Lyric Lately

Welcome to the Lyric Lately blog

Our blog is here to educate and amuse, with enlightening articles, exclusive artist interviews, behind-the-scenes photos, engaging videos, and more. Take a look below to see what's been happening at Lyric Lately!

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

 

 

Spotlight on Charles Castronovo

Spotlight on Charles Castronovo

There are certain singers who seem able to rise to even the most formidable challenges in any role in their vocal category. Castronovo is one of those singers. Vocally the American tenor navigates with perfect ease, thanks to masterful control of his instrument. 

Hail to the Scotsmen

Hail to the Scotsmen

The work of director Sir David McVicar and designer John Macfarlane has illuminated some of the most extraordinary productions in the history of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Read on to learn about this dynamic Scottish duo, and see their latest collaboration — a new production of Verdi's Macbeth  — opening Lyric's 2021/22 Season.

Teens reflect on their time in Lyric's Youth Opera Council

Making their mark

Making their mark

Each year, Lyric selects a group of Chicagoland students representing a broad range of backgrounds to make up the Youth Opera Council (YOC). These curious and artistically inclined teens meet biweekly to discuss important topics relating to Lyric, the opera world, and the arts in Chicago. Read about their experiences and learn how you or a student in your life can get involved in this blog post.

Spotlight on Lucas Meachem

Spotlight on Lucas Meachem

Meachem thrives on the diversity of his repertoire. He’s sung at least 50 roles, running the gamut from Gluck and Mozart to contemporary opera, by way of Rossini, Wagner, Gounod, Massenet, Tchaikovsky, and Puccini. He lavishes on every role one of the finest baritone voices of his generation, along with the kind of charisma that lights up the stage.

A long journey: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ characters in opera

A long journey: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ characters in opera

During Pride Month, LGBTQIA+ characters are celebrated everywhere in theater and film, but not as often in opera. Perhaps that’s simply because opera doesn’t have many to choose from, but they’re certainly there, and have been even in opera’s early days.

Pagliacci in pop culture

Pagliacci in pop culture

Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci is among the most-performed operas in North America and its popularity extends well beyond opera-house stages. Arias and plot points from Pagliacci can be found throughout pop culture — in theater, television, film, and more.

The future is bright with our EmpowerYouth! students in it!

The future is bright with our EmpowerYouth! students in it!

The 2020/21 Season marked the fourth year of Lyric Unlimited’s EmpowerYouth! program in partnership with the Chicago Urban League, and the first year in which the program was almost fully virtual. The goal of EmpowerYouth! is to encourage and guide Black Chicago teens in creating an original production to tell the story of their lives and how they deal with issues that are relevant to them. There couldn’t have been a year where self-expression, storytelling, and healing through art were more important.

Spotlight on Ailyn Pérez

Spotlight on Ailyn Pérez

Ailyn Pérez has a heartstoppingly beautiful voice. It’s a glowing, full-toned lyric soprano, produced with sovereign technique and abundant artistry, so that it seems to draw every person who hears her into an embrace. Learn more about her and her career at Lyric!

What are you looking forward to in Lyric's 2021/22 Season?

What are you looking forward to in Lyric's 2021/22 Season?

In mid-May 2021, Lyric Opera of Chicago announced its return to live performances for the 2021/22 Season. This much anticipated season is filled with exciting new-to-Chicago productions and premieres, improved accessibility and brand-new seats in the Lyric Opera House, and it also marks the beginning of Enrique Mazzola's tenure as Lyric's music director. We asked staff and artists from all corners of Lyric what they are most excited about this upcoming season.

Spotlight on Janai Brugger

Spotlight on Janai Brugger

Since her company debut as Liù in Puccini's Turandot during the 2017/18 Season, soprano Janai Brugger has quickly become an audience favorite at Lyric. Learn more about the Darian, Illinois, native in this artist spotlight and see her in the virtual concert Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinsky.

History of the Civic Theatre

History of the Civic Theatre

The Lyric Opera House has been a Chicago landmark since it first opened in 1929, but did you know that the block-long Civic Opera Building originally held two theaters? Nestled behind the back wall of the Lyric Opera House, the Civic Theatre was a historical mainstay for the Chicago arts sector. 

 

 

The actors and dancers of Twilight: Gods

The actors and dancers of Twilight: Gods

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s drive-through garage opera, Twilight: Gods, was a triumphant and safe return to in-person performances with a star-studded cast. In addition to the internationally acclaimed singers in the cast, there are several Chicago-based non-singing performers, as well.

The New Classics in photos

The New Classics in photos

Lyric is known for its big, grand-scale Broadway productions that have concluded the mainstage seasons since 2013, but this year called for something a little different. The New Classics: Songs from the New Golden Age of Musical Theater brings a star-studded Broadway cabaret right to your living room from a cozy corner of the Lyric Opera House, featuring some of your favorite Broadway and Lyric artists. Take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos of the production.

What makes a classic?

What makes a classic?

The word “classic” is thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean to call something a classic? In musical theater, does the term automatically conjure images of showgirls in a perfect kickline? Or perhaps a group of revolutionaries waving a flag? Or even the image of a man in a mask, far beneath an opulent opera house? Artistic Administrator Cory Lippiello reveals how The New Classics: Songs from the New Golden Age of Musical Theater came together, how it was cast, and how it represents the best of past and present Broadway.

Wait, wait...tell me more!

Sir Andrew Davis and Peter Sagal in conversation

Sir Andrew Davis and Peter Sagal in conversation

After 21 wonderful years, Sir Andrew Davis steps down as Lyric's music director and principal conductor at the end of the 2020/21 Season. When it came time to select a host for a filmed career retrospective, one name kept coming up: noted humorist, writer, and broadcaster Peter Sagal. Learn more about this charming duo and hear their full conversation in this blog.

Ana María Martínez in conversation with the artists of Pasión Latina

Ana María Martínez in conversation with the artists of Pasión Latina

In December 2020, Lyric presented Pasión Latina to digital audiences around the world. The virtual concert — starring and hosted by renowned soprano and Lyric favorite Ana María Martínez — celebrated music from the Spanish-speaking world. Watch the full concert, streaming on Facebook and YouTube, and hear from current and former members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center in these exclusive conversations with Ana María Martínez.

Scott Marr on the magical world of Hansel & Gretel in the Park

Scott Marr on the magical world of Hansel & Gretel in the Park

Hansel & Gretel in the Park is an operatic adventure through the woods, perfect for audiences of all ages. This abbreviated English-language version of Humperdinck's beloved opera, Hansel and Gretel, takes place in the Walking Stick Woods at Chicago's beautiful North Park Village Nature Center. See how the imaginative production came together in this interview with set and costume designer Scott Marr.

Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis: Memories and tributes

Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis: Memories and tributes

Throughout his years of association with Lyric, initially as guest conductor and ultimately as music director and principal conductor for just over two decades, Sir Andrew Davis has had a profound influence and effect on countless members of the Lyric family on both sides of the curtain. Here are just a few fond reflections and some behind-the-scenes revelations.

Spotlight on Kyle Ketelsen

Spotlight on Kyle Ketelsen

In Broadway jargon, the phrase "triple threat" describes a performer who sings, acts, and moves onstage with equal brilliance. American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen is opera's "triple threat." Learn more about the Lyric favorite in this artist spotlight and see him in the virtual concert, Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinsky, now streaming.

Behind the scenes: Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis

Behind the scenes: Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis

Music Director Sir Andrew Davis leads members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Lyric Opera Chorus, and star soloists in a rousing concert honoring his remarkable career in Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis: From Mozart to Stravinsky. Take a peek behind the scenes of this virtual concert, and join us in raising a glass to the Maestro for more than three decades of beautiful music-making in Chicago.

Spotlight on Amanda Majeski

Spotlight on Amanda Majeski

Amanda Majeski must surely be the only renowned opera singer whose ambition growing up was to be a tap dancer (she can still tap up a storm today). Once she found her true calling, she ascended to the top level with exhilarating rapidity and enviable confidence, becoming one of the most successful and sought-after lyric sopranos of her generation. Read more in this artist spotlight and see her in Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinsky.

What's on Sir Andrew Davis's playlist?

What's on Sir Andrew Davis's playlist?

Since his company debut in 1987, Sir Andrew has conducted nearly 700 opera performances and numerous concerts and galas at Lyric...but what does he listen to when he's out of the orchestra pit? Step inside the mind of the Maestro with this eclectic Spotify playlist of some of his favorite pieces.

The gold standard: Highlights of Sir Andrew Davis's magnificent tenure at Lyric

The gold standard: Highlights of Sir Andrew Davis's magnificent tenure at Lyric

Sir Andrew Davis’s two decades as Lyric’s music director have been a true voyage of discovery for him, as well as for our audiences. He’s introduced us to one glorious work after another, while also enabling us to revisit familiar works with fresh ears.  Collectively, Sir Andrew’s performances at Lyric represent one of the greatest achievements in the history of the company.

Valhalla in photos: a journey through Twilight: Gods

Valhalla in photos: a journey through Twilight: Gods

Lyric Opera of Chicago's sold-out run of Twilight: Gods was described by critics as "unexpected and other-worldly" (Chicago Sun-Times) and as "a theatrical triumph that could hold its own in any era" (Musical America). The film version of the production comes out this summer free to all audiences, so before you buckle in for your virtual journey to Valhalla, learn more about the production by director Yuval Sharon through these photos.

Airing out Wagner’s Götterdämmerung: Wagner in the Age of Coronavirus

Airing out Wagner’s Götterdämmerung: Wagner in the Age of Coronavirus

Enveloped in an underground chamber of urban, industrial air, the Lyric Opera's Twilight: Gods returns to ground zero of Wagnerian political, aesthetic, and ecological thought: air itself. Read more about the politics, interpretation, and intention behind Wagner's great music drama in this article from Kirsten Paige, PhD.

Richard Wagner and the journey of the RING

Richard Wagner and the journey of the RING

The influence of Richard Wagner (1813–1883) is evident in the tone poems of Richard Strauss and the film scores of John Williams, and spreads beyond composition into philosophy, literature, the visual arts, theater, and film. Learn more about the composer and the creation of his epic Ring cycle in this article from Austin Stewart, PhD.

Wait...this opera's in a parking garage?

Wait...this opera's in a parking garage?

Thanks to the brilliant mind of “opera’s disrupter in residence” (New York Times), Yuval Sharon, Lyric Opera of Chicago will present a radical reimagining of Götterdämmerung, the final chapter of Wagner’s Ring cycle with a sold-out run of Twilight: Gods — in Millennium Garages - Millennium Lakeside Parking Garage. Say what? Michael Smallwood, Lyric’s technical director and VP, and Jackie Kane, Millennium Garages’ director of sales and marketing, are here to answer your questions.

Behind the scenes of Rising Stars in Concert

Behind the scenes of Rising Stars in Concert

Rising Stars in Concert is an annual showcase of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, one of the world's leading artist-development programs. Featuring conductor Christopher Allen at the podium leading the 2020/21 Ensemble along with members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Ensemble pianist Chris Reynolds, this year's Rising Stars in its virtual format is bound to be a captivating hour of music you won't want to miss. 

Spotlight on Matthew Polenzani

Spotlight on Matthew Polenzani

Internationally renowned tenor Matthew Polenzani is no stranger to Chicago audiences. The Evanston native became a regular fixture at Lyric, first as a member of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center from 1995-1997, and then as a regular featured artist. He has appeared in more than 15 roles and numerous concerts since his company debut as Captain of the Crossbowmen in Lyric's 1995/96 production of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. Learn more about the talented tenor in this artist spotlight.

Ride of the Spectators: Out of the Opera House and Into the Car

Ride of the Spectators: Out of the Opera House and Into the Car

Megan Steigerwald Ille, PhD, takes a look at how opera American companies are taking opera beyond the opera house and into non-traditional spaces in the 21st-century and what it means for the art form.

 

 

Hey! You're on! Lyric's last-minute cast changes

Hey! You're on! Lyric's last-minute cast changes

Understudies are the mostly unsung heroes of the opera world. In many cases, the person being called to save the day at Lyric is a current or recent member of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Here are some examples from the past two decades of then-current Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members and alumni saving the day on short notice.

Spotlight on Tamara Wilson

Spotlight on Tamara Wilson

It seems as though American soprano Tamara Wilson was born to sing some of the most challenging roles in the Verdi canon. From her Lyric debut as Leonora in Il trovatore to her appearance as Odabella in the virtual concert Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola, she brings to her performances a special dedication, a brilliance, and an excitement that make her one of today's most thrilling stars.

Christine Goerke on singing the Ring

Christine Goerke on singing the Ring

The Dallas Morning News has hailed soprano Christine Goerke as “the Brünnhilde of dreams." Goerke is no stranger to Wagner, having played the role at Lyric in both Die Walküre (2017/18) and Siegfried (2018/19), and in Ring cyclees around the globe. As she steps into Brünnhilde once again for Lyric's Twilight: Gods, here is what she has to say about singing the Ring.

Adapting Attila: Highlights in Concert

Adapting Attila: Highlights in Concert

When presenting a full production of Attila was no longer possible, Maestro Enrique Mazzola switched gears to offer a virtual concert featuring a glittering selection of highlights, sung by thrilling artists filmed under the strictest health and safety protocols. Read on to learn about the 11 excerpts and the bold characters who drive this dramatic Verdi opera.

Maestro Mazzola on the Move

What is Maestro Mazzola up to when he’s away from Lyric?

What is Maestro Mazzola up to when he’s away from Lyric?

Where in the world is Maestro Mazzola? After a busy couple of months in Chicago, he is currently enjoying spring's arrival at his home in Montepulciano, Tuscany, between European symphonic and operatic conducting engagements. Learn more about his recent virtual concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and life on the road in this blog post.

The thrills of early Verdi

Beauty and power

Beauty and power

Our operagoing life generally includes only a fraction of Giuseppe Verdi's stage works. Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, and Aida may be the most popular Verdi operas worldwide, but there's so much more to discover in Verdi's music! Learn more about the 12 operas that make up what we think of as "early Verdi" in this blog post.

Meet the cast of The New Classics

Meet the cast of The New Classics

Lyric will present The New Classics: Songs from the New Golden Age of Musical Theater, a virtual cabaret highlighting the best of new and old Broadway, on Thursday, June 10. Learn more about the starry cast of new-to-Lyric and returning artists performing in this singular evening of musical theater, which will be hosted by music director David Chase from a way back stage at the Lyric Opera House. 

Rossini's greatest hits

Rossini's greatest hits

Across a span of 20 years, Gioachino Rossini wrote 39 operas, five of them in 1812 alone. Though the Italian composer retired from composing operas at age 37, and lived to be 76, his musical legacy lives on. In honor of our new digital series, The Sonata Sessions, we've compiled a list of some of Rossini's "greatest hits."

Attila concert in photos

Attila concert in photos

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola to see how a concert version of Verdi's action-packed opera comes together.

All about the Lyric Opera House

Jewel of Chicago

Jewel of Chicago

In this article, you'll learn about the history of the Lyric Opera House and its original counterpart The Civic Theatre, from the start of construction in 1928 to the most recent renovations. Also, take a look back at some of the more surprising performances—from Jimmy Hendrix to The Glass Menageriethat have graced these storied stages over the years.

Time, love & madness: The Moon in classical music

Time, love & madness: The Moon in classical music

Elements of astronomy are recurring themes in classical music, including some of the most popular pieces in the repertoire. In opera, the heavens inspire beautiful arias and famous melodies, and even provide vital plot points. Most prevalent, of course, is the heavenly object that’s closest to home: the moon.

Behind the scenes of the Ryan Opera Center gala

Behind the scenes of the Ryan Opera Center gala

On Sunday, March 21, members of the 2020/21 Ensemble of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center will bring their talents to the digital stage in Magical Music Around the World. Take a special look at the filming of this virtual concert, following strict safety protocols, in the Mason Rehearsal Hall.

Spring is in bloom on Zoom

Spring is in bloom on Zoom

With the snow melting and flowers beginning to bloom, it's time to update your background on Zoom. Spring into a new season with these cheery photos from some of our favorite productions. Whether you long to smell the sweet cherry blossoms with Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow or frolic through the forest with a curious fox, these downloadable backgrounds are the perfect addition to your next virtual meeting.

De-myth-ifiying Rossini

De-myth-ifiying Rossini

How much do you really know about the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini? In anticipation of our upcoming digital series, The Sonata Sessions, we're exploring the facts and debunking the myths of the boy genius.

Happy go lucky

Happy go lucky

When you think of the dramatic rescues that come a moment too late or misunderstandings that lead to madness and murder, it's easy to write off most opera characters as profoundly unfortunate. There are, however, a lucky few who seem to have found the secret to not only surviving the final curtain, but prospering—even if their own luck may spell doom for another character (deserving or not). We'd like to share our list of some of the luckiest characters in opera. Let us know if you agree!

Spotlight on Christian Van Horn

Spotlight on Christian Van Horn

American bass-baritone Christian Van Horn was first introduced to Lyric audiences as the King of Egypt in Verdi's Aïda during the 2004/05 Season. At the time he was an Ensemble member of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Since that time he has performed 17 featured roles with the company and returns to Lyric's digital stage in April 2021 to sing the title role of Verdi's Attila in Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola.

20th-Century Legends of Lyric's Stage

Women of Lyric

Women of Lyric

Onstage at Lyric, from the earliest years of the company's history, the contributions of extraordinarily gifted women have been central and vital. In Part 2 of Lyric's "Women at Lyric" series, we pay tribute to some of those women, whose artistry was transcendent and whose performances will remain unforgettable for all who saw and heard them.

Making magic on the podium

Making magic on the podium

While it’s still somewhat rare to see a woman on the podium, new faces and perspectives are increasingly emerging. Critically acclaimed conductor Eun Sun Kim, the recently appointed music director for San Francisco Opera, exemplifies that welcome change. Learn more about Kim and what makes her tick.

Spotlight on avery r. young

Spotlight on avery r. young

The narration and text for the Chicago premiere of Twilight: Gods have been written and will be performed by Chicago poet and interdisciplinary artist avery r. young. It’s a perfect example of innovatively telling a story, with a local frame of reference, when circumstances don’t allow artists and audiences to gather in conventional performance spaces. Learn more about young as Lyric prepares to premiere his work on Twilight: Gods later this spring.


Rossini Sonata Sessions: A photo preview

Rossini Sonata Sessions: A photo preview

Join Lyric Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola as he leads an enhanced string ensemble comprising of members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra in performances of all six of Rossini's beautiful sonatas! Before The Sonata Sessions digital series is released in the coming weeks, take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos of the filming of these sonatas, following strict safety protocols on the stage of the Lyric Opera House.

Spotlight on Yuval Sharon

Spotlight on Yuval Sharon

Over the past few years, you might have seen the name Yuval Sharon pop up in opera coverage in the Wall Street JournalLA TimesOpera News, and other publications. You might have asked yourself, “Hmmm, what exactly is Hopscotch, A Mobile Opera in 24 Cars? And who came up with the idea?” Dubbed “opera’s disrupter in residence” by The New York Times, this acclaimed director has been making cultural waves since early in the new millennium and is making a splash with Lyric this season, as well.

Feeling like cabin-fever season is never going to end? We've all been cooped for what seems like forever, so let's vacation vicariously through photos of some of escape-destination operas. We feel better already!

Feeling like cabin-fever season is never going to end? We've all been cooped for what seems like forever, so let's vacation vicariously through photos of some of escape-destination operas. We feel better already!

Opera staycations

Opera staycations

Feeling like cabin-fever season is never going to end? We've all been cooped for what seems like forever, so let's vacation vicariously through photos of some of escape-destination operas. We feel better already!

The Ryan Opera Center's voyage of discovery: Part 2

The Ryan Opera Center's voyage of discovery: Part 2

For Sole e Amore, the members of the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble got the chance to work directly with Maestro Enrique Mazzola on intimate songs instead of arias. Hear from them what it was like to explore this repertoire.

The Ryan Opera Center’s voyage of discovery: Part 1

The Ryan Opera Center’s voyage of discovery: Part 1

For Sole e Amore, the members of the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble got the chance to work directly with Maestro Enrique Mazzola on this fun and theatrical take on art songs. Hear from them about their experiences filming this engaging Italian program.

Sole e Amore Lyric Libations

Sole e Amore Lyric Libations

Are you planning to join us for the premiere of Sole e Amore this Sunday, February 21? If so, you’ll find the perfect beverage for the occasion with our Lyric Libations recipe guide. Each drink is inspired by the music you’ll hear, a collection of songs by beloved Italian composers.

Lights, Camera, Action! Maestro Mazzola's vision for Sole e Amore

Lights, Camera, Action! Maestro Mazzola's vision for Sole e Amore

Conductor, of course. Collaborative pianist, sure. Cinematic conceptualizer...perché no?

Without a doubt, Enrique Mazzola is a multitasking maestro. Learn more about Maestro Mazzola's vision for Sole e Amore.

Lyric love stories

Lyric love stories

During the 2016/17 Season, we asked audience members to share why they love Lyric and opera in general. Many people spoke of memorable performances and the joy that comes from sharing the art form with loved ones. Some were stories of first dates, others were about their love for opera itself. This Valentine's Day, we're taking a look back at a few of our favorites.

Emily in Wonderland

Emily in Wonderland

A gifted Ryan Opera Center alumna is establishing herself in Europe. Learn more about Emily Pogorelc's career.

Happily ever opera

Happily ever opera

Romance abounds in opera; however, happily-ever-afters can be a bit harder to find. Ahead of Valentine's Day, we're breaking down our list of the top-10 opera couples who actually got their happy ending.

Creating The Factotum: A preview through photos

Creating The Factotum: A preview through photos

In anticipation of the doumentary called Creating The Factotum, take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos of The Factotum workshop that complied with Lyric's strict safety protocols and procedures.

Operatic resolutions for a drama-free year

Operatic resolutions for a drama-free year

So, how are your New Year's resolutions going so far? The world of opera is full of opportunities for lofty resolutions and good intentions—a few admirably kept, most not so much. Here are some actual (and imagined) that come to mind.

Spotlight on Craig Terry

Spotlight on Craig Terry

Is there anyone in the business busier than Craig Terry? Between an international performance career, studio recordings, and his leadership role in the Ryan Opera Center, Lyric has been proud to call this multi-talented musician part of the family for more than 16 seasons. Get to know the GRAMMY Award-winning artist in this spotlight.

Quiz: Which opera character am I?

Quiz: Which opera character am I?

Is he a wily barber? Is she a blood-thirsty princess? See if you can guess the names of these popular opera characters based solely on their statements. Scroll over the image to see if you are correct and challenge your friends to beat your score!

Lyric favorites: Holiday treats

Lyric favorites: Holiday treats

It has become a Lyric family tradition to gather each December for a holiday cookie exchange. Bakers ooh and ahh over the vast assortment of treats and go home with a tray full of everything from classic chocolate chip to intricately decorated sugar cookies, delicate macarons, and more. This year, our cookie exchange—like many celebrations—looked a bit different, as we moved it online. Here are a few of our favorite recipes that our intrepid bakers shared over Zoom. On your marks...get set...bake!

Meet The Factotum Team: Will Liverman and K-Rico

Meet The Factotum Team: Will Liverman and K-Rico

Recently, Lyric's Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center hosted a workshop for a new work and you'll soon be able to enjoy a documentary about the project in Creating The FactotumThe Factotum, created by Ryan Opera Center alumnus Will Liverman and DJ/recording artist K-Rico, reimagines Rossini’s The Barber of Seville by placing the popular operatic rom-com in a present-day Black barbershop in Chicago.  Let's take some time to get to know the artistic team behind this innovative project and explore how a new work is created. Who are Will and K-Rico?

Holidays with Maestro Mazzola

Holidays with Maestro Mazzola

We spoke with Lyric’s Music Director Designate, Enrique Mazzola, about his holiday traditions growing up, what it’s like to conduct during the holidays, and asked him to share his holiday music playlist. Enjoy Maestro Mazzola’s holiday playlist on Spotify while reading more about our soon-to-be music director.

A Conversation with Ana María Martínez and David Portillo

A Conversation with Ana María Martínez and David Portillo

We are so excited for the premiere of Pasión Latina, hosted by and starring the world-renowned soprano Ana María Martínez, a Lyric favorite for many years, and featuring several prominent alumni and current members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center.

As host of Pasión Latina, Ana María Martínez sat down with David to discuss his musical background and why he chose the music he will be performing. Read a short excerpt from their conversation together.

Share the beauty of music on #GivingTuesday

Share the beauty of music on #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday is a social movement dedicated to celebrating how everyday acts of generosity by ordinary people make extraordinary things happen. When you make a gift to Lyric Opera of Chicago in support of #GivingTuesday we'll put your donation to work presenting virtual concerts, generating a wide range of online content for opera lovers, showcasing the talents of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, and sharing educational resources for adults and children to enjoy and learn at home. Additionally, we are exploring bold—and safe—avenues for creating opera during this time.

Holiday Zoom Backgrounds

Holiday Zoom Backgrounds

Fa-la-la-la-la! Deck your screens with these fun and festive Zoom backgrounds. Whether you long to be on the snowy streets of Paris with the characters from La bohème, listening for the stroke of midnight with Cinderella, or simply want to add a wintery touch to your next Zoom meeting, we hope you enjoy these virtual backgrounds.

Get to Know: Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Get to Know: Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Lyric has announced exciting highlights from the 2021/22 Season, one of which will be the Chicago premiere of Terence Blanchard's powerful Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Learn more about this bold and affecting opera, a co-production between Lyric and the Metropolitan Opera, before tickets go on sale.

Sir Andrew Davis and The Marriage of Figaro: A Perfect Match

Sir Andrew Davis and The Marriage of Figaro: A Perfect Match

Lyric's music director, Sir Andrew Davis, has a long history with Mozart, and especially with Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) on the Lyric Opera House stage. As Lyric continues its final year of Davis's tenure as music director, let's take a look back at the Figaro productions that have provided us exceptional pleasure, both onstage and in the pit, under the baton of our beloved Sir Andrew Davis.

Which Lyric digital experience is right for you?

Which Lyric digital experience is right for you?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all of the streaming options available these days? If you're not sure where to begin, take this brief quiz to find the perfect first virtual experience.

Spotlight on EmpowerYouth mentors

Spotlight on EmpowerYouth mentors

EmpowerYouth!, Lyric's partnership with the Chicago Urban League that was launched in 2017, is back for its fourth year. Learn more about the talented multidisciplinary artists who will serve as mentors to this season's ensemble in this blog post.

Spotlight on Ana María Martínez

Spotlight on Ana María Martínez

Puerto-Rican-born soprano Ana María Martínez has been a Lyric favorite since her debut in the 2008/09 Season. Learn more about the Grammy Award-winning soprano's career and take a look back at some of her Lyric highlights in this blog post.

What is a Master Class

What is a Master Class

To those who may not be familiar with the concept, master classes exist across many artistic mediums, and consist of an expert in a particular field sharing knowledge and guidance with a participating student. Learn how Lyric utilizes this format to cultivate the next generations of opera singers and music performers.

Rossini: composing the perfect meal

Rossini: composing the perfect meal

Gioachino Rossini is one of opera's most beloved composers—writing 39 operas in his first 37 years, including The Barber of Seville, La donna del Lago, and William Tell. However, after the premiere of William Tell, Rossini abruptly retired from composing to pursue his second passion—food. Learn more about his reputation as a celebrated gourmand and try out some Rossini-inspired recipes for yourself!

Spotlight on Renée Fleming

Spotlight on Renée Fleming

Renée Fleming is no stranger to Lyric Opera of Chicago. While the Grammy Award-winning soprano has performed at every major opera house around the world, on the soundtracks of Oscar-winning films, and even at the Super Bowl, we have been proud to call her a member of the Lyric family for more than 25 years.

What's happening at Lyric this fall

What's happening at Lyric this fall

While the Lyric Opera House doesn't have live productions on stage due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, that doesn't mean that Lyric Opera of Chicago is dormant! Learn more about what's happening at Lyric, whether it's online or in our building, as we prepare to welcome you back to the opera house when circumstances allow.

Give opera's regard to Broadway

Give opera's regard to Broadway

Did you know that some Broadway musicals are based on operas? Just as opera takes inspiration from novels or plays, musicals can be influenced by the operas that came before them! Here are some famous examples of musicals that are based on operas, as well as some typically classical works that have been seen on the Great White Way.

Opera Has Made It To TikTok

Opera Has Made It To TikTok

That's right—opera is all over TikTok, if you look for it. Whether it's from fellow acclaimed opera houses, directly from our favorite artists, or from up-and-coming young opera hopefuls, there is yet another "virtual concert" happening daily on the TikTok app as artists share the joy of music with the world.

Your seat awaits

Your seat awaits

When performances resume in the Lyric Opera House, new seats will be waiting for you in the Ardis Krainik Theatre. Thanks to dedicated funding from an Anonymous Donor, this project represents an exciting step forward for Lyric's Patron Accessibility initiative. Learn more about our updated main floor sightlines; wider, better-lit aisles; additional wheelchair seating; and lush, state-of-the-art seats in this blog post.

Get to Know: Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas

Get to Know: Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas

Lyric recently announced some highlights of the 2021/22 Season, one of which will be the Lyric Opera of Chicago premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Learn more about this magical opera before tickets go on sale next year!

A look at Master Classes with Sir Andrew Davis

A look at Master Classes with Sir Andrew Davis

Step into the rehearsal room with Lyric's longtime music director Sir Andrew Davis as he leads a series of one-on-one master classes with members of the 2020/21 Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble. Look behind the scenes at how these master classes were flimed—using strict health and safety protocols to keep our artists and technicians safe!

Operatic chills and thrills

Operatic chills and thrills

Just in time for Halloween, take a look back at some of the spookiest operas that have graced our stage. From witches and ghosts to murderous barbers, this list is sure to get you in the spirit (👻) of the season. Scroll to the end for a Spotify playlist of some of our favorite haunting melodies from these eerie operas!

Highlights planned for the 2021|22 Season

Highlights planned for the 2021|22 Season

Even though we won't be coming together this season for opera in the same way, Lyric audiences have much to look forward to on the artistic front. In addition to the widely accessible virtual programs Lyric is offering this season, we're excited to offer a preview of a few of the titles planned for the upcoming 2021/22 Season with notes from Lyric Opera of Chicago's General Director, President & CEO, Anthony Freud.

Spotlight on Lawrence Brownlee

Spotlight on Lawrence Brownlee

A familiar face—and voice—at Lyric, tenor Lawrence Brownlee has been an audience favorite since his company debut in 2015. Here, we take a look back at some of his operatic triumphs and sold-out concerts at the Lyric Opera House and around the city of Chicago.

Spot Maestro Mazzola

Spot Maestro Mazzola

In great demand at opera houses and concert halls around the world, you never know where Maestro Enrique Mazzola will be jetting off to next. In 2021, the internationally renowned conductor will make Chicago his home base as he becomes Lyric's new music director. Thanks to a little photoshop magic, he has stepped out of the orchestra pit and into some of his favorite operas. Can you spot him?

Fall Zoom Backgrounds

Fall Zoom Backgrounds

Leaves are falling, the days are growing shorter, and there is a chill in the air that invites you to curl up with a good book or hide under the covers while watching a scary movie. Whether you have a virtual Halloween party planned with the ghouls or a socially-distanced date night with your boo, we hope you'll treat yourself to one of these Zoom backgrounds from some of our spookiest productions.

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces reimagined season programs

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces reimagined season programs

At the core of Lyric’s mission and vision is a commitment to redefining what it means to experience great opera today. Though our stage may be dark through December 31, 2020 due to public health considerations, Lyric is thrilled to present an exciting slate of virtual performance experiences giving you a multitude of ways to continue to make music, opera, and Lyric a part of your life.

Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A pioneer in the legal fight for women's rights and a historic member of the Supreme Court for 27 years, Ruth Bader Ginsburg left behind an incredible legacy. In honor of her recent passing, we look back at Justice Ginsburg's love for opera and the ways she touched the lives of many, in the arts and beyond.

J'Nai Bridges in Conversation: For the Love of Lyric

J'Nai Bridges in Conversation: For the Love of Lyric

Mezzo-soprano and Ryan Opera Center alumna J'Nai Bridges talks about her experience filming the For the Love of Lyric virtual concert and why COVID-19 inspires her for the future of her art form.

From "Ryan Opera Center From Home" to "Ryan Opera Center At Work"

From "Ryan Opera Center From Home" to "Ryan Opera Center At Work"

As Lyric’s artists and administrators began to work from home in March, Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center Ensemble jumped into gear and launched the “Ryan Opera Center From Home” series. From their homes, Ensemble members captured moving arias and fun classics and the videos were shared on social media and in emails to Lyric’s patrons, lifting spirits and reminding Lyric audiences that the music is far from gone. Now that safety protocols allow for limited in-person collaboration, Lyric is making the shift from “Ryan Opera Center From Home” to “Ryan Opera Center At Work.”

From the Opera House to the writing room: Carson's Lyric Story

From the Opera House to the writing room: Carson's Lyric Story

Carson Cook loved music and singing from a very young age—he was even a season ticket holder at Lyric as a freshman in high school. Carson’s experiences as a member of Lyric’s Youth Opera Council and as an audience member at Lyric helped solidify his desire for a career in vocal performance, and even inspired him to write an opera libretto at the age of 22.

Lyric Libations: For the Love of Lyric

Lyric Libations: For the Love of Lyric

Whether you're planning a Zoom happy hour with friends, or just looking for a tasty drink to accompany a night of beautiful music, here are some themed cocktails that are sure to have you feeling the Lyric love!

How to watch FOR THE LOVE OF LYRIC as a family

How to watch FOR THE LOVE OF LYRIC as a family

For the Love of Lyric is the perfect concert to introduce a young person in your life to music and theater! To help you, we have created a special, printable family streaming guide for you to use as you watch For the Love of Lyric. With the family streaming guide, your kids can learn more about the performers and their music selections, dive into activities that will test their music knowledge, and play interactive games sure to inspire imagination as they watch For the Love of Lyric

The Ryan Opera Center returns to the airwaves!

The Ryan Opera Center returns to the airwaves!

One of the most unique opportunities provided to the Ensemble is the Ryan Opera Center’s monthly broadcast recital series with WFMT 98.7, in which Ensemble members record selections for each program, which is then aired and streamed globally. The 2020/21 series is just about to start, enabling audiences around the world to hear from Lyric artists this season.

Photo: Cory Weaver