Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces 2021|22 Season

Macbeth, The Elixir of Love, The Magic Flute, Florencia en el Amazonas, Proving Up, Tosca, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Beethoven 9

Enrique Mazzola’s inaugural season as music director

Subscriptions to Lyric’s 67th Season go on sale Wednesday, May 19 at 5:30pm

Lyric Opera House plans to reopen for live performances September 17 with a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth conducted by Maestro Mazzola

We’re BACK!


CHICAGO (5/19/21) – After the successful reimagining of its 2020|21 Season, Lyric Opera of Chicago greatly looks forward to welcoming audiences once again to the Lyric Opera House this fall for the start of the company’s 67th Season. 

“We’re back!” declared Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO. “While Lyric continued to vigorously engage its audiences through virtual performances and events over the past year, and expanded our reach through globally accessible streaming concerts, we have also worked tirelessly to prepare our beautiful opera house so we can return safely to live, fully staged productions with audiences in attendance.

“New beginnings are cause for celebration, and we look forward to the joyful return of live performances in the 2021|22 Season,” Freud said. “Under any circumstances, the prospect of being reunited to experience great music together would be exhilarating — and we’re especially excited about all there is to anticipate in the upcoming season:

  • “We welcome the dynamic Maestro Enrique Mazzola as Lyric's new music director. Enrique is a consummate artist and a collaborative partner whose boundless energy and deep love for creative innovation have been behind many of our virtual programs during the reimagined 2020|21 Season. I look forward to the many ways that he will shape our company, our ensembles, and our community.
  • Our beautiful Lyric Opera House is now more accessible than ever. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we were able to replace every seat in the house, reshaping the theater with widened aisles, improved sightlines and better ease of access throughout.
  • We welcome The Joffrey Ballet as our resident ballet company at the Lyric Opera House, a genuine partnership that will bring new audiences to our beautiful, iconic home. 
  • “We will present seven opera productions that have never before been seen in Chicago — from our completely new Macbeth to open the season, to our new coproduction of the riveting contemporary work Fire Shut Up in My Bones to close the season. The season also features Lyric's first mainstage opera sung in Spanish, Florencia en el Amazonas, and Missy Mazzoli's hauntingly beautiful chamber opera Proving Up, plus new-to-Chicago productions of The Elixir of Love, The Magic Flute, and Tosca.
  • We stand firmly committed to the important principles of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA), and have done important work during the past year to strengthen every area of our company. 

“As we boldly move forward from this uniquely challenging year, we find ourselves at a legacy moment for our company. We are profoundly grateful for our patrons’ ongoing and generous support, which will continue to be more essential than ever as we work to adapt and recover. We can’t wait to welcome everyone safely back to the Lyric Opera House for the shared community and the life-affirming power of live performance.”

Freud emphasized that Lyric is “fully committed to the health and safety of our entire family — our audiences, artists, technicians, administrative staff, and all of the communities we serve throughout each season. 

“Though there are still many unknowns around the fall season, we are committed to communicating with transparency about our plans for returning to live performance.” 

Here are Lyric’s current plans:

  • The four operas from September through November will be reworked to have maximum performance running times of 2.5 hours.
  • Our hope is to provide patrons with their intended subscription seating as soon as possible. Until we receive guidance from health authorities on allowable theater capacity, however, we will send subscribers their tickets on a show-by-show basis to allow for flexibility in responding to evolving capacity allowances. 
  • Lyric will offer virtual streams of the season’s shows for ticket-holders only, as an alternative to attending in-person, should some audience members not yet feel comfortable returning to the theater. Access to these streams will be included in the price of the performance tickets.

At the theater, audiences can expect:

  • In compliance with state and local health guidelines, attendees will be required to wear mandatory face coverings.
  • Enhanced, hospital-grade cleaning practices that use high-performance disinfectants throughout our theater spaces and offices. 
  • Ventilation systems have been thoroughly cleaned, including fogging of hard-to-reach surfaces. 
  • Upgraded air filters have been installed, and airflow has been shifted to decrease recycled air and increase fresh air exchange. 
  • Water systems have been regularly maintained. 
  • Increased conversion to touchless fixtures in the theater is under way.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations are available in locations throughout the theater.
  • Dining and concessions will be operated in compliance with state and local health guidelines.
  • Daily health and safety checks are conducted for our onsite staff members.

Additional information may be found at

Freud noted that in the coming months, “we will continue to work closely with all state and local public health officials, as well as having ongoing consultations with an infectious disease expert, to ensure that all of our protocols promote personal health and safety, and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

“We greatly look forward to having you back in the Lyric Opera House for live performances! See you in September!” Freud added. 

Subscriptions to Lyric’s 2021|22 Season will be on sale starting at 5:30pm on Wednesday, May 19. The season comprises exciting new and familiar works, all in productions not previously seen in Chicago. Audiences can look forward to enjoying improved sightlines on the main floor, along with the new seats that have been installed throughout the Lyric Opera House over the past year.

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 67th Season will feature: 

  • Macbeth (Verdi) — Enrique Mazzola, conductor; new production by Sir David McVicar
  • The Elixir of Love (Donizetti) —  Enrique Mazzola, conductor; new-to-Chicago production by Daniel Slater 
  • The Magic Flute (Mozart) — Karen Kamensek, conductor; new-to-Chicago production by Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade 
  • Florencia en el Amazonas (Catán) — Jordan de Souza, conductor; Lyric premiere and new-to-Chicago production by Francesca Zambello
  • Proving Up (Mazzoli/Vavrek) — Enrique Mazzola, conductor; Lyric premiere and new-to-Chicago production by James Darrah 
  • Tosca (Puccini) — Eun Sun Kim, conductor; new-to-Chicago production directed by Louisa Muller
  • Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Blanchard/Lemmons) — Daniela Candillari, conductor; Lyric premiere and new co-production by James Robinson and Camille A. Brown
  • Sir Andrew Davis Beethoven 9 Concert— Lyric premiere 

Lyric's 67th Season is presented by Invesco QQQ. Invesco QQQ ETF is an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Nasdaq-100 Index™ and offers access to some of today's most innovative companies, all in one fund. Together with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Invesco QQQ will celebrate innovation in the operatic art form and bring forward unique experiences and moments to Lyric audiences.

Freud was joined by Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola to announce the repertoire and principal casting for the company’s 2021|22 Season. “We are so excited to return to live in-person performances with these new and new-to-Chicago productions next season, with world-class casts and creative teams collaborating in several musical and dramatic styles,” Mazzola said. 

“To launch his inaugural season as our new music director, Enrique will conduct two Italian works in repertory in September and October — an exciting new production of Verdi’s Macbeth that continues our Early Verdi Series; and a charmingly updated production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, providing us all with some welcome romantic comedy in an Italian seaside setting,” said Freud. Mazzola will return to the podium in January, turning his attention to contemporary repertoire to lead performances of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek.

Lyric’s new music director is renowned for his interpretations of Verdi and bel canto, but he has an extraordinarily broad repertoire, including a passionate commitment to contemporary work. “Earlier this year I conducted a short work by Missy Mazzoli with the London Philharmonic Orchestra,” Mazzola said. “I love her music; it’s full of emotion and rhythmic energy, and has huge immediacy and intensity. I am excited to share this recent opera of hers with Lyric audiences.”

Mazzola noted that Lyric’s 2021|22 Season will also include two operas whose music and stories “will be familiar to many in our audience, but will also be exciting discoveries for ‘opera-curious’ newcomers — Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Puccini’s Tosca.” 

Two works having Chicago premieres will complete Lyric’s new season, Freud said. “Daniel Catán’s captivating opera Florencia en el Amazonas will be the first Spanish-language opera presented here as part of the mainstage season. And Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the memoir by the New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow with libretto by Kasi Lemmons, will close the season with a riveting exploration of the Black experience in this country.”

There will be important role debuts at Lyric next season, Freud noted. “We are excited that Sondra Radvanovsky will sing her first Lady Macbeth, and that Michelle Bradley will make her role debut and company debut in the title role of Tosca.”  Additional highly anticipated company debuts include baritone Luca Salsi in the title role of Macbeth, conductors Eun Sun Kim/Toscaand Jordan de Souza/Florencia en al Amazonas, and co-directors James Robinson and Camille A. Brown/Fire Shut Up in My Bones. 

In April 2022, Lyric will celebrate Sir Andrew Davis’s magnificent two-decade tenure as music director with one of his favorite works, never previously performed at the Lyric Opera House: Beethoven’s enthralling Ninth Symphony. The concert will feature an outstanding vocal quartet (artists to be announced at a later date) joining forces with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The concert will begin with a new choral work by Sir Andrew’s son, Ed Frazier Davis, an impressively gifted composer, commissioned specifically as a preface to this symphony.

One of the most important debuts of Lyric’s 67th Season belongs to the new seats throughout the Lyric Opera House. While live performances were on hiatus during the past year, work in the Ardis Krainik Theatre continued under strict health and safety protocols, Freud noted. “When we open the season this fall, our audiences will experience a more accessible opera house.” 

Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor in support of Lyric’s Patron Accessibility Initiative, the theater now has wider aisles to provide improved entrance and exit flow, and better wheelchair-accessible accommodations. The brand-new state-of-the-art seats also provide increased comfort and a uniform, staggered layout of rows throughout the theater for better sightlines.

The 2021|22 Season also marks the start of The Joffrey Ballet’s residency at the Lyric Opera House. Lyric’s productions will alternate with the Joffrey’s productions.

Subscribe now! New and renewing subscribers have first access to the best seats at the best prices. Single tickets will be available for purchase starting in late July. 

Please note: The status of pre-opera talks will be decided based on health and safety policies for the fall, with updates in the summer.

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2021|22 Season

Sung in Italian with projected English texts
September 17, 23 matinee (m), 30, October 3m, 6m, 9, 2021

Lyric’s riveting season-opener is the inaugural production of Music Director Enrique Mazzola’s tenure, and a brand-new production from Sir David McVicar. Adapting one of the greatest tragedies written by his hero, Shakespeare, Verdi created a stunning portrait of the most power-hungry couple who ever trod a stage. Macbeth’s bloody ascent to the throne of Scotland — led and supported by his wife’s own consuming ambition — results in disaster for them both. Verdi brings them to blazing life in a score that bristles with energy and endless excitement. Grand-scale arias, hair-raising duets, stupendous ensembles — they’re all here, in the first genuine masterpiece of Verdi’s career.

*Lyric Opera debut
°Ryan Opera Center alumnus

Macbeth is a co-production of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company.


Sung in Italian with projected English texts
September 26m, 29m, October 2, 5, 8, 2021

No operatic hero is more endearing than Nemorino, who pines for the flirtatious Adina. She’s the owner of the town’s hotel, he’s her delightfully naive waiter. His only hope to win her is the “elixir” sold by the quack, Dr. Dulcamara — little does he know that it’s just Bordeaux wine! From start to finish we root for Nemorino, as Adina toys with him until she finally lets him know how she really feels. Elixir is opera’s most heartwarming comedy, filled with Donizetti’s delectable music that brings nonstop smiles.


*Lyric Opera debut

The Elixir of Love is a co-production of Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera, originally created by Opera North, UK.


Sung in German with projected English texts
November 3, 7m, 11m, 14m, 17m, 19, 27, 2021

Mozart’s miraculous blend of the human and the supernatural, of comedy and romance, draws us into a world where a prince, Tamino, and a princess, Pamina, triumph over every obstacle in their search for wisdom and enlightenment, and are finally united in love. This is a gloriously varied score, with the lovers’ soulful arias, the stratospheric vocal fireworks of the villainous Queen of the Night, the subterranean depths of the formidable high priest Sarastro, and the folk-like melodies of the lovable birdcatcher, Papageno. Lyric brings you a critically acclaimed production that pays homage to the silent movies of the 1920s, praised by The Guardian as “a joyous yet profound staging in which animation takes centre stage…[taking] live video to new heights on the opera stage.”


*Lyric Opera debut

A production of the Komische Oper Berlin, co-produced by Los Angeles Opera and Minnesota Opera. 

Lyric’s presentation of The Magic Flute is generously made possible by The Negaunee Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Sanfred Koltun, and the Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa.


Sung in Spanish with projected English texts
November 13, 18, 21m, 26, 28m, 2021

Lyric’s first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of the mainstage opera season, this story about a glamorous diva on a life-changing adventure on the Amazon is suffused by the entrancing allure of magical realism. Florencia Grimaldi, a renowned diva, is engaged to perform at the opera house of Manaus, Brazil. Traveling there by boat, she’s consumed by her desire to be reunited with her long-lost lover, whom she hopes will be awaiting her. Florencia and her fellow passengers are all intensely memorable characters, and they’re illuminated by the magnificent, lushly romantic music created by a true musical genius — Mexico’s finest opera composer, Daniel Catán.


*Lyric Opera debut
°Ryan Opera Center alumnus

Original production from Houston Grand Opera.

Lyric’s premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas is generously made possible by Marion A. Cameron.


Performed in English with projected English texts
January 22, 26, 28, 30m, 2022 

The American dream: the promise of a better life for those who work to achieve it. In this gripping drama, acclaimed composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek explore whether regular, hard-working people are able to fulfill their destiny — and what happens when fate is cruel, and their dreams turn into nightmares. A haunting, supernatural story of Nebraska homesteaders in the 1870s and their dream of “proving up” and obtaining the deed to the land they’ve settled, the opera draws us vividly into a world where the requirement of a single glass window can shatter the hopes and dreams of a family. The Washington Post called Proving Up “harrowing…powerful…a true opera of our time.” Join us for the anticipated Chicago premiere of this new chamber opera.

Proving Up will be performed in the Owen Theatre at Goodman Theatre. On sale Summer 2021.

Cast to be announced at a later date.


*Lyric Opera debut

Adapted from the short story “Proving Up” by Karen Russell.

Co-commissioned by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, and Miller Theater at Columbia University. ©2018 G.Schirmer, Inc.


Sung in Italian with projected English texts
March 12, 15, 18, 23m, 26, April 3m, 7m, 10m, 2022

A diva who has all of Rome at her feet. A woman who takes charge of her life and fights for what she wants. A heroine who is brave and loving, extravagantly emotional, yet utterly irresistible. Floria Tosca is all these things. She’s loved by Mario Cavaradossi, the revolutionary, and lusted after by Baron Scarpia, Rome’s vicious police chief. Puccini’s lushly grand-scale music illuminates these characters, and the entire opera bursts with a theatricality that makes Tosca a favorite of audiences everywhere. 


*Lyric Opera debut
°Ryan Opera Center alumnus

Original production built for San Francisco Opera.

Lyric’s presentation of Tosca is generously made possible by the Mazza Foundation


Performed in English with projected English texts
An opera by Terence Blanchard
Based on the book by Charles M. Blow
Libretto by Kasi Lemmons
March 24, 27m, April 2, 6m, 8, 2022

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s widely acclaimed memoir is the source for this extremely moving story of his traumatic youth in Louisiana. What an amazing collection of talent — composer Terence Blanchard, one of the most influential figures in American jazz; librettist Kasi Lemmons, director of such remarkable films as Harriet and Eve’s Bayou; and a topflight cast including many of America’s most brilliant singing actors. Fire Shut Up in My Bones is an opera for today, revealing the Black experience in this country as few other operas have done.


*Lyric Opera debut
°Ryan Opera Center alumnus

A co-production of Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, and Los Angeles Opera.

Commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. Originally commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, co-commissioned by Jazz Saint Louis.

Lyric’s presentation of Fire Shut Up in My Bones is generously made possible by Gael Neeson.


Sung in German with projected English texts 
April 1, 2022

Lyric will celebrate Sir Andrew Davis’s extraordinary two-decade tenure as music director and principal conductor with one of his favorite works, never previously performed at the Lyric Opera House: Beethoven’s enthralling, life-affirming Ninth Symphony. An outstanding vocal quartet (artists to be announced at a later date) will join forces with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus for what is sure to be an unforgettable musical experience. The concert will begin with a new choral work by Sir Andrew’s son, Ed Frazier Davis, an impressively gifted composer, commissioned specifically for this occasion.

Additional Information

Call 312-827-5600 to purchase subscription tickets, or visit beginning May 19 at 5:30pm.

Click here for production images for Lyric’s 2021|22 Season. Artists’ headshots available on request.

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: 2021 Darris Lee Harris Photography

Lyric Opera's 2021|22 Season is presented by

Lyric Opera of Chicago thanks its Official Airline, American Airlines.

Lyric Opera of Chicago is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.