Introducing Blue to Chicago

Community programs announced around Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson's Blue



CHICAGO (2/14/20) – Lyric Opera of Chicago will present the Chicago premiere of the new opera, Blue, by Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and NAACP Theatre Award-winning librettist Tazewell Thompson, this June at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. It places timely issues at the forefront of modern opera and invites audiences to the emotional epicenter of their impact.

There will be six performances of Blue starting June 19, 2020, at the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E Grand Ave., Navy Pier, Chicago. Tickets start at $35 and are available now at lyricopera.org/blue or by calling 312.827.5600.

Blue tells the story of an African American couple in Harlem who are anticipating the birth of their firstborn, a son, with both hope and fear. As the baby grows into a young man, the mother worries for his future and the father tries to prepare his son for the realities of 21st-century America, while wrestling with his own identity as a police officer. When their deepest fears come true, the family is forced to navigate a devastating reality seeking answers and support from their church and community.

The production is the latest in Lyric's commitment to contemporary works in a series that has included critically acclaimed productions An American Dream (2019), Fellow Travelers (2018), Charlie Parker's YARDBIRD (2017), and The Property (2015).

Lyric invites communities across Chicago to join ongoing conversations addressing topics in Blue through a series of public events. On Thursday, February 13, Lyric held a Community Welcome Reception at the Parkway Ballroom for partners, prominent city cultural figures, and the general public to learn more about Blue. At this intimate evening of food, friends, and music, attendees were the first to hear about upcoming community programs and enjoy a performance by mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, who will play The Mother in Blue.

"Blue is a special opera for us," said Crystal Coats, interim director of Lyric Unlimited and director of community programs at Lyric. "It's an opportunity to shine a light on the very real effects of racism in America, not just in our separate communities, but together as a city. We hope these programs add to the discussion by providing multiple views into this issue currently impacting Chicago."

Upcoming opportunities to participate include:

Thoughts on Parenthood - An Interactive Arts Project
Through February 28
Thoughts on Parenthood is an interactive arts project examining the unique experience of parenthood. In partnership with activist and photographer Tonika Johnson, Lyric seeks to connect with communities across the city of Chicago, gathering personal stories of parents – their greatest wishes, biggest needs, and proudest moments. Selected stories will be featured on Lyric's website starting in May.

Learn more about this interactive arts project or participate in the survey here.

Roll Call: Policing in Chicago's Black Community, Then and Now
Rebuild Foundation Stony Island Arts Bank (6760 S Stony Island Ave)
In partnership with WTTW and its Firsthand:Gun Violence initiative
Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 pm
Join us as we discuss the evolving relationship between the Chicago Police Department and Chicago's Black community. Featuring Howard Saffold, retired CPD officer and founder of the Afro-American Patrolmen's League; and Sergeant Jermaine Harris of the Chicago Police Department's Community Policing Division. This free panel discussion will be moderated by Chicago Tribune reporter Lolly Bowean, and the event is co-sponsored by WTTW's documentary series, Firsthand.

To learn more about Blue, its community programs, or how to get involved, visit https://www.lyricopera.org/blue.

From: Lisa Middleton, Vice President, Marketing & Communications

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, music director designate Enrique Mazzola, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration and evolving learning opportunities, ever more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming and artists - magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

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Photos: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Production Sponsors


GENE AND JEAN STARK
ANONYMOUS DONOR
EISEN FAMILY FOUNDATION
MARY PATRICIA GANNON
VIRGINIA AND GARY GERST
ERIC AND DEB HIRSCHFIELD
LAUTER McDOUGAL CHARITABLE FUND
MARY STOWELL
DRS. WALTER AND ANNE-MARIE BRUYNINCKX
DEBBIE K. WRIGHT
A co-production of The Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.