Lyric Opera of Chicago

Anne Schwanewilms withdraws from Lyric Opera of Chicago revival of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO due to bronchial infection

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 9, 2010


German soprano Anne Schwanewilms
withdraws from Lyric Opera of Chicago revival
of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO due to bronchial infection  

American soprano Amanda Majeski portrays Countess Almaviva
at Lyric March 9 and 12

American soprano Nicole Cabell will perform the role of the Countess
for the remaining six performances, March 15 - 27



German soprano Anne Schwanewilms has withdrawn from eight remaining performances in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current revival of The Marriage of Figaro Feb. 28-Mar. 27 due to a stubborn bronchial infection, and has returned home on her doctor’s advice, Lyric’s general director William Mason announced today.

Schwanewilms sang the role of Countess Almaviva in the Mozart masterpiece for the opening performance Feb. 28 and subsequent performances Mar. 3 and 6.

American soprano Amanda Majeski portrays the Countess at Lyric Tues., Mar. 9 and Fri., Mar. 12.  She is a first year member of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and is scheduled to portray the Countess at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis this summer.

American soprano Nicole Cabell will portray the Countess for the final six performances at Lyric, March 15 through 27. Currently portraying Musetta in the Metropolitan Opera production of La Bohème, Cabell has been graciously released by that company, Mason said.

“We deeply appreciate Ms. Schwanewilms’ three valiant performances and offer all best wishes for her swift recovery,” said Mason. “We are fortunate that Ms. Majeski, a current member of our Ryan Opera Center and Ms. Schwanewilims’ understudy, is able to step in with confidence.

“We are additionally grateful that Ms. Cabell, a former member of the Ryan Opera Center who just starred as a brilliant Adina here, is available to sing the final six performances of the Countess, having been graciously released to do so by our friends at the Metropolitan Opera.” 

Nicole Cabell, the 2005 Winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff and Decca recording artist, is fast becoming one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos of today.  Her solo debut album, “Soprano,” was named “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone magazine and has received high critical acclaim and several prestigious awards: the 2007 Georg Solti Orphée d’Or from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique and an Echo Klassik Award in Germany.
In June 2009 Cabell made her company and role debut as the Countess with Cincinnati Opera:
“She effortlessly projected an aura of resignation with occasional bursts of fire, displaying a voice of richness and enormous beauty. Her deeply felt ‘Dove sono’ was a showstopping moment, in which she conveyed her suffering and hope with believable emotion.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
“Cabell's sensuous, dark soprano voice flowed with ease, delicately delineating the long lines of her two arias while projecting a gently restrained radiant personality weighed down with sorrow.” (Opera News)
Cabell’s current season includes her recent return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Adina in L’elisir d’amore, followed by her return to the Metropolitan Opera for Musetta in La Bohème (a role she will also sing at the end of the season for her debut at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires). She will also make her New Orleans Opera debut in one of her favorite roles, Gounod’s Juliette.  Earlier this season she made her concert debut with the Cleveland Orchestra and its music director, Franz Welser-Möst as the soprano soloist in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem; and returned to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Markus Stenz.  Cabell’s other concert engagements this season include Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, first with the Singapore Symphony and John Nelson, then with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Antonio Pappano in Rome. Future engagements include returns in leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, plus opera debuts in Cologne, Montreal and Tokyo.

Amanda Majeski is a first-year Ryan Opera Center member and native of Gurnee, Illinois. She will portray Mozart’s Countess when she returns to Opera Theatre of St. Louis in June. In 2008 Majeski made her professional operatic debut as Lisa/La sonnambula with Michigan Opera Theatre, and in 2009 appeared as Vitellia/La clemenza di Tito at Chicago Opera Theater (debut) and Musetta/La bohème at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (Debut). Before joining the Ryan Opera Center the soprano completed graduate studies at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, where she portrayed Erisbe/L’Ormindo, Magda/La rondine, The Woman with the Cake Box/Postcard from Morocco, Nuria/Ainadamar, the title role/Iolanta, and Elle/La voix humaine. She has participated in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program (Donna Anna/Don Giovanni), the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute. Concert engagements include Handel’s Solomon and Messiah (Chicago’s Apollo Chorus), Dvorak’s Te Deum (Elmhurst Symphony), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Richmond Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center). Majeski has also been featured with the Curtis Symphony, the Chautauqua Institution, and the Peninsula Music Festival. She made her Weill Hall recital debut in 2008 and is active on the roster of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. A winner of the 2009 George London Foundation Awards, Majeski is also a first-prize winner of the 2008 Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition (Junior Division) and a recipient of a 2007 Sara Tucker Study Grant. She has also received awards from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Bel Canto Foundation of Rhode Island, Chicago NATS, The Bel Canto Foundation of Chicago, and Opera Index. Majeski made her Lyric debut as a Peasant Girl in the current revival of Le nozze di Figaro.

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO /  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (in Italian with projected English translations)  8 remaining performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Feb. 9, 12 (mat.), 15, 18 (mat.), 20, 22, 24, 27

Lyric Opera has presented The Marriage of Figaro in eight different seasons previously since 1957, most recently during the 2003-04 season. “La folle journée” (“The Crazy Day”) was the subtitle of Beaumarchais’ comedy on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart based his opera, one of the greatest creations in the entire repertoire. It centers on a single frantic day in the life of Aguas Frescas, the castle of Count Almaviva (baritone Mariusz Kwiecien). The Count has designs on Susanna (soprano Danielle de Niese), maid of the Countess (sopranos Amanda Majeski Mar. 9 & 12 and Nicole Cabell Mar. 15 - 27). Susanna is to be married this very day to the count’s valet, Figaro (bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen), which doesn’t stand in the way of the Count’s keeping an assignation with her. But he reckons without Figaro and Susanna who – aided by the Countess – conspire to teach the philandering Count a lesson. Others figuring prominently in the plot are the amorous young page, Cherubino (mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato); an older couple, Dr. Bartolo (bass Andrea Silvestrelli) and Marcellina (mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow), who turn out to be Figaro’s parents, to his amazement; Susanna’s devious music master, Basilio (tenor Keith Jameson); and Antonio, the Count’s gardener (baritone Philip Kraus).

The production is conducted by Sir Andrew Davis (Feb. 28, Mar. 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 20) and Leonardo Vordoni (debut/Mar. 15, 22, 24, 27). The original production is by Sir Peter Hall; Herbert Kellner is stage director, with sets and costumes by John Bury and lighting by Duane Schuler. 

The Dr. and Mrs. Edwin J. DeCosta and the Walter E. Heller Foundation Production. Revival made possible by Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross.