also sung with great success at Glyndebourne Festival Opera
  • In 2009, earned much acclaim at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera as Števa/Jenůfa and in his return to Glyndebourne as the Prince/Rusalka (available on CD)
  • 2007 winner of one of America’s most prestigious awards for singers, the Richard Tucker Award



The Magic Flute


American soprano NICOLE CABELL (Pamina)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumna; returns to Lyric later this season as Micaëla/Carmen, after eight roles since 2002-03,  most recently the Countess/The Marriage of Figaro and Adina/The Elixir of Love (both in 2009-10)
  • Has scored great successes at the Metropolitan Opera as Pamina (debut), Adina, Musetta, and MicaëlaRapidly ascended to international prominence after winning one of the world’s most important vocal competitions, the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World (2005) Since her Cardiff victory, has won praise at Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and at many other major houses and orchestras


Korean-American soprano KATHLEEN KIM (Queen of the Night)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumna, has appeared in six roles at Lyric Opera since 2005-06, most recently Oscar/A Masked Ball (2010-11), Adele/Die Fledermaus student matinees (2006-07)
  • Highlights of the current season include the Queen of the Night at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, Zerbinetta/Ariadne auf Naxos and Madame Mao/Nixon in China (company premiere) at the Metropolitan Opera, and Poppea/Handel’s Agrippina at Boston Lyric Opera
  • Portrayed Olympia/The Tales of Hoffmann in new Met production last season, including HD transmission
  • Other successes include the Queen of the Night (Atlanta Opera), Blonde/The Abduction from the Seraglio (Minnesota Opera), Armida/Rinaldo (Central City Opera), European debut two seasons ago in Bilbao in the title role/La fille du régiment






American soprano SONDRA RADVANOVSKY (Title role – Jan. & Feb.)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Amelia/A Masked Ball (role debut, 2010-11), Elvira/Ernani (2009-10), Leonora/Il trovatore (2006-07), title role/Susannah (debut, 2002-03)
  • Celebrated worldwide for portrayals of Verdi heroines, including most recently title role/Tosca and Lina/Stiffelio at the Metropolitan Opera, Leonora/Il trovatore (her most frequently performed role) at San Francisco Opera, and role debut as Aida at Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company
  • Other recent successes include title role/Lucrezia Borgia (Washington National Opera) and role debuts as Tosca (Opera Colorado) and Suor Angelica (Los Angeles Opera)
  • Can be heard on CD in an all-Verdi solo disc and a live concert from Moscow with Dmitri Hvorostovsky; can be seen on DVD opposite Plácido Domingo as Roxane/Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac (live performance from Valencia)


Italian tenor MARCELLO GIORDANI (Radames – Jan. & Feb.)

  • Returned to Lyric this season as Dick Johnson/The Girl of the Golden West, after previous successes as Cavaradossi/Tosca (2000-01),  Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor (debut, 1990-91)
  • Great favorite at the Metropolitan Opera, where he appears this season in The Girl of the Golden West and where he has sung many new productions (including Il pirata, Benvenuto Cellini, The Damnation of Faust, Madama Butterfly, the latter two for HD transmissions) 
  • Recently starred at San Francisco Opera (Aida), Madrid’s Teatro Real (Simon Boccanegra), and the Salzburg Festival (Norma)
  • Appears on DVD in Madama Butterfly (Verona Arena), La bohème (Opernhaus Zurich), La forza del destino (Florence), Manon Lescaut (Met), La Gioconda (Catania)


Italian tenor SALVATORE LICITRA (Radames – March)

  • Previous successes at Lyric Opera: title role/Ernani (new production, 2009-10), Radames/Aida (debut, 2004-05)
  • Since his widely hailed debut at the Metropolitan Opera (Cavaradossi/Tosca, 2002), has starred there in Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci (those two operas in the same evening), Aida, La forza del destino, A Masked Ball, and the new production of Il trittico (HD transmission worldwide)
  • Closely associated with Opernhaus Zurich (including Aida, now on DVD),  La Scala, and the Vienna Staatsoper
  • Besides role debuts as Ernani (Deutsche Oper Berlin) and Don Carlo (Los Angeles Opera), has made recent appearances in Munich, Florence, Rome, Covent Garden, Washington, Paris and Verona


American mezzo-soprano JILL GROVE (Amneris – Jan. & Feb.)

  • In addition to Amneris (Canadian Opera Company this season, previously Dayton Opera), has also been heard as Verdi’s Ulrica/Un ballo in maschera (Minnesota Opera, CD),  Azucena/Il trovatore (Houston), Preziosilla/La forza del destino (San Francisco)
  • Has previously won critical acclaim at Lyric as Countess Geschwitz/Lulu (2008-09), Nurse/Die Frau ohne Schatten (2007-08), Erda/Ring cycle (2004-05, individual Ring operas in 2004-05 and 2003-04)
  • Earned considerable critical attention as Zita/Gianni Schicchi in Woody Allen’s opera directing debut, Los Angeles Opera
  • Has been very successful at the Met (Erda/Ring cycle, Auntie/Peter Grimes, the Omniscient Mussel/The Egyptian Helen, Magdalene/Die Meistersinger – the latter on DVD)


American baritone GORDON HAWKINS (Amonasro – Jan. & Feb.)

  • Lyric Opera debut as Porgy/Porgy and Bess (company premiere, 2008-09)
  • Triumphant at Washington National Opera as Alberich/Ring cycle, after previously WNO successes as Porgy, Alfio/Cavalleria rusticana and title role/Rigoletto
  • Closely associated with Seattle Opera, where among his seven roles have been Amonasro/Aida, Count di Luna/Il trovatore, title role/Macbeth, Tonio/Pagliacci
  • Other successes include Marcello/La bohème (Met debut), Renato/A Masked Ball (Montreal), Michele/Il tabarro (Düsseldorf), the four villains/The Tales of Hoffmann (Tokyo), Miller/Luisa Miller (Dallas), Rigoletto (Michigan Opera Theatre), George/Of Mice and Men (Houston Grand Opera, including CD)


American baritone QUINN KELSEY (Amonasro – March)

  • Ryan Opera Center alumnus – appeared with the company most recently as the Spirit Messenger/Die Frau ohne Schatten (2007-08)
  • Has triumphed as Amonasro at the Bregenz Festival and earlier this season at San Francisco Opera after previously SFO successes as Marcello/La bohème and Sharpless/Madama Butterfly
  • Made a significant impact in his debuts at London’s English National Opera (Zurga/The Pearl Fishers, premiere of new production) and Florence’s Teatro Comunale (Forester/The Cunning Little Vixen under Ozawa, with whom he previously sang that role at Japan’s Saito Kinen Festival)
  • Can be seen on DVD as Schaunard/La bohème (Metropolitan Opera debut role, 2008) and heard on CD in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (San Francisco Symphony under Tilson Thomas, Grammy winner)



Show Boat


American baritone NATHAN GUNN (Gaylord Ravenal)

  • Portrayed Ravenal at Carnegie Hall (semi-staged production by Francesca Zambello, 2008); previous successes at Lyric Opera: five roles including Zurga/The Pearl Fishers (2008-09), title role/The Barber of Seville (2007-08), Guglielmo/Così fan tutte (2006-07), title role/Billy Budd (debut, 2001-02)
  • Has created leading roles in many new operas, most recently Daron Aric Hagen’s Amelia (Seattle), André Previn’s Brief Encounter (Houston), Peter Eötvös’s Love and Other Demons (Glyndebourne)
  • Highly successful at the Metropolitan Opera (including central role of Clyde in world premiere of Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy) and the major houses of San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis; 2006 Beverly Sills Award winner
  • Has triumphed in a wide repertoire in Europe, including Count Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro (Aix-en-Provence, Brussels), Andrei/War and Peace (Opéra National de Paris, DVD), Marcello/La bohème (Glyndebourne), Harlekin/Ariadne auf Naxos (Covent Garden), and Ramiro/L’heure espagnole (Brussels)





American countertenor DAVID DANIELS (Title role)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Oberon/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2010-11), title role/Julius Caesar (2007-08), Orfeo/Orfeo ed Euridice (2005-06); Arsace/Partenope (debut, 2002-03), returns for Lichas/Hercules in March 2011
  • Regarded internationally as a trailblazer in his vocal category and the foremost countertenor of his generation; first countertenor to give a recital at Carnegie Hall
  • Has been hailed for his charismatic and vocally breathtaking portrayals at the Metropolitan Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, Covent Garden, La Scala, many other prestigious theaters internationally
  • Has amassed a large discography, including operas of Monteverdi and Handel, sacred works of Bach, Vivaldi, and Pergolesi, and seven solo discs





 The Tales of Hoffmann


American soprano ALYSON CAMBRIDGE (Antonia)   

  • Debuts this season include Polish National Opera in Warsaw (Violetta/La traviata) and Finland’s Savonlinna Opera Festival (Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni); also this season, appears with the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington) and gives a recital with tenor Matthew Polenzani for the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Successes include a tour of Japan as Frasquita/Carmen under Ozawa; appearances at the Metropolitan Opera (Thaïs, La rondine, Carmen, Jenůfa, Parsifal, The Elixir of Love); in La bohème, both Mimì (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Lyric Opera) and Musetta (Portland Opera, Washington National Opera); Susanna/The Marriage of Figaro (Atlanta Opera), Clara/Porgy and Bess (Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre)
  • Has earned critical praise for her 2010 debut CD, featuring William Bolcom’s song cycle From the Diary of Sally Hemings (she recently sang the piece’s New York premiere at Weill Recital Hall)
  • Future plans include Deutsche Oper Berlin debut as Donna Elvira


French stage director STÉPHANE ROCHE

  • Has directed Puccini’s Trittico and Britten’s Noye’s Fludde at Toulouse’s prestigious Théâtre du Capitole
  • Also associated with Paris’s Opéra Comique and Théâtre du Châtelet, the Opéra de Monte Carlo and the Aix-en-Provence and Athens festivals
  • For numerous productions has served as assistant director for Nicolas Joël (original director of Lyric’s Hoffmann) and has revived his productions of Eugene Onegin, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Boris Godunov, Die Meistersinger, Otello, and Manon for many major companies, including those of Trieste, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lisbon, and Seville




Lucia di Lammermoor


Italian conductor MASSIMO ZANETTI

  • Former m usic director of the Flemish Opera in Antwerp (1999-2002) and an acclaimed guest conductor of many major European companies, among them La Scala, Covent Garden, and the major houses of Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Zurich, Florence, Genoa, Parma, and Turin
  • Has appeared frequently in Dresden over the past decade – concerts with the Staatskapelle; new productions of Carmen, Otello, Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali, The Marriage of Figaro, and Norma, also revivals of Don Carlo, Otello, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly at the Semperoper
  • Other highlights include Berlin Staatsoper debut (Norma in 2002, followed by L’italiana in Algeri, Carmen, and La bohème); new productions of Luisa Miller in Zurich and for his debuts at both the Opéra National de Paris and Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper; Nabucco (Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Savonlinna Opera Festiva); Macbeth (San Francisco Opera);  Rigoletto, Nabucco (Parma Verdi Festival);  Il trovatore (Florence’s Teatro Comunale);  Norma (concert performances at Madrid’s Teatro Real)
  • Highlights of the current season include Un ballo in maschera (Liège’s Opéra Royal de Wallonie) and both L’elisir d’amore and Don Carlo (Berlin Staatsoper)
  • Orchestral engagements include many important ensembles internationally – for example, Czech Philharmonic; Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra; City of Birmingham Symphony and Hallé Orchestra; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; Finnish and Swedish Radio Orchestras; and Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra


American stage director CATHERINE MALFITANO

  • After more than 20 leading soprano roles at Lyric Opera and much other repertoire performed triumphantly throughout the world, has forged a new career as a director, beginning with Madama Butterfly (2005 at Central City Opera, where she had made her professional singing debut in 1972)
  • Highly successful new productions of Poulenc’s La voix humaine (Brussels’s Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie), Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street (Central City Opera), and Tosca (English National Opera, London)
  • Created new stagings for productions of Tosca (Florida Grand Opera) and Rigoletto (Washington National Opera)
  • Since 1998 has been teaching privately, giving master classes worldwide as well as her own special course entitled “Revealing the ActorSinger Within”



Boris Godunov


Italian bass FERRUCCIO FURLANETTO  (Boris Godunov)

  • Has triumphed as Boris at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala, and the major companies of Rome, Venice, Florence, and San Diego; next season repeats the role at Vienna Staatsoper and Palermo’s Teatro Massimo; beginning with his 1979 professional debut at La Scala (Macbeth under Abbado), has established himself as one of today’s most extraordinary singing actors, with immense successes in a varied repertoire ranging from The Marriage of Figaro to Pizzetti’s Murder in the Cathedral 
  • Current season highlights include La forza del destino (Vienna Staatsoper), Don Quichotte (Palermo), Don Carlo and Simon Boccanegra (both at the Metropolitan Opera, the former including HD transmission), and Ernani (Bologna); enjoys ongoing associations with the Met, Covent Garden, the Opéra National de Paris, the Salzburg Easter and summer festivals, Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Israeli Opera
  • Has starred in nine roles at San Diego Opera since 1985, including his only U.S. appearances to date as Boris and the title role/Don Quichotte 
  • In addition to an extensive discography, appears on DVD in two television films directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (Rigoletto, Così fan tutte), as well as stage productions of Don Carlo (Met, Covent Garden), The Barber of Seville (Covent Garden, Glyndebourne), Don Pasquale (La Scala), Don Giovanni (Cologne, Salzburg), I vespri siciliani (La Scala), Simon Boccanegra (Covent Garden), Eugene Onegin (Salzburg), and in Mozart’s Coronation Mass under Karajan (recorded before Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s in Rome)


Slovak tenor ŠTEFAN MARGITA  (Prince Shuisky)

  • Acclaimed in roles of Janáček – Laca/Jenůfa (a definitive portrayal heard at 13 companies to date, among them those of Berlin, Munich, Lyon, Florence, Prague, and Houston) and Luka Kuzmič/From the House of the Dead (similarly acclaimed at La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Aix-en-Provence Festival)
  • Has triumphed as Mussorgsky’s Shuisky (Santiago, Chile), Loge/Das Rheingold (San Francisco), and Edrisi/King Roger (Madrid); has also appeared at Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opéra National de Paris, the Vienna Volksoper, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, and the Savonlinna and Wexford festivals
  • Debuted at La Scala as Walther von der Vogelweide/Tannhäuser (2005), a portrayal reprised at San Francisco Opera (2007)
  • Appears on DVD in From the House of the Dead (Aix-en-Provence), War and Peace (Paris), and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (Prague Symphony Orchestra)


Russian stage director JULIA PEVZNER

  • After debuting at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre), made international operatic debut at The Dallas Opera with The Queen of Spades (2003)
  • Has since directed Boris Godunov at Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, also  Shostakovich’s The Nose at Boston Lyric Opera, Nabucco at the Greek National Opera, Eugene Onegin and La bohème at Virginia Opera
  • Began her directing career at the Israeli Opera, then was assistant director to Francesca Zambello – subsequently revived productions by Zambello at the Opéra National de Paris, Covent Garden, English National Opera, and the Bolshoi, among other companies; has staged several new Israeli operas (emigrated to Israel in 1991)
  • Highlights of her current season include Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins at Helikon Opera (Moscow) and Donizetti’s rarely heard Maria Padilla at Boston Lyric Opera



Ariadne auf Naxos


American baritone MATTHEW WORTH  (Harlequin)

  • Debuts this season at Valencia’s Palau de les Arts in leading role of Winston/Lorin Maazel’s 1984 (the composer conducting), Pittsburgh Opera as Rossini’s Figaro, Boston Lyric Opera as Demetrius/A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Also this season, continues his collaboration with Maazel as Tarqinius/The Rape of Lucretia (University of California at Berkeley), and sings Mozart’s Papageno at New Orleans Opera
  • Has won acclaim at Maazel’s Castleton Festival in Virginia (The Rape of Lucretia), Chicago Opera Theater (Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, title role/Britten’s Owen Wingrave), Central City Opera (Jupiter/Orpheus in the Underworld), Tanglewood Music Center (Guglielmo/Così fan tutte under James Levine), Carnegie Hall (three roles/Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath), Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Brahms’s German Requiem)
  • Sang leading role of William Shrike/Lowell Liebermann’s Miss Lonelyhearts (Juilliard Opera Center) and the Coachman/Stephen Hartke’s The Greater Good at Glimmerglass Opera (CD), both world premieres



The Magic Flute


American tenor CHARLES CASTRONOVO (Tamino  Dec. 6-Jan. 6)

  • Has rapidly become one of today’s most sought-after lyric tenors, with successes in starring roles at Covent Garden (Alfredo, Ferrando), Paris Opera (Nemorino, Fenton), Vienna Staatsoper (Nemorino, Tamino), Berlin Staatsoper (Alfredo, Ferrando, Don Ottavio), San Francisco Opera (Nadir, Tamino), Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice (Alfredo), Los Angeles Opera (Camille de Rosillon), and several leading summer festivals – Salzburg (Belmonte), Santa Fe (Ferrando), Savonlinna  (Don Ottavio)
  • This season’s highlights include a triumph creating the key role of Mario Ruoppolo/ Daniel Catán’s Il Postino opposite Plácido Domingo at Los Angeles Opera, also Don Giovanni (Munich), Roméo et Juliette (Dallas), The Elixir of Love (Nice)
  • Other important successes include his role debut as Tom Rakewell/The Rake’s Progress (Covent Garden) and his first Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor (Washington National Opera)
  • Began his professional career as a resident artist at Los Angeles Opera before entering the young-artist programs of San Francisco Opera (Merola program) and the Metropolitan Opera


American tenor ALEK SHRADER (Tamino   – Jan. 9-22)

  • Following European debut (2009-10 season) as Tamino in Bordeaux, earned impressive reviews last season in debut as Egeo/Simone Mayr’s rarely heard Medea in Corinto at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper
  • Began the current season at the Hollywood Bowl in the title role/Candide with the Los Angeles Philharmonic – other highlights include Belmonte and Tamino (return to Munich),  . . .Lindoro/L’italiana in Algeri (Bordeaux), Almaviva/The Barber of Seville (Toulouse), and Ferrando/Così fan tutte (Salzburg)
  • Triumphant at San Francisco Opera as Nemorino/L’elisir d’amore, at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s Il re pastore, and in the title role/Britten’s Albert Herring last summer at Santa Fe Opera (Sir Andrew Davis conducting Paul Curran’s new production)
  • First attracted significant attention as a Grand Finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s film “The Audition,” seen in movie theaters internationally


French baritone STÉPHANE DEGOUT (Papageno)

  • Since first attracting international attention as Papageno at the 1999 Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1999, has appeared in major roles at the Opéra National de Paris (La bohème, The Magic Flute, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die tote Stadt), the Berlin Staatsoper (Orfeo), Brussels’s Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Orfeo, Pelléas et Mélisande, Cosὶ fan tutte), Vienna’s Theater an der Wien (Orfeo, Pelléas), the Metropolitan Opera (The Magic Flute, Pelléas, Roméo et Juliette), Covent Garden (La Cenerentola), the Salzburg Festival (Così fan tutte), and Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Così fan tutte), among many other prestigious venues
  • Returns to the Metropolitan Opera later this season as Raimbaud/Rossini’s Le Comte Ory (company premiere, new production)
  • Highly successful on the concert platform – he made his New York recital debut at Lincoln Center in 2004, and in upcoming seasons will give recitals in Brussels, London and Amsterdam.
  • Can be seen on DVD in Werther, Cosὶ fan tutte, and Pelléas et Mélisande and heard on CD in La bohème


Austrian bass GÜNTHER GROISSBÖCK (Sarastro)

  • Since singing his first Sarastro at the Stadttheater in Klagenfurt, Austria (2002), has sung the role to great acclaim in Zurich, Berlin (Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper), Vienna (Staatsoper and Volksoper), Munich, Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Turin, and Los Angeles – is also scheduled to sing it at La Scala in the future
  • Beginning in 2003, was an ensemble member for four years at Opernhaus Zurich, singing Sparafucile/Rigoletto, the King/Aida, Publio/La clemenza di Tito, and Don Fernando/Fidelio, among many other roles
  • Major successes internationally include the Landgrave/Tannhäuser and Commendatore/Don Giovanni (both for Barcelona), Fafner/Das Rheingold (Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, San Francisco Opera), Zoroastro/Orlando and Prince Gremin/Eugene Onegin (both for Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper), Colline/La bohème (Washington National Opera), and the Hermit/Der Freischütz  (Salzburg Festival)
  • Also a versatile and successful concert singer, with appearances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Philharmonie in Berlin, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and Vienna’s Musikverein




Chinese soprano HUI  HE (Aida – March)

  • Closely associated with the title role/Aida, which she has sung in recent seasons at the Metropolitan Opera (debut, 2010), the Arena di Verona, Florence’s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Cologne Opera,  Los Angeles Opera, and in Munich, Valencia, and Rome
  • Other successes include the title role/Tosca (Hamburg, Parma, Torre del Lago Puccini Festival),  Lina/Stiffelio (Vienna Staatsoper), Liù/Turandot (Verona, Washington), title role/Ariadne auf Naxos (Athens), Maddalena/Andrea Chénier (Genoa), and title role/Madama Butterfly (Turin, Palermo, Munich, Vienna); appears regularly at Shanghai’s Grand Theater in roles including Aida and Santuzza/Cavalleria rusticana 
  • First attracted worldwide attention in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition (2000) and the 42nd International “Verdi Voices” competition in Italy (first prize, 2002)
  • Her solo disc of Verdi and Puccini arias is available on the Oehms Classics label


 Russian mezzo-soprano ANNA SMIRNOVA (Amneris – March)

  • Debuted at La Scala in 2007 as the Princess de Bouillon/Adriana Lecouvreur, has since returned for world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Teneke, Eboli/Don Carlo, and Amneris (under Barenboim) – has also toured with La Scala to Japan
  • Under Maazel, has performed the Verdi Requiem and Aida on tour to South America and in Europe
  • Made Metropolitan Opera debut earlier this season as Eboli (new production)
  • Other successes include Amneris (Deutsche Oper Berlin, Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera), Azucena/Il trovatore (Tel Aviv, Mehta conducting), Jane Seymour/Anna Bolena (role debut in Palermo), Eboli (Valencia), Princess de Bouillon (Deutsche Oper Berlin)



Show Boat


American soprano ALYSON CAMBRIDGE (Julie)

See The Tales of Hoffmann 


American bass MORRIS ROBINSON (Joe)

  • After graduation from The Citadel, entered the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and debuted at the Met in Fidelio – has since appeared there as Sarastro/The Magic Flute, the King/Aida, and other roles in Nabucco, Tannhäuser, Les Troyens, and Salome
  • Recently performed at Washington National Opera as Timur/Turandot, Los Angeles Opera as Sarastro/The Magic Flute (debut) and Fasolt/Das Rheingold, Cincinnati Opera as the Grand Inquisitor/Don Carlo; has also appeared in major roles at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Florida Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Opera Pacific, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Wolf Trap Opera
  • Prolific concert artist – has appeared at Carnegie Hall as part of Jessye Norman’s “Honor!”  Festival and in recital for the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, also at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and New York City’s  Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Appears on CD in a solo disc, “Going Home” (Decca label)


American soprano ANGELA RENÉE SIMPSON (Queenie)

  • Has appeared in Show Boat (production by Francesca Zambello) at Royal Albert Hall, London
  • Triumphant internationally as Serena/Porgy and Bess – Graz, Austria, in concert under Nikolaus Harnoncourt (released on CD by RCA), also at Paris’s Opéra Comique, La Scala, New York City Opera (PBS telecast), and the major houses of Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, and Miami
  • Sang featured role of Cilla/Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner opposite Denyce Graves in world-premiere production (Michigan Opera Theatre), repeated the role at Opera Carolina
  • Has appeared in concert at the Teatro Lirico (Cagliari), the Teatro San Carlo (Naples), and in Carnegie Hall debut with New York Pops Orchestra (Gershwin tribute, Andrew Litton conducting)





German soprano JULIA KLEITER (Almirena)   

  • Has rapidly established herself as one of today’s most prominent exponents of pre-1900 repertoire since 2004 operatic debut as Pamina in Robert Wilson’s Magic Flute production at the Opéra National de Paris – has reprised that role in Madrid, at the Edinburgh Festival (Abbado conducting), and Zurich (Harnoncourt conducting)
  • Other successes include Ilia/Idomeneo (Graz), Serpetta/La finta giardiniera (Zurich, Harnoncourt conducting), Celia/Lucio Silla (Salzburg Festival), Zdenka/Arabella (Zurich, Welser-Möst conducting), Marzelline/Fidelio (Ferrara, Baden-Baden and Madrid, Abbado conducting)
  • Concert  activities include appearances in Los Angeles with Rilling, Berlin with Abbado, Vienna with Muti, and on tour to South Korea with Harnoncourt – also song recitals at Lucerne Festival and Vienna’s Musikverein, among other prestigious venues
  • Among her CDs are Acis and Galatea, The Magic Flute (as Papagena, Abbado conducting); on DVD in Mozart’s Lucio Silla and Betulia liberata (both from Salzburg), La finta giardiniera, The Magic Flute (as Pamina), and Strauss’s Arabella (all three from Zurich)

South African soprano ELZA VAN DEN HEEVER (Armida)

  • A leading artist of Frankfurt Opera, has triumphed there as Elisabetta/Don Carlo, Elsa/Lohengrin, Giorgetta/Il tabarro, Donna Anna/Don Giovanni, and the title role/Anna Bolena
  • Other major successes include San Francisco Opera (as Donna Anna, while still a member of the company’s prestigious Adler Fellowship program), Dallas Opera (Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte), Santa Fe Opera (Donna Anna), Vienna’s Theater an der Wien (Agathe/Der Freischütz), Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux (Elettra/Idomeneo)
  • Created role of Mary Curtis/Philip Glass’s Appomattox (world premiere, San Francisco Opera)
  • Appears on CD in Grammy-winning recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8  (San Francisco Symphony, Tilson Thomas conducting)


Italian contralto SONIA PRINA (Goffredo)

  • Has scored many successes internationally in Handel, including Rinaldo (La Scala), Bradamante/Alcina and Cornelia/Giulio Cesare (both at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper), title role/Giulio Cesare (Lille, Genoa), title role/Tamerlano (Munich), title role/Amadigi (Naples), title role/Silla (Rome), Polinesso/Ariodante (San Francisco, Bacleona), and Bertarido/Rodelinda (London’s Barbican Centre); other noteworthy performances in Baroque works include Ottone/L’incoronazione di Poppea (Bologna), Penelope/Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Cremona), Messaggera and Speranza/Orfeo (Madrid, William Christie conducting)
  • Highly successful in bel canto repertoire, including Clarice/Rossini’s La pietra del paragone (Paris), title role/L’italiana in Algeri (Turin), Rosina/The Barber of Seville (La Scala, Chailly conducting), and Smeton/Anna Bolena (Bergano)
  • Has appeared with many major early-instrument ensembles, including the Accademia Bizantina, Il Giardino Armonico, and the Ensemble Matheus
  • Appears on CD in a solo recital of rare Vivaldi arias, also in Vivaldi’s La senna festeggiante and L’Olimpiade, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno and Rodelinda; and on DVD in Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba (Salzburg) and Rossini’s La pietra del paragone (Paris’s Théâtre  du Châtelet)


English countertenor IESTYN DAVIES (Eustazio)

  • Has ascended to the top rank of countertenors internationally with appearances as Ottone/L'incoronazione di Poppea (Zurich, Glyndebourne), Hamor/Jephtha (Welsh National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux), Arsace/ Partenope (New York City Opera), Oberon/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Houston Grand Opera), Apollo/Death in Venice (English National Opera)
  • Concert highlights include appearances at La Scala, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Zurich Tonhalle, London’s Barbican Centre, Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Center, and (for the BBC Proms) London’s Royal Albert Hall
  • Debut solo recording on the Wigmore Hall Live label; has also recorded Handel’s Flavio, Chandos Anthems, Messiah, Vivaldi’s Griselda and Bach’s Easter Oratorio
  • Appears on DVD in L’incoronazione di Poppea (Glyndebourne) and Dido and Aeneas (Covent Garden)


Italian bass-baritone LUCA PISARONI (Argante)

  • Rapidly rose to international prominence after debuting at age 26 at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic under Harnoncourt; major successes in Baroque opera include Tiridate/Radamisto (Santa Fe) and the title role/Cavalli’s rarely heard Ercole Amante (Netherlands Opera)
  • Has earned unanimous critical praise at Glyndebourne as Leporello/Don Giovanni and Guglielmo/Così fan tutte, also in his signature role of Mozart’s Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival, Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and Santa Fe Opera
  • Concert appearances for Salzburg’s Whitsun Festival, also with Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and others, with conductors including Muti, Rattle, Harnoncourt, Tilson Thomas; recitals at Ravinia Festival and at Carnegie Hall
  • Appears on DVDs from Salzburg (La clemenza di Tito, Don Giovanni), Glyndebourne (Così fan tutte), Paris (Figaro), and Amsterdam (Così, Figaro, Ercole Amante)


Evening performances of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2011-12 season begin at 7:30 p.m. sharp except for Opening Night (6:30 p.m.). Matinee performances begin at 2:00 p.m. sharp. Latecomers will not be seated until intermission.


Call 312-332-2244, ext. 5600 to purchase subscription tickets, or go to  Current subscribers will receive their renewal packages in the mail next week.


Also available on Lyric’s website is a 15-minute season preview with commentary and musical excerpts from each opera, which can be downloaded.


Photographs are available on request – please contact Carrie Napolilli, 312-827-5923, or Images can also be downloaded from this link: 

This link will allow you to download a zip file of all images from 2011-12. Please note that the link will expire in one week, on Feb. 7.


Lyric’s Wine Auction 2012 will take place on Friday, February10, 2012. The presenting sponsor is Northern Trust. For information about reservations and donations, please call the Lyric Opera Women’s Board office: 312-827-5681.