April 17, 2019

Lyric 101: Getting Around

Posted 9/20/2017

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!

Lyric Opera of Chicago has called this historic building home since 1954. Its elaborate design reflects the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles that were popular at the time of its construction. The 3,563-seat auditorium features impeccable sightlines, with no obstructed views of the largest stage in the city of Chicago. Upon walking into the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer, guests are greeted with Austrian crystal chandeliers, towering 40-foot columns topped with carved capitals covered in gold leaf, and pink-and-grey Tennessee marble floors. The architecture and history of the building is as intriguing as the many operas performed each night in the Ardis Krainik Theatre! For an up-close look at company’s history, check out the rotating exhibit in the Opera Club, located on the lower level of the opera house.

Though the building may be historic, its facilities are not. At Lyric, our goal is to bring the joy of the opera to everyone. As such, we strive to ensure that the Lyric Opera House is accessible to those who are differently abled. Restrooms are located on every floor of the opera house, with accessible, all-gender restrooms on the first floor. Click here for information on wheelchair seating, service animals, braille/large print programs, touch tours, audio-described performances, and more. 

If you’ve opted to pick up your tickets at the Box Office, you will find it located on the right hand side of the main entrance, just inside the first set of doors. During the opera season, the Box Office is open from noon to 6:00pm Monday through Friday (noon through the first intermission for evening performances), and noon through the first intermission on Saturdays and Sundays if there is a performance. Summer box office hours (through September 22) are noon to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Once inside, if you have questions about your tickets or need assistance look for the Audience Services table in the lobby.

While you’re here, why not make an evening of it and enjoy some dinner? There are plenty of dining options in and around the opera house. Stop by the Florian Opera Bistro on the third floor for a selection of gourmet sandwiches and desserts (as well as a full bar) available during intermission as well as pre- and post-performance. For an elegant, prix fixe dining option, make a reservation at the Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room. Enjoy signature entrées created by Chicago’s top chefs and restaurateurs with our new Featured Chef program. The Pedersen Room also features new décor and a wine list specially curated by Master Sommelier and restaurateur Alpana Singh. Looking for a quicker fix? Stop by Lyric’s new Sushi Bar, open for every Friday evening performance in the Rice Grand Foyer as well as all evening performances of Die Walküre. 

Skip the line at intermission by pre-ordering drinks and snacks from Concessions before the show. The bartender will have them ready for you as soon as the intermission begins! Concessions are located in the foyer and on select upper levels of the opera house; all stations are equipped with a full bar. Stop by to try one of our signature opera-inspired cocktails! Additionally, Cheers! Champagne Bar will be making its debut in our foyer this season, open for all performances and offering a lavish assortment of sparkling wines, champagnes, mimosas, and Bellinis. 

In search of a souvenir? Visit the OperaShop, located in the main lobby! From hats to hoodies, we’ve got it all. The kiosk is open through the end of intermission, and products are always available online. 

Still have questions? Send them to our resident opera answer man, Roger Pines, at AskRoger@lyricopera.org or tweet them @LyricOpera with the hashtag #LyricRoger!