New production and programming additions to Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020/21 Season

Lyric announces more programming to continue the reimagined 2020/21 Season

CHICAGO (2/4/2021)Lyric Opera of Chicago continues to expand its 2020/21 Season with new offerings and virtual performances. Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO, announced additional new programming today that will feature the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Chorus, Lyric’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, and well-known artists from around the world. 

“As we begin the second half of our 2020/21 Season, we are excited to continue to make Lyric programs accessible to audiences everywhere through these creative efforts,” says Freud. “We are eager to return to presenting full productions for live audiences at the Lyric Opera House, and in the meantime we are delighted that during the next couple of months, Lyric will generate some highly innovative, entertaining, and informative programs.”

A few previously announced programs will premiere digitally in the coming weeks: 

  • The Creating The Factotum documentary will be made available to the public on Lyric’s YouTube channel and website starting on Tuesday, February 9. This documentary follows the development and recent music workshop of The Factotum, a new opera inspired by Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, created by acclaimed baritone and Ryan Opera Center alumnus Will Liverman and DJ/recording artist K-RicoLyric has also committed to continuing to support The Factotum in its next stage of development and to bringing it to the stage in a future Lyric season.

  • Sole e Amore (Sun and Love) will highlight beautiful lesser-known songs with some familiar melodies by beloved Italian opera composers, including Verdi, Puccini, and Bellini. The compelling program is created and presented by Lyric’s Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola, engagingly directed by Matthew Ozawa, and stars the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, with Maestro Mazzola at the piano for most of the selections. Sole e Amore will premiere on Lyric’s Facebook and YouTube channels on Sunday, February 21 at 6:00pm CT.

  • Experience the reimagining of the final chapter of Wagner's epic Ring cycle in the Chicago premiere of Twilight: Gods. This drive-through opera, directed and conceived by Yuval Sharon with new narrative poetry by Chicago artist avery r. young, will be presented on April 28, 30, and May 2. Limited tickets will go on sale in late February and additional details about this unique performance will be announced soon.

Lyric’s new spring offerings and experiences, all of which will be free for audiences around the world, include:

  • The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Gala: Magical Music Around the World — This annual event, celebrating the talent of the world-renowned Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, will be adapted to the virtual space this year. The Ensemble will be joined by alumni from around the globe sharing how their careers have benefitted from the exceptional training and experiences provided by Lyric’s artist-development program. Conceived and hosted by Ryan Opera Center Music Director and Grammy Award winner Craig Terry, with additional accompaniment from the Ryan Opera Center’s Ensemble pianist Chris Reynolds, this virtual concert will be similar in format to Lyric’s virtual season opener, For the Love of Lyric, with a presentation reserved for sponsors of the Ryan Opera Center Gala, followed by a presentation made available to the general public. (Premiering Sunday, March 21 at 6:00 pm CT on Lyric’s YouTube and Facebook channels.)

  • Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola — This previously announced program will now be part of Lyric’s spring schedule. Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola leads world-renowned principal artists and Lyric favorites—soprano Tamara Wilson/Odabella, tenor Matthew Polenzani/Foresto, baritone Quinn Kelsey/Ezio, and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn/Attila (the latter three are Ryan Opera Center alumni)—in a performance of duo piano-accompanied excerpts from the work, replacing a fully staged production of Attila that was originally programmed as part of Lyric’s early Verdi series this season. This performance event will also feature members of the Lyric Opera Chorus, under the direction of Chorus Master Michael Black, and original commentary from Maestro Mazzola. (Premiering Sunday, April 11 at 2:00 pm CT on Lyric’s YouTube and Facebook channels.)

  • The Sonata SessionsIn this digital series, Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola will lead an expanded string ensemble featuring members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra in performances of all six of Rossini’s String Sonatas, originally written for a string quartet. (Premiering weekly this March/April on Lyric’s YouTube and Facebook channels.)

  • The Great Verdi Chorus Showdown — Lyric is excited to engage our audiences in some friendly opera competition for this stirring digital series! The three maestri of Lyric—Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola, and Chorus Master Michael Black—will each conduct two grand Verdi choruses, performed by the Lyric Opera Chorus, recorded from the safety of the artists’ homes. All pieces will be presented on Lyric’s website for online audiences to vote for their favorite. Each week of the competition, Lyric will share background through social media and email about a different chorus selection. Choruses are chosen from La traviata, Il trovatore, Otello, Luisa Miller, Nabucco, and Macbeth—with which Lyric will open the 2021/22 Season. (Premiering this April on Lyric’s website.)

These programs introduce a wide variety of new music to Lyric audiences, and offer more intimate musical experiences. The artistry of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Lyric Opera Chorus, and Ryan Opera Center Ensemble continue to be a part of many virtual concerts, programs, and offerings at Lyric this season.

Lyric audiences also have ongoing opportunities to get to know Enrique Mazzola this spring. “Projects like the Attila Highlights in Concert, Sole e Amore, and The Sonata Sessions are true passion projects of mine,” says Lyric’s music director designate. “While it would be ideal to present these works to live audiences in the magnificent Lyric Opera House, the digital nature and behind-the-scenes looks of these programs offer audiences around the globe a more intimate chance to hear and see the beauty of Lyric and the talents of our company.”

For more details on these upcoming Lyric projects and more digital content, visit lyricopera.org/shows/upcoming/.

Production Details

Production details are offered in calendar order.

These projects are generously made possible by Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel, Patricia A. Kenney and Gregory J. O'Leary, Susan and Robert Morrison, and an Anonymous Donor.

Creating The Factotum | Tuesday, February 9 release

Available on demand through Lyric’s YouTube channel
Documenting the creative process of a newly developed opera, The Factotum
Presented by The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center
Music and libretto/text by Will Liverman** and K-Rico
Story Consultant: Mary Birnbaum
Music Consultant: Craig Terry
Film documentary by Raphael Nash

** Ryan Opera Center alumnus

Creating The Factotum is generously made possible by Lead Sponsor Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow with additional support from the Eisen Family Foundation

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Sole e Amore (Sun and Love) | Sunday, February 21 at 6:00pm CT premiere

Available on demand through Lyric’s Facebook and YouTube channels after premiere
Presented by
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center
Music Director, Host, and Principal Pianist: Enrique Mazzola
Directed by Matthew Ozawa
Featuring members of the 2020/21 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble
Performed in Italian with English closed captions

Sole e Amore is generously made possible by Lyric’s Guild Board of Directors with additional support from the Eisen Family Foundation.

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The Sonata Sessions | Premiering weekly in March and April

Available on demand through Lyric’s Facebook and YouTube channels
Composed by
Gioachino Rossini
Conductor: Enrique Mazzola
Featuring members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra

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Ryan Opera Center Gala: Magical Music Around the World | Sunday, March 21 at 6:00 pm CT premiere

Available on demand through Lyric’s Facebook and YouTube channels after premiere
Presented by
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center
Music Director, Host, and Principal Pianist: Craig Terry
Additional Pianist: Chris Reynolds
Featuring members of the 2020/21 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble
Performed in multiple languages with English closed captions

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Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola | Sunday, April 11 at 2:00 pm CT premiere

Available on demand through Lyric’s Facebook and YouTube channels after premiere
Composed by
Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Enrique Mazzola
Cast:

Odabella: Tamara Wilson
Foresto: Matthew Polenzani**
Ezio: Quinn Kelsey**
Attila: Christian Van Horn**

Featuring members of the Lyric Opera Chorus
Assistant Conductors: William C. Billingham and Jerad Mosbey
Chorus Master: Michael Black
Performed in Italian with English closed captions

** Ryan Opera Center alumni

Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola is generously made possible by the NIB Foundation and Julie and Roger Baskes.

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The Great Verdi Chorus Showdown | Premiering in April at lyricopera.org

Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Enrique Mazzola, and Michael Black
Assistant Conductor: Noah Lindquist
Featuring members of the Lyric Opera Chorus and Lyric Opera Orchestra
Performed in Italian with English closed captions

The Great Verdi Chorus Showdown is generously made possible by Mary Patricia Gannon.

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Twilight: Gods

3 drive-through performances, April 28, 30, and May 2, 2021
A new interpretation of Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner
Concept, direction, and English translation by Yuval Sharon
Production Design: PXT Studios (Jason Thompson and Kaitlyn Pietras)
Sound Artist: Lewis Pesacov
Musical Arrangement: Ed Windels
With new narrative poetry by avery r. young
Performed in English

Twilight: Gods is generously made possible by Julie and Roger Baskes and Ethel & William Gofen. 

About Lyric

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 Special Project Advisor 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.

Join us @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric2021 #LongLivePassion 

About the Ryan Opera Center

About the Ryan Opera Center

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is Lyric's preeminent artist-development program that nurtures the talents of some of the most promising operatic singers and pianists of each generation. The program's Ensemble members earn their coveted spot by successfully auditioning among more than 400 artists worldwide. Its alumni are among the dominant names in opera today. Donor generosity ensures continued unparalleled training, performance experience, and professional readiness of Ensemble members. This highly competitive program, established in 1974, is honored to enjoy the support of acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming as Advisor, along with full-time staff Director Dan Novak, Music Director Craig Terry, and Director of Vocal Studies Julia Faulkner.

Photo: (c)2021 Darris Lee Harris Photography