June 30, 2020
Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: A virtual event on July 26
Each year, Chicago music lovers look forward to enjoying an evening of beautiful music under the stars at Millennium Park with Lyric Opera of Chicago. When it became clear that this year’s outdoor community concert event—like so many other special occasions—would not be possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state restrictions on group gatherings, Lyric knew the music needed to continue. Organizations across the performing arts world have been moving quickly to adapt performances to digital platforms, and on July 26, Lyric will be doing the same. A virtual concert provided the perfect opportunity to completely reimagine the concert—so Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center brought in world-renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee to work with Grammy-Award winning Ryan Opera Center Music Director, Craig Terry, and create a concert amplifying Black voices and celebrating the depth and breadth of artistry of people of color.
Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter will be a free virtual concert at 6pm on Sunday, July 26th, streaming live on Lyric's YouTube channel and Facebook page. This concert will feature prominent Black Ryan Opera Center alumni—soprano Whitney Morrison, mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, and baritone Will Liverman. It will also feature three current 2020/21 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members—tenor Martin Luther Clark, baritone Leroy Davis, and African tenor Lunga Eric Hallam. Performances will be accompanied by Grammy-Award winning Ryan Opera Center music director, Craig Terry, and Chris Reynolds, current Ensemble pianist. The Lyric Opera Orchestra will also be featured in one classical movement, performing virtually from their homes. All of the performing artists selected their own repertoire, which will include a variety of music and/or text by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) artists, as well as selections by other vocal composers.
This concert event signifies a reinvigorated commitment to listening to and lifting up the voices of BIPOC people at Lyric. Craig Terry shared, “We recognize that artists of color have not had equitable platforms from which to be heard. Collectively, we must do all that we can to bring about significant, permanent change. We hope this concert helps illustrate Lyric’s commitment to celebrating the depth, breadth, and virtuosity of the artistry of people of color in our community and on our stages.” The event title recognizes the event as an expanded next chapter to a wonderfully successful, sold-out Lawrence Brownlee and Friends community concert event that was held in Fall 2019 at the Lyric Opera House.