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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
It's "French week" at The Metropolitan Opera. Now is your chance to escape to France as you watch some of your favorite French operas by beloved composers Jules Massenet, Charles Gounod, Georges Bizet, and Hector Berlioz. This week you also have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of Richard Jones's staging of La bohème, presented at Lyric in the 2018/19 Season, with The Royal Opera House's five-part docuseries, Following Pappano.
Finally, don't miss our upcoming virtual concert, For the Love of Lyric, on Sunday, September 13 at 6pm that features acclaimed musical artists Renée Fleming, Heather Headley, Ailyn Pérez, Soloman Howard, J’Nai Bridges, and Julia Bullock, Members of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, and the Chicago Children's Choir performing your favorite songs from opera, Broadway, and some suprising sources. Doug Peck serves as music director.
What does it mean for opera to be at its very best? For Doug Peck, it's when sound and sight and feeling fuse into the kind of universal, undivided love and art that Richard Wagner referred to as "Gesamtkunstwerk." Learn more about Peck's personal outlook on opera and why the six-time Jeff Award winner believes the art form has the power to change lives.
Inspire musical exploration and creativity with these virtual activities for kids! As the summer begins to cool down and school picks up, we're here to equip our parents and teachers with interactive videos, games, and resources to help keep your students learning and engaged. Whether you're a teacher looking for virtual classroom activities or assistance with remote learning, or you're a parent seeking ideas for a Zoom play date, or ways to inspire creativity in your household, we have just what you need to keep your children focused and entertained!
Who runs the world? If Beyoncé is to be believed: "Girls!" That has certainly been the case at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since the company's earliest years, women have held positions of power on the staff and Boards. Today, that spirit holds true, with the majority of management positions being held by women. Read on to meet a few of the trailblazing women who helped make Lyric what it is today.
Welcome to the first week of September! Begin your month on a high note with opera streams from Glyndebourne Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Australia, and Houston Grand Opera. Be sure to also save the date for our upcoming virtual concert, For the Love of Lyric, featuring your favorite singers performing hits from opera, Broadway, and more!
Even in the most uncertain times, we rise every day and start anew. Perhaps it’s human nature, but the draw of routine and ritual can be powerful and comforting when other aspects of life are more tenuous. So it’s no wonder that the familiar tune and everyday working spirit of Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” is such a comfort-watch. We hope someday in the near future we can get back to big, spectacular scenes like this one filled with boisterous crowds and a huge chorus of voices singing to the rafters.
Until then, we continue to bring you the best online content we have to offer. This week, meet our furry friends with Pets of Lyric, find out Jamie Barton’s favorite Chicago meal, watch an in-depth interview with soprano Ailyn Pérez, and enjoy a full solo recital by baritone Will Liverman from Seattle Opera.
They say dog is man's best friend, but this furry bunch proves that dogs, cats, and even bunnies make wonderful co-workers as well! While Lyric staff members continue to work from home, get to know some of the four-legged sidekicks keeping us company while we have to "sit...stay" in place.
Even from the comfort of your own home, you can still be enthralled by the magic of opera. In this edition of opera streaming, you will see productions from Glyndebourne, Opera Australia, Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Teatro de la Maestranza. With opera streams that span the globe, there's an escape for every music lover.
Teaching artists are professional performance and creative educators who work closely with Lyric’s Learning & Creative Engagement Department to develop and build curriculum for programs in schools and communities. For programs like Lyric’s Opera Residencies, our teaching artists partner with classroom teachers to create custom learning experiences that support music, arts, and academic learning goals. Get to know Heather Aranyi, Megan Elk, Elise LaBarge, and A.J. Wester, and their many talents!
Welcome to the latest roundup of opera-streaming opportunities! Featured this week are performances from Glyndebourne, Irish National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, and Santa Fe Opera. Summer in Chicago may be cooling off, but opera streaming all over the world is heating up.
Put on your ballgown or tux, and roll out your own red carpet for Lyric's new season opener—For the Love of Lyric—a star-studded virtual concert on Sunday, September 13. Audiences can look forward to familiar and revelatory selections from the worlds of opera, Broadway, popular music, and more, streamed free of charge on Lyric's YouTube and Facebook.
Lyric Opera of Chicago announced in 2017 that The Joffrey Ballet would become the resident ballet company at the Lyric Opera House at the start of the 2020/21 Season. While the season isn't starting out quite as planned for either company, we still can’t wait to welcome The Joffrey to Lyric!
We’re still buzzing with excitement over Sunday’s thrilling virtual concert. The passion and musicianship that came through in each of the artists’ incredible performances was palpable, and to see so many fans showing their appreciation in the comments was truly gratifying. In one of many unforgettable moments, baritone and Ryan Opera Center alumnus Will Liverman sang Chicago-based composer Shawn E. Okpebholo’s “Two Black Churches,” which ended with “a shattering climax followed by hushed grief” (Chicago Tribune).
On Sunday, July 26, Lyric and The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center are excited to bring you a free virtual concert: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter. Keep reading to see how you can get the most out of your streaming experience.
It goes without saying that all of the Ensemble artists in The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center have extraordinary ability. Nowhere is that rigor and greatness more apparent than in the journey of first-year tenor Lunga Eric Hallam, whose five-month journey to move from South Africa to the United States during a global pandemic was nothing short of a miracle—and a true testament of “extraordinary ability.”
Welcome to another week of opera streaming! For a limited time, you can rewatch the magic of Lyric's incredible July 26 virtual concert, Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter, which features Ryan Opera Center alumni and current Ensemble members performing works of music selected by the artists themselves.
Also in this week's lineup are productions from Florida Grand Opera, National Polish Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and a concert series from Sante Fe Opera. From live concerts to opera classics, there's something for every music lover this week!
Through programs like EmpowerYouth!, Opera Residencies in schools across the city, the Youth Opera Council, community events, Student Backstage Tours, Family Day, and Opera in the Neighborhoods—the possibilities for young people to fall in love with the arts at Lyric and through Lyric programs are endless. Just ask Sophia Peterson.
When volunteer musicians were no longer able to visit Northwestern Medicine due to COVID-19, Chicago nonprofit Sharing Notes took their concerts online. Learn more about the experience from Lyric Opera Orchestra musicians Susan Warner, Marie Tachouet, William Cernota, and Lewis and Melissa Kirk.
On May 11, the 2020/21 Ensemble of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center kicked off their first week of work. Hailing from three different continents, the first-year Ensemble members began the fun process of getting to know each other and the Ryan Opera Center staff, albeit virtually. With language classes and voice lessons and coaching via Zoom, they are already hard at work. Read on to hear from the Ensemble's newest additions and join us in welcoming them to the Lyric Family!
EmpowerYouth!: Igniting Creativity through the Arts—an ongoing partnership between Lyric Opera and the Chicago Urban League that immerses 30 high school students each year in the creation of an original production—entered its third year last fall, without any warning of an impending global pandemic. When the spring of 2020 unfolded, both the EmpowerYouth! program creators and student artists made the choice to finish the program, even if it would look a little different than expected.
The seducer. The philanderer. The libertine who takes what he wants and lives only for his own pleasure. All three are Don Giovanni, antihero in Mozart's drama of lust and revenge. He's surrounded by memorable characters, including his frustrated servant Leporello and the three women he encounters: fiery Donna Elvira, tormented Donna Anna, and impressionable Zerlina. Filled with thrilling music and drama, including a finale so overpoweringly dramatic that it changed music forever, Don Giovanni is justly celebrated as the perfect opera.
Another week of opera streaming is headed your way! Lyric's magical production of Georges Bizet's The Pearl Fishers headlines Saturday's broadcast series with WFMT. Also featured this week are selections from the Metropolitan Opera's week 15 of opera streaming, and a contemporary opera from Opera Philadelphia's Digital Festival. You'll also have the opportunity to watch "Live with Carnegie Hall: Isabel Leonard."
We may be getting a little stir-crazy at home, but at least we don't have statues coming to life and singing to us like Don Giovanni. This week, enjoy an extended clip from the closing scene of Lyric's 2019 production of Don Giovanni, starring Lucas Meachem in the title role and Mika Kares as the reanimated Commendatore.
In this scene, Marguerite tries on the jewels delivered by Méphistophélès as a gift from Faust and is captivated by how they enhance her beauty, as she sings in the famous aria, the Jewel Song (Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir).
They say a picture's worth a thousand words, and we agree. As Lyric prepared to announce the cancellation of its long-awaited Ring cycle, a few photos were taken of the empty stage, empty streets, and soon-to-be-empty offices of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Here are a few snapshots of Lyric's transition to working from home.
In this scene, the King of Siam has just hosted a successful dinner for a group of English diplomats and their wives. The King (Paolo Montalbán) has a moment alone with his children's governess, Anna Leonowens (Kate Baldwin), who attempts to explain certain Western customs. Recalling what it's like for a girl at her first dance, she does a polka on her own, but then the King insists that she teach him to dance with her.
Looking for things to do at home? Many of us are spending much more time with our little ones lately, and we’d love to help you share your love of music with your family while at home. Head to our new Kids Corner for all kinds of music-related activities like word searches, coloring pages, mad-libs, and more!
In The Barber of Seville, irrepressible Rosina refuses to marry her pompous old guardian. Meanwhile, a bold young count is eager to win Rosina for himself. And who's going to make sure those two finish the opera united? The cleverest character in all of Seville: the barber Figaro, whose services are sought after by everyone for everything (the guy has a lot more talents than just cutting hair). Rossini's music—the aural equivalent of champagne—is the last word in humor, inspiring smiles and laughter on every page of the score, which is what makes Barber the most popular of all operatic comedies.
Here, in act three of Rigoletto, Rigoletto (Quinn Kelsey) and Gilda (Rosa Feola) arrive outside. The Duke's (Matthew Polenzani) voice can be heard from inside, singing "La donna è mobile" ("Woman is fickle"). Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena (Zanda Švēde), has lured him to the house. Rigoletto and Gilda listen from outside as the Duke flirts with Maddalena. Gilda laments that the Duke is unfaithful.
As many of us approach two months under a stay-at-home order, some of us might be longing for some Rossinian hijinks to pass the time. Today's featured excerpt comes from this past season's audience and critical favorite, The Barber of Seville. Count Almaviva, portrayed by tenor Lawrence Brownlee, serenades Rosina while disguised as the poor student Lindoro. We think that this outdoor performance of "Ecco ridente in cielo" fulfills Chicago's current social distancing guidelines, and we hope it adds to your "finding happiness through music" quota for the day!
Are you singing at home? We certainly are. Nothing quite compares to the power of song to lift the spirits. So this week we bring you tenor Matthew Polenzani, a Lyric favorite and alumnus of the Ryan Opera Center, singing one of opera's greatest melodies, "La donna è mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto. We dare you not to sing along!
If you come to see an opera performance at Lyric, you might notice a small, unobtrusive black box that sticks up slightly from the edge of the stage, positioned just above the orchestra pit. Would you believe that a person actually spends an entire opera in that small space? It's the prompter's box! While the prompter might be hidden from view, it is an incredibly important job. A prompter is the liaison between the conductor in the pit and the singers on stage. Having a prompter is a safety net for singers who have to remember several hours of material, usually in foreign languages.
Porgy and Bess, by composer George Gershwin and librettists Ira Gershwin and Dubois Heward, is one of the most popular American operas of all time. Not only that, its opening aria, "Summertime" is one of the most beloved songs in American music. In 2012, The New York Times reported that "Summertime" had been covered by artists of all genres more than 25,000 times. We can only imagine how much more that number has grown since. Join us as we delve into the rich history of artists covering this American classic.
From everyone here at Lyric, we'd like to wish all of the wonderful moms a very Happy Mother's Day. While there aren't many maternal role models to be found in opera, we all know that the way to any music-loving mom's heart is with an opera-inspired card. Click through to download your own!
We're all adapting to our changed world in different ways. Maybe you've adjusted your workout routine to your living room or turned your kitchen into a home office. For Lyric, it means doing everything we can to bring you the music you love even while you're at home. In honor of the Ring cycle that would have wrapped up on May 3, we bring you this awe-inspiring clip from Das Rheingold, featuring Diana Newman, Annie Rosen, Lindsay Ammann, and Samuel Youn in “Lugt, Schwestern."
Then, take a look back at some of the Legends of Lyric who excelled in German roles, learn about life backstage with Wardrobe, Wigs, and Makeup Director Scott Marr, and delve into the life and career of Lyric favorite Patricia Racette.
In this scene from La traviata, Violetta (Albina Shagimuratova), a courtesan in Paris, gives a party where she's wooed by Alfredo (Giorgio Berrugi). Once she's alone, she laughs off the idea of true love and vows to live for pleasure, even when she hears the voice of Alfredo outside her window.
Here, Elektra's consuming desire to avenge her father Agamemnon's murder has been fulfilled: the murderers — Elektra's mother Klytämnestra and Klytämestra's lover, Aegisth — have been killed by Elektra's brother, Orest. Elektra (Nina Stemme) exults with her sister, Chrysothemis (Elza van den Heever), but after a few moments of dancing in triumph, she falls dead, leaving Chrysothemis despairingly calling for Oretes.
As intense as your favorite Netflix show might be, it doesn't hold a candle to the drama of Elektra. Watch an extended video of Nina Stemme and Elza van den Heever in the final scene of Strauss's violent thriller and be relieved that Elektra is not on your "quaranteam." Then, revisit the legacy of legendary Lyric favorite Richard Tucker, learn about the instruments of the Ring, and get a tap lesson from Lyric leading artists Ryan McKinny and noteable Ryan Opera Center Alum Amanda Majeski.