From Heaven to Hell, and Several Points Between!! - Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago 55th Season – From Heaven to Hell and Several Points Between!!

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Monday, June 29, 2009


Lyric Opera of Chicago 55th Season –
From Heaven to Hell, and Several Points Between!!
Lyric’s special events, benefits, and lectures
help audiences get the most out of their opera experiences


What a way to see the world – and beyond – from your opera seat!

Two productions in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 55th season, Gounod’s Faust and Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, explore the fabled “deal with the devil” legend, traversing Heaven, Hell, and assorted earthly locales.

Puccini’s Tosca goes behind the closed doors of power and passion in 19th-century Rome. Verdi’s Ernani transports us to Renaissance Spanish castles, crypts, and outlaw encampments. Janáček’s Katya Kabanova unfolds on the banks of Russia’s Volga River. Lehár’s The Merry Widow effervesces in early-20th-century Parisian ballrooms, while Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love pours out its heartfelt charms in a small Italian village. To close the season, Mozart’s sublime The Marriage of Figaro plays out its delightful “Upstairs-Downstairs” entanglements in the chambers and grounds of an 18th-century castle in Seville.

To help audiences make the most of the coming season, Lyric Opera of Chicago offers an array of concerts, lectures, tours, galas, and other special events early September through early April.

Please take note of these highlights for your season-preview coverage and/or calendar listings. Photos available on request. Additional information at


Friday, September 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park
For the ninth time, Lyric Opera of Chicago will present a star-studded free outdoor concert as its pre-season gift to the city. Enjoy a grand night of singing with some of opera’s most famous stars – many of them featured in Lyric Opera’s amazing 2009-10 season. Deborah Voigt, James Morris, Vladimir Galouzine, Ana María Martínez, Joseph Kaiser, Kyle Ketelsen, Lucas Meachem, and more in a glorious concert dedicated to the men and women of the United States Armed Services. Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra. The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts airs this concert live on 98.7WFMT and starting at 7:15 p.m. Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Monday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m.
Season Preview Concert
New subscribers, Chapter members, and $500+ donors are invited to attend a musical preview of the upcoming season performed by members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, with a season overview by Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg. Ardis Krainik Theatre, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., by invitation only. For more information, call (312) 827-5657.

Saturday, September 26: Doors open at 5 p.m. for Gala reception; performance at 6 p.m.
Tosca Opening Night Gala Benefit
Flowers cascade from every corner. Gorgeous gowns are everywhere. The lobby’s awash in rose-colored light and electricity is in the air! No event on the entire Chicago social calendar matches the heady excitement of Opening Night at Lyric. Complimentary hors d’oeuvre and sweets before the performance and during intermissions. Tosca performance begins at 6:00 p.m., starring Deborah Voigt, James Morris, and Vladimir Galouzine
            Opening Night Gala Benefit, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., $75 to $600 (does not include Opera Ball). To purchase tickets for the Opening Night Gala Benefit, go to, or call (312) 827-5600. 
            The Opera Ball immediately follows the performance at Hilton Chicago’s Grand Ballroom, 720 S. Michigan Ave., $475. Cocktail reception, Grand March presentation of the evening’s artists, seated dinner, and dancing to the Stu Hirsh Orchestra. To purchase tickets for the Opera Ball, please go to, or call (312) 827-5681.

Saturday, October 10, 8 a.m. – midnight
Tune in to 98.7WFMT for Lyric Opera’s 30th annual live radio fundraiser for conversations with Lyric stars and artistic staff on-air. Phone in your pledges and make purchases from the stunning selection of exclusive Lyric Opera merchandise, autographed items, and gift certificates that are offered via Lyric’s OPERATHON catalog, available in  September. All proceeds support Lyric’s education and community-engagement programs for children, adults, and seniors. For more information and to obtain a catalog, call (312) 827-5658.

Saturday, February 6, at 6:30 p.m.
Fantasy of the Opera
Celebrate the 26th annual Fantasy of the Opera benefit at the Civic Opera House, organized by the Guild Board of Directors, with exceptional restaurant tasting stations, a seated dinner, silent auction, raffle, cabaret, and dancing! Fantasy is a perfect mid-winter revel and Lyric fundraiser, and one of Chicago’s liveliest black-tie events. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., $400, reservations required. For more information, call Lyric Opera’s Guild Board office at (312) 827-5656.

Sunday, March 7, 14, and 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Guild Board Backstage Tours
The backstage at Lyric Opera of Chicago is open to the public just three times a year! You don't want to miss this opportunity to see the inner workings of one of today's premier professional opera companies. The magic behind the scenes reveals itself in a fascinating journey backstage. Tour stops include Wardrobe Department, Wigs & Make-up Department, Scenery Handling Facility, Armory Room, Props Room, Orchestra Pit and Main Stage. Tours depart every seven minutes, lasting approximately two hours. Backstage Tour $35, box lunch available for $12, cash bar. Premium Tour $150 (departs at 11:00 a.m. and includes valet parking, photograph on Lyric Opera's main stage, parting gift, seated gourmet lunch in the Malott Room with a Lyric Opera insider). Group Tours of 15 or more available at a discounted price. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., reservations required. For more information call the Guild Board office: (312) 827-5656.

Saturday, April 3, 7:30 p.m.
Rising Stars in Concert
Ensemble members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago will conclude a spectacular year of study and performance with an end-of-season concert with orchestra for Lyric Opera donors. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., by invitation only. For more information call Lyric Opera Donor Records: (312) 827-5689.


Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg, moderates eight discussion sessions with singers, directors, and conductors from the 2009-10 season. First session (Tosca – Sept. 22) held in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr.; all other sessions held at UBS Tower Ballroom, 1 N. Wacker Dr. (directly across from the Civic Opera House). $16 per session, all eight for $104. Call the Education Department for more information: (312) 827-5912.

Tuesday, September 22, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – Tosca*
Join stars Deborah Voigt/Tosca and James Morris/Scarpia for an absorbing discussion on their roles in this most dramatic of Puccini’s operas. *Limited availability.

Tuesday, October 6, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – Faust
Maestro Andrew Davis joins his Faust and Marguerite (Piotr Beczala and Ana María Martínez) to explore this popular French operatic take on the famous Faust legend.

Wednesday, October 28, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – Ernani
Sondra Radvanovsky, reigning Verdi soprano, and José María Condemi, director of Lyric’s new production, discuss the rarely heard masterpiece that contains all the Verdi touchstones: searing drama, soaring solos, scintillating ensembles, and those rousing Verdi choruses.

Tuesday, November 17, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – Katya Kabanova
Katya Kabanova, Janáček’s opera of forbidden love in a provincial Russian village, stars Karita Mattila as the vulnerable heroine. Join her and debuting conductor Markus Stenz for an in-depth look at a tour-de-force opera by the “Czech Puccini.”

Tuesday, December 1, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – The Merry Widow
Political intrigue, romance, comedy, and a score chock full of charming music – it’s all there in Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow. Stars Elizabeth Futral, Roger Honeywell and conductor Emmanuel Villaume share their thoughts on arguably the most popular and delightful operetta of all time.

Tuesday, January 19, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – The Elixir of Love
Lyric general director William Mason says Elixir is one of his “desert island” operas. In other words, it’s a not-to-be-missed classic – and so is this Discovery Session with Nicole Cabell (Adina) and Giuseppe Filianoti (Nemorino) discussing this bel canto feast.

Tuesday, February 16, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – The Damnation of Faust
Sir Andrew Davis calls it “an opera of the mind.” It is that and much more in this new production, which comes alive with projections and technical wizardry of which Berlioz could only dream. Join stars Susan Graham/Marguerite and Paul Groves/Faust, Maestro Davis, and director Stephen Langridge for a stimulating discussion of Berlioz and his most adventuresome work.

Monday, March 1, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discovery Series – The Marriage of Figaro
It’s one of the great works of Western culture, and Lyric’s cast is second to none. Do not miss this Discovery Series session with the delightfully engaging Danielle de Niese/Susanna, Kyle Ketelsen/Figaro, and English National Opera music director Edward Gardner/conductor.

Free 30-minutes lectures by opera experts before every performance except Sept. 26. Ardis Krainik Theatre, Civic Opera House. Ticket for that date’s opera performance must be shown for lecture admission. Open seating on main floor. Call the Education Department for more information: (312) 827-5912.

Wednesday, September 30 through Tuesday, October 13; Sunday, January 10 through Friday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Tosca lectures by 98.7WFMT radio host Carl Grapentine before performances Sept. 30, Oct. 3, 7*, 10, 13, Jan. 10*, 15, 19, 22*, 25, 29. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Monday, October 5 through Saturday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Faust lectures by Jesse Gram, Lyric’s audience education manager, before performances Oct. 5, 8*, 11*, 14, 17, 20, 23*, 30, Nov. 3, 7. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, October 27 through Monday, November 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Ernani lectures by William Mason, Lyric’s general director, and Nicholas Ivor Martin, Lyric’s director of operations, before performances Oct. 27, 31, Nov. 5*, 8*, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23. *Pre-matinee lecture starts at 1 p.m.

Sunday, November 22 through Saturday, December 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Katya Kabanova lectures by Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg, before performances Nov. 22*, 25, 28, Dec. 1, 4, 7, 12. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Saturday, December 5 through Saturday, January 16 at 6:30 p.m.
The Merry Widow lectures by Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg, before performances Dec. 5, 9, 11, 14, 16*, 18, 20*, Jan. 5, 9, 14*, 16. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Saturday, January 23 through Monday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m.
The Elixir of Love lectures by Jesse Gram, Lyric’s audience education manager, and Jack Zimmerman, Lyric’s subscriber relations manager, before performances Jan. 23, 27*, 30, Feb. 2, 5*, 7*, 10, 13, 19, 22. *Pre-matinee lecture starts at 1 p.m.

Saturday, February 20 through Wednesday, March 17 at 6:30 p.m.
The Damnation of Faust lectures by music critic Wynne Delacoma before performances Feb. 20, 24, Mar. 2, 5, 8, 13*, 17. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Sunday, February 28 through Saturday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.
The Marriage of Figaro lectures by 98.7WFMT radio host Carl Grapentine before performances Feb. 28*, Mar. 3*, 6, 9, 12*, 15, 18*, 20, 22, 24, 27. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert lead sponsor: Deutsche Bank. Cosponsors: The Chicago Community Trust, AT&T, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, and Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson with additional support from an Anonymous donor, Rhoda and Henry Frank, and The Music Performance and Film Funds.

Season Preview Concert and Reception sponsored by Audrey Love Charitable Foundation.

Opening Night Gala Benefit sponsored by Aon Corporation.

Opera Ball Reception sponsored by Liz Stiffel.

Opera Ball cosponsored by Illinois Tool Works Inc. and Northern Trust.

OPERATHON 2009 cosponsored by American Airlines, Official Airline of Lyric Opera of Chicago, and William Blair & Company, LLC.

Guild Board Backstage Tours sponsored by Robert W. Baird & Company, Inc.

Rising Stars in Concert lead sponsor: Donna Van Eekeren.

Discovery Series sponsored by The Bernard and Marjorie Mitchell Family Foundation. Katya Kabanova program made possible in part by a grant from the Katherine A. Abelson Educational Endowment Fund.

Pre-Opera Lectures sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Edward O. Boshell, Jr., and Kip Kelley.


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