Lyric Opera of Chicago

An open letter from David T. Ormesher, Chairman of the Board

Dear All,

As I reflect on our 2015/16 season, I am struck again by how far we have come in our first 61 years and, more specifically, by what has been achieved in the five years we have been led by our acclaimed general director – and now president & CEO – Anthony Freud. 

Anthony came to Lyric with a vision to reimagine the artistic possibilities and operational needs of a grand opera company. Together, we have solidified Lyric’s reputation as one of the world’s premier opera companies, engaged with our community in new ways and taken additional steps to maximize our financial resources. There are many examples of our commitment to artistic excellence, relevance and fiscal stewardship:

  • Year after year, Lyric has delivered artistically thrilling performances, many that have challenged audiences to think about society in different ways. Our artists, led by Anthony, our music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, are among the best in the world, and we are proud to be a destination for world-class talent as we continue to build our repertoire of grand opera. We also remain enthusiastic about popular initiatives such as the American Musical Theater Initiative that help us to reach new audiences while also diversifying our revenue sources. 

  • Projects supported by our Lyric Unlimited community engagement and education initiative – which we launched just 5 years ago – reached nearly 100,000 people last year. These projects allow us to engage our community in fresh and relevant ways, build relationships with new partners who value our commitment to reaching beyond the traditional walls of the opera house, and to advance our artform. 

  • Funds raised through our Breaking New Ground campaign have allowed us to begin a longterm priority of modernizing our stage equipment and infrastructure. We have begun to modernize our lighting, rigging capabilities, hoists, motors, lifts, turntable and projectors to make our stage more adaptable to the demands of modern productions and enable us to share more productions with fellow companies. These near-term investments ensure we are able to present cutting-edge performances. Modernization of the stage will also allow us to ultimately lower production costs by eliminating the need for the time-consuming fixes and temporary work-arounds our stage crews have been implementing for years. 

Indeed, I am incredibly proud of everything the Lyric team – including our artists, Board members, staff, donors and partners – has achieved over the past year. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the team to build on this foundation to create an even stronger Lyric for the future.

With sincere gratitude to all who have contributed to our journey, 

David T. Ormesher
Chairman of the Board