CHICAGO (9/7/2022) — The incomparable soprano Renée Fleming, Lyric’s own special projects advisor, is joined by charismatic baritone Rod Gilfry for an extraordinary musical event: the Midwest premiere of the song cycle The Brightness of Light, composed by Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts, followed by a program featuring songs from the Great American Songbook as well as Broadway favorites. This one-night-only engagement on Saturday, October 8, 2022 also features the Lyric Opera Orchestra conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola.
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The Brightness of Light is based on letters between legendary painter Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. These texts and Puts’s remarkable music offer a marvelous showcase for the probing, profoundly connecting, and sensitive artistry of Fleming and Gilfry as they perform against evocative projections that mingle O’Keeffe and Stieglitz’s art, photos, and letters to create a cinematic backdrop for the evening.
World-renowned soprano Renée Fleming has performed ten iconic leading roles at Lyric—from the title role in Susannah for her debut in the 1993/94 Season to Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow in the 2015/16 Season—in her nearly three-decade association with the company, which also includes service as Lyric’s first-ever Creative Consultant, as vice president of the Board of Directors, as Artistic Director of Chicago Voices, and as the company's current Special Projects Advisor. She served as curator of the world premiere of Bel Canto in Lyric’s 2015/16 Season and serves in the same role for Proximity, which will have its world premiere at Lyric later in the 2022/23 Season.
Two-time Grammy nominee Rod Gilfry has appeared at Lyric as Olivier in Capriccio, as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia (1994/95 Season), and as Marcello in La Bohème (2001/02 Season). Central to his 75-role repertoire are the 13 leading roles he has created for new operas, such as Claudius in Brett Dean's Hamlet for the Glyndebourne Festival, a role he recently performed at the Metropolitan Opera. Later this season, he sings Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte at The Dallas Opera, Scarpia in Tosca at Houston Grand Opera, and Claudius at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
Enrique Mazzola begins his second season as Lyric’s Music Director by conducting the 2022/23 Season-opening performances of Verdi’s Ernani, followed later in the season by performances of Verdi’s Don Carlos and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory. During Lyric’s 2021/22 Season, his inaugural season as Music Director, he conducted performances of Verdi’s Macbeth, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and the Verdi Voices concert, which is available for free streaming. Also last season, Maestro Mazzola conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra for A Gala Evening with Renée Fleming.
For more information on The Brightness of Light, visit lyricopera.org/brightness.