April 18, 2019

Backstage Life: Kevin Krasinski

What is your role at Lyric, and how long have you held the position?

As artist services manager, I am responsible for arranging housing, travel, and visas for Lyric’s myriad artists from around the globe. I began in October 2018 upon the retirement of my esteemed predecessor, Josie Campbell, who gave over 34 years of exemplary service to this opera house.

What led you to work at Lyric?

After finishing my master’s degree in voice/opera performance in 2017, I seriously considered whether the jet-setting lifestyle of a fulltime opera singer was right for me. I decided that administration was a better path for the life I envision. I started applying to every position at Lyric for which I felt qualified and interested, eventually working on three projects with Lyric Unlimited before assuming my current role.

What’s a typical day like for you?

During the season I sit backstage in the rehearsal department, colloquially referred to as “The Fishbowl” owing to the row of large glass windows through which anyone entering or exiting backstage can peer. From here, artists have immediate access to me to discuss any issues that may arise during their time in Chicago. In between handling artists’ individual requests, I do my best to make future arrangements as far in advance as is practical. The bulk of my business is conducted over email. When no artists are in town, I retreat to my fourth-floor office to spend my days making future arrangements and organizing the digital mess I make in the haste of the season.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Balancing artists’ individual interests with those of Lyric, the other companies with which I collaborate in my role, and my own time management and mental health.

What keeps you committed to the work you do?

An adoration for the art form, the chance to provide help on a near-daily basis, and the ever-looming threat that my failures are more publicly visible than most. It’s difficult for an artist to perform if they’re not in the city, not to mention the country!

What’s something about your job that people might not know?

regularly use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet when making arrangements for artists over the phone, especially for those whose names are of Eastern European origin.

Beyond opera, what are your other passions?

Last summer I tried my hand at gardening, building my first-ever backyard butterfly sanctuary. I also love taking wilderness adventures with my family. In addition to my work at Lyric, I sing regularly with numerous professional and semiprofessional choruses around Chicago. Finally, I spend an inordinate amount of time playing video games, which I find to be one of the most immersive and expansive mediums of storytelling ever imagined. Oh, and nothing beats a long, quiet walk at twilight.

What are you most looking forward to in the 2021 season?

Personal highlights include The Rake’s Progress and our “A Knight to Celebrate” concert honoring the storied two-decade tenure of Sir Andrew Davis.

Photo: Joleen Billingham