Statement from Lyric Opera of Chicago

CHICAGO (6/16/2020) Based on guidance from the city, state, and federal agencies regarding the ongoing health crisis, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s general director, president, and CEO, Anthony Freud, has made the difficult decision to cancel performances in the Lyric Opera House from September to December in Lyric’s 2020/21 Season.

“On behalf of our staff, boards, artists, donors, subscribers, and ticketholders, we have come to today’s decision based on the best information currently available. In this uncertain environment, we must put the safety of our guests, artists, and company first, respecting the policies implemented by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Canceling our performances in the opera house through the fall is heartbreaking and we look forward to and expect to be able to welcome audiences back to Lyric in January 2021 with the Chicago premiere of BLUE, with music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Tazewell Thompson, a new work exploring the relationship between an African American teenager and his police officer father."

As the State of Illinois moves through its five-phase plan of reopening, performing arts companies on Lyric’s scale are still slated to be part of the final phase. Operating on anything close to a normal basis until that phase is reached is simply not possible.

Freud continued, “The decision to cancel our fall productions is only one piece of the elaborate array of work still underway, which includes ongoing discussions with our union groups. Our goal is, and always has been, to find a balance between protecting the individuals and protecting our company.”

Lyric’s staff continues to work on the productions and special events scheduled from January through June of 2021, which we currently expect to proceed as planned. The previously announced renovation project for the Ardis Krainik Theatre, including new seats and improved sightlines, is also proceeding under stringent safety and health protocols.

The company is preparing a wide range of exciting alternative artistic activities to be presented through the fall, with a focus on ensuring that the art form of opera remains in the hearts and minds of Lyric audiences and stakeholders through this period of closure.

Assuming the 2020/21 Season resumes in January, Lyric plans to retain the titles previously announced. Lyric is currently exploring the possibility of rescheduling in later seasons the titles that fall into the cancelation period. Those include:

Cavalleria rusticana & Pagliacci: September 17-October 10
Lessons in Love and Violence: September 27-October 9
Tosca: November 7-29
Attila: November 15-27

All patrons currently holding tickets for canceled performances will automatically have the value of those tickets transferred to their accounts. That credit can be applied to future performances, refunded, or donated. All ticket holders affected will receive communication directly from Lyric with a full description of their options by June 30.

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 

Photo: Kyle Flubacker