March 22, 2024

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces its spectacular 2024|25 Season

by Michael Solomon

Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced the company's 2024/25 Season, an exciting mix of four classic operas, two contemporary works never before performed in Chicago, three unmissable special concerts and recitals, and a festive 50th anniversary celebration of Lyric's Ryan Opera Center artist-development program.

"I am thrilled with the upcoming season of enduring classics and bold contemporary works that my colleagues and I have planned, and I know Lyric audiences will be delighted by our incredible casts and productions," said Anthony Freud, Lyric's General Director, President & CEO. "Lyric will continue to consistently produce world-class seasons, as both a true cultural hub for all of Chicago and one of the world's great opera companies."

Music Director Enrique Mazzola, General Director Anthony Freud, and Chief Artistic Administration officer Matthew Ozawa announce Lyric's 2024/25 Season in a conversation with press.

The company's 70th anniversary season opens with Verdi's epic of vengeance: Rigoletto, September 14–October 6, 2024, conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola in his sixth Verdi opera at Lyric. Directed by Mary Birnbaum in her Lyric debut, this Lyric production stars Igor Golovatenko in the title role, Mané Galoyan as Gilda and Javier Camarena as the Duke of Mantua in their Lyric debuts, and Soloman Howard as Sparafucile.

The season continues with Beethoven's timely political opera Fidelio, not seen at Lyric in 20 years, on stage September 26–October 10, 2024. Fidelio is conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola — his first outing with Beethoven's powerful score  — and directed by Matthew Ozawa, whose work as a stage director at Lyric includes Don Quichotte in the 2016/17 Season and Nabucco in the 2015/16 Season and who joined its administration as Chief Artistic Administration Officer in 2022. This new-to-Chicago production stars Elza van den Heever and Russell Thomas as the lovers Leonore and Florestan, as well as Brian Mulligan as Pizarro and Mika Kares as Rocco.

To salute the 2024/25 Season, one of musical theater's most legendary stars will headline Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes on Friday, October 4, 2024. This brand-new show, never before seen in Chicago, is LuPone's "personal musical memoir" and will commemorate key moments in her life through song. Following the performance, Lyric's Season Opening Gala continues the celebratory spirit of the evening.

November brings a pair of operas that celebrate opera's noble past while pointing to the future of the art form. Mozart's beloved comic masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, on stage November 9–30, 2024, is directed by Chicago Shakespeare Theater founder Barbara Gaines and conducted by Erina Yashima in her Lyric debut. Mozart's sublime music will be sung by an all-star cast: Peter Kellner in his Lyric debut as Figaro, Ying Fang as Susanna, Federica Lombardi in her Lyric debut as Countess Almaviva, Gordon Bintner in his Lyric debut as Count Almaviva, and Ryan Opera Center alumna Kayleigh Decker as Cherubino.

In repertory with one of opera's most enduring favorites is one of opera's newest modern classics: Blue, by composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson, which was named the Best New Opera of 2019 by the Music Critics Association of North America. The opera, at Lyric November 16–December 1, 2024, follows a Black police officer and his wife as they grapple with the killing of their son at the hands of a white police officer. Gospel-influenced music and vivid flashbacks capture the grief of a family and community navigating loss. This Lyric co-production, originally scheduled for the conclusion of the 2019/20 Season but postponed due to the pandemic, is conducted by Joseph Young and directed by Thompson, both in their Lyric debuts. Blue stars Kenneth Kellogg in his Lyric debut as the Father, Chicago native Zoie Reams as the Mother, and Norman Garrett as the Reverend.

Pianist Jerad Mosbey and soprano Gabriella Reyes (Musetta) perform excerpts from Puccini's La Bohème at Lyric's Season Launch event.

The internationally celebrated (and Berwyn-born) Sondra Radvanovsky is an artist beloved by Lyric audiences. Following the sold-out sensation of her innovative 2019 concert program The Three Queens and her season-opening star turn as Lady Macbeth in the 2021/22 Season (as well as many other leading roles at Lyric), Radvanovsky returns to Lyric for another unique project: Sondra Radvanovsky in Concert: The Puccini Heroines, featuring the Lyric Opera Orchestra conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola, for three performances only, February 8–16, 2025. Radvanovsky and Mazzola are working in partnership to create a new and original program that highlights arias from each of Puccini's 12 operas, from Le Villi to Turandot. Audiences will hear some of opera's most popular arias and discover some of Puccini's lesser-known gems in a concert event that will redefine the term "show-stopping."

Puccini's unforgettable music returns for a longer stay when La Bohème takes the stage in a gloriously detailed new-to-Chicago production, March 15–April 12, 2025. Conducted by Jordan de Souza, who led Lyric's shimmering Florencia en el Amazonas in the 2021/22 Season, and directed by Melanie Bacaling in her Lyric debut, the production features Pene Pati in his Lyric debut as Rodolfo and a thrilling cast of returning stars, including Ailyn Pérez as Mimì, Gabriella Reyes as Musetta, Will Liverman as Marcello, and Peixin Chin as Colline.

Paired with the classic La Bohème is another contemporary work in its Chicago premiere: The Listeners, by the celebrated team of composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, March 30–April 11, 2025. Mazzoli and Vavrek received enormous critical praise for their 2016 collaboration Breaking the Waves, which won the inaugural Best New Opera Award from the Music Critics Association of North America and was shortlisted for the "Best World Premiere" Prize at the International Opera Awards. Co-commissioned and co-produced by Lyric, Norwegian National Opera, and Opera Philadelphia, The Listeners was met with thunderous applause when it premiered in Oslo in 2021. Based on a story by novelist Jordan Tannahill, the work is a dark and psychologically charged thriller about a woman's descent into manipulation by a charismatic group leader, and explores how she finds unexpected community and family during a time of crisis. Conducted by Lyric's Music Director Enrique Mazzola, who won great acclaim for his mastery with contemporary work with Terence Blanchard's Champion in the 2023/24 Season, and directed by the exciting theater director Lileana Blain-Cruz in her much-anticipated Lyric debut, The Listeners stars Nicole Heaston in her Lyric debut as Claire, Kyle Ketelsen as Howard, Jasmine Habersham in her Lyric debut as Ashley, Jonas Hacker as Kyle, and Daniela Mack as Angela.

Lyric's annual Season Launch event drew a lively crowd as company leadership shared exciting news about the upcoming season.

Lyric concludes its regular season with Lyric in Concert: A Wondrous Sound, April 16 and 18, 2025. Maestro Mazzola will design an original program of some of opera's choral favorites and most thrilling overtures — perfect for opera aficionados and newcomers alike — that shows off the truly grand scale of the more than 100 artists of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. 

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric's renowned artist-development program, celebrates its 50th anniversary during the 2024/25 Season. The program's annual Rising Stars in Concert on Friday, April 25, 2025, will be a particularly special occasion to mark this milestone. It will feature the 2024/25 Ensemble performing with the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Lyric's Music Director Enrique Mazzola and directed by Lyric's own Matthew Ozawa. Many familiar faces will return to Lyric to celebrate the program's 50 years of excellence in training the next generation of opera stars.

"We are once again bringing a wide range of operas and other experiences to Lyric audiences — there are so many ways to experience the joy of live performance together," said Lyric's Music Director Enrique Mazzola. "I love working with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and I look forward to deepening my mentorship work with the artists in our Ryan Opera Center and continuing to forge deeper, long-lasting partnerships with other artists and organizations in town. Now more than ever, this is my 'Sweet home, Chicago.'"

For more information on Lyric's 2024/25 Season, visit

Header photo: Lyric's 2015/16 production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro directed by Barbara Gaines, credit: Robert Kusel

All other photos: Todd Rosenberg