Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago rolls out bold new advertising campaign


Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, September 8, 2011


Lyric Opera of Chicago rolls out
bold advertising campaign for new season and new era, inviting
new audiences to explore grand opera

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new campaign of bold images and sassy, thought-provoking slogans will be splashed all over the city starting September 10. Anyone who thinks opera isn’t for them may well think again after seeing these messages.

Civic Opera House West Façade:
Long Live Passion 1
Long Live Passion 5

Long Live Passion 7

View more campaign images.

Working with the innovative advertising and communications agency Downtown Partners Chicago, Lyric shakes up the stereotypes with a campaign that presents opera as a thrilling live entertainment option that takes audiences where no screen can.

Lyric’s witty new ad campaign is funded though the Renée Fleming Initiative, which launched last December when the superstar soprano became Lyric’s first-ever creative consultant.  The campaign will continue through early 2012.

Ads will appear throughout the Chicago metropolitan area on Red Star Outdoor billboards and JCDecaux street furniture, as well as in selected print publications, and digitally via major internet advertising services. Web ads will take users to entertainingly offbeat videos.

The campaign launch date coincides with the “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert Saturday, September 10 at the Pritzker Pavilion, which annually attracts capacity crowds. Concertgoers will receive complimentary tote bags covered with the campaign’s sayings, under the tagline, “LONG LIVE PASSION.”

Images of Fleming and of Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director, are central to the campaign. Also featured are images of sultry soprano Alyson Cambridge, who has leading roles at Lyric this season in The Tales of Hoffmann and Show Boat; and “heartland heartthrob” baritone Nathan Gunn, the leading man in Show Boat.

 “Our approach is to convey the excitement of the opera experience in a way that removes perceptual barriers,” says Jim Schmidt, creative partner of Downtown Partners. “We’re inviting people in, using the language of today to speak about a classic art form. This makes Lyric more contemporary, accessible, and inclusive. We’re targeting attitudes more than demographics. The campaign reaches out to many audiences – lifelong learners, people who collect experiences, who are curious about culture, who participate in the arts, and who are music enthusiasts.”  

And clearly, it’s working on its producers. Schmidt adds, “Our whole team started going to the opera last season, and we all listen to opera on Sirius. It’s a riveting art form – there’s great drama in these eternal stories of love and betrayal that have stood the test of time.”

The campaign tagline comes from focus groups’ responses to several prospective themes, Schmidt says. “More than any other phrase, ‘LONG LIVE PASSION’ resonated with opera lovers and with those who have never experienced opera,” he notes. “It was the clear favorite. Passion is the essence of opera and of Lyric – the passion of the composers, the passion of the artists, the passion of the audience. You don’t merely see or hear opera, you feel it. And that’s because of the passion all involved bring to it. The line “Long Live Passion” is a celebration of opera at its finest as well as an invitation to those who’ve not attended a Lyric performance to come experience what makes opera so unique.”

“Lyric Opera of Chicago is a successful company that wants to be more successful,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director designate. “This campaign reaches out to a new and broader audience creatively and entertainingly. We are grateful for our group of donors to the Renée Fleming Initiative who made this possible.”

“It’s an engaging, tongue-in-cheek campaign that speaks to the power of opera,” says Fleming. “It’s bound to pique people’s curiosity about what goes on inside the Civic Opera House. It helps debunk some of the stereotypes about our art form and encourages people to come and experience opera for themselves.”

Coming soon to billboards and bus shelters near you…and magazines, newspapers, and digital screens, too.