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!

Rape, revenge, love: the DON GIOVANNI puzzle

Don Giovanni is a glorious enigma. Its music is so enthralling, and yet its sentiments are confusing, perhaps also confused. Is the listener to be captivated by the Don, and to feel a sense of loss when he leaves the world – as many romantic interpreters have believed? If so, there is one sort of problem: for this Don is a really horrible person, who, despite a certain boyish energy and charm, has no sympathy at all for anyone else and who uses a combination of class dazzle and sheer force to make his conquests.

Harmonies and Hits: Verdi's Choral Music

If you're an opera audience member who is thrilled by the power of a full chorus blowing your hair back with sound, then you're no stranger to the wonder of Verdi. From the grandeur of Aida to the famed drinking song in La traviata, and the unforgettable sounds of the Anvil Chorus of Il trovatore, Verdi's choruses are among the most memorable moments in his operas.

Backstage Life: John Clarke

Welcome to Backstage Life where we feature the people behind the scenes who make opera happen. Today we're talking to John Clarke, a Lyric Opera stagehand who has been with us since 1986. Here's what he had to say about his life at Lyric.

Broadway Meets Barber: Spotlight on director Rob Ashford

Rob Ashford is a director, choreographer, and dancer. He also happens to be a Tony Award, Olivier Award, Emmy Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award winner. When general director Anthony Freud first approached Ashford about directing a brand-new production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville in 2014, it may have been his first time directing an opera, but it was far from his first exposure to the art form. 

The Great Return: Maria Callas and Lyric Opera

When Callas first arrived at the Lyric Opera House in 1954, everyone thought she would be preoccupied with glamour and stardom. However, she was only interested in rehearsal — her first questions were, "Where is the maestro? When do we start work?"

Madeline on the Move

As the only pianist in the Ryan Opera Center, Madeline's role is a unique one. Throughout the course of the year, the Ensemble pianist is responsible for helping to prepare his or her colleagues for Lyric season roles and other assignments. Not only is the pianist required to learn multiple operas each season, she or he also advises the Ensemble on art song and non-traditional repertoire.

West Side Story Insider

Each spring, Lyric invites a group of 5-10 musical theater “superfans” to be Social Media Insiders. Last week, 10 lucky fans got the chance to live-tweet the final Dress Rehearsal of West Side Story and get an exclusive look behind-the-scenes.

West Side Story for Every Budget

When it comes to grand opera, lavish productions are to be expected. However, Lyric’s knack for producing music theater on the biggest scale doesn’t stop there. Each spring, we bring our technical, artistic, and musical resources and expertise to a classic Broadway musical.

Happy Birthday Stephen Sondheim!

American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim turns 89 years old today! As everyone at Lyric is poised to start rehearsal for West Side Story (onstage May 3 - June 2), today offers the perfect chance to reflect upon the career and contributions of one of the artists who created this ground-breaking work.

Cheers to 25 Years!

Another opera season is drawing to a close, but you don’t have to wait until the fall to hear some of your favorite artists. 

Modern Match - Elektra

To binge-watch something – to invest time and emotions in a story – it must have the greatest actors, thrilling plot twists, and an undercurrent of psychological sizzle that keeps viewers clicking. In short, it must follow the formula that Richard Strauss used more than a century ago in Elektra.

Master Mentor

Today a new generation of singers is benefiting from Julia Faulkner’s knowledge and experience at Lyric’s renowned artist-development program, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, where she is director of vocal studies.

Modern Match - Ariodante

The convoluted schemes, mistaken identities, and star-crossed lovers of Ariodante are connected by a series of heart-wrenching arias – moments when the plot pauses to allow the audience to engage their empathy. Modern television shows like Glee and Smash also use music to express the characters’ emotions. 

Modern Match - La traviata

Characters like Violetta endure due to their ability to capture the imagination of many generations. We see this, too, in another, more recent, beautiful and tragic figure: Diana, Princess of Wales.

Modern Match - Siegfried

Despite the millennia that separate the two, Wagner turned to ancient folktales as source material for his Ring cycle. Today, if the contemporary success of writer Neil Gaiman is any indication, we’re still gripped by mythology. 

Modern Match - Il trovatore

The hero of Il trovatore, Manrico, is introduced in the opera as an adult, but the mystery of his character can only be unlocked when we understand what occurred during his infancy. In this and other ways, he’s similar to another boy we know well: Harry Potter.

Modern Match - La bohème

Living in the city, following their dreams, falling in and out of love, all while barely scraping by: this is the reality of life for the main characters in La bohème, but also for today’s Millennials. The modern Millennial is seen on TV shows like How I Met Your MotherBroad CityShameless, and more.

Opera on Broadway: La bohème vs. Rent

Whether you’re an opera lover or a Broadway fanatic, you’ve probably heard by now that the 1996 musical Rent was loosely based on the 1896 opera La bohème. But if that’s news to you, don’t worry! Let us walk you through the similarities… (some spoilers ahead!)

Glitter... Glitter Everywhere

As Lyric’s Costume Director, Maureen Reilly is a pro when it comes to hoop skirts and high heels. But as opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar approaches, she reflects on the unique challenges that this ultra-contemporary production brings to Lyric. 

Give the Gift of Lyric this Holiday Season

There’s no time of year quite like the holidays, and it’s the perfect occasion to treat your loved ones to an experience they’ll never forget. From performance tickets to OperaShop apparel, here are just a few ways to give the gift of Lyric to the opera (or musical!) aficionados in your life.

Lyric Libations: Orphée et Eurydice

Tequila and lime, gin and tonic, opera and ballet...Sometimes the most simple combination can turn into something truly magical. Celebrate the first collaboration between Lyric Opera and The Joffrey Ballet with these Orphée et Eurydice-inspired cocktail recipes and see Gluck's baroque masterpiece through October 15.

Lyric 101: What to Wear to the Opera

One of the most common questions we receive here at Lyric is “How should I dress?” Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled this handy list of frequently asked questions and answers so you’ll know exactly what to wear on your next outing to Lyric.

Lyric 101: Getting Around

Situated on the Chicago River, the Lyric Opera House is just as beautiful as the operas that take place on its stage. However, it’s easy to understand how someone can feel overwhelmed during their first visit. That’s why we’ve created this handy beginner’s guide to help you get around!

A Romantic Night at the Opera

Looking for a romantic date night? Look no further! Though operatic tales of love don’t always end well, Lyric’s 2017/18 season features several couples who live happily ever after.

Winter is Here...Opera Season is Coming

Sunday night, season 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones started off with a bang as millions tuned in to watch the drama unfold. However, with the show drawing to a close in 2018, many fans are left wondering where they’ll turn to satisfy their need for fantasy, drama, and intrigue after the show ends. Fortunately, we know the perfect place to go for all your Game of Thrones needs: Lyric!

MY FAIR LADY: Journey to the Stage

Take a look back at the first day of rehearsals. This production features 16 principal actors, an ensemble of 40, and 14 dancers! Many of these artists met for the first time just weeks before they would have to step onstage for the first performance.

Interview with April Busch

I have been the Production Manager here at Lyric for 4 years. I negotiate contracts for the designers of our productions and help plan their schedules. I also handle communication within the company if there are any special events occurring in the building, like board meetings or photo shoots. 

Interview with Brian Traynor

I’ve been at Lyric since the 1998/99 season and I am the Charge Artist. It’s my job to make sure the finishes on the scenery, props, and costumes for a production are visually appropriate for the concept the designers and director have in mind. 

Behind the Scene of Das Rheingold

Creating a new production is an exciting and time-consuming undertaking for any opera company. This season, Lyric is debuting three brand-new productions: Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Berlioz’s Les Troyens, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The first of these shows is onstage now, but we’re going take a quick look back to see how the magic came to life.

5 opera myths BUSTED!

I won’t understand what’s going on! I have to wear a ball gown or a tuxedo! It’s so expensive! I have to have great seats! I have to read up on the opera!