June 17, 2021

Lyric Family Favorites: June 18

Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) was America's first prominent Black composer. He was also an outstanding arranger and had a superb baritone voice. Two of his most beautiful concert songs come from the set of five he composed to texts of Laurence Hope, each sung by an unhappy lover. His marvelous understanding and appreciation of the human voice is on full display in these two: “Worth While” & “Till I Wake,” sung by baritone Leroy Davis (a second-year Ryan Opera Center ensemble member) for Lawrence Brownlee & Friends: The Next Chapter.

Plus, learn the history behind the Civic Theatre, watch Matthew Polenzani sing "Here I Stand" from The Rake’s Progress, and see the Juno Award acceptance speech for the Thaïs recording conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and featuring several Lyric favorites.

History of the Civic Theatre

If you watched The New Classics: Songs from the New Golden Age of Musical Theater, you probably noticed the intimate cabaret-like feel of the stage. The concert was filmed in an area that once was the Civic Theatre, housed inside of the Lyric Opera House. Learn more about this historic space and its role in Chicago arts history.

Get the facts

Matthew Polenzani sings “Here I Stand”

Yesterday was the birthday of one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky. In this excerpt from Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinsky, former Ryan Opera Center tenor Matthew Polenzani sings “Here I Stand” from Stravinsky’s English-language masterpiece The Rake’s Progress.

Congratulations Sir Andrew Davis

Congratulations to Sir Andrew Davis, who conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's recording of Thaïs, winner of the 2021 Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral. The album featured beloved Ryan Opera Center alumna Erin Wall, who was tragically lost to cancer last year, as well as Joshua Hopkins, Andrew Staples, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Congratulations to all on this prestigious annual award.

Watch the acceptance speech

Photos: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Kyle Flubacker, Todd Rosenberg