June 21, 2021

Bright new stars

Meet the cast of The Magic Flute

Six principal singers, all bright young stars, representing six different nations — that's the exciting prospect in store this season when one of our audiences' favorite operas, Mozart's The Magic Flute, returns to Lyric in a production never seen in Chicago before.

These artists all have growing careers and the world has already learned that they're talents to reckon with. Only two of the six have appeared previously at Lyric. You can expect all of them to be perfectly cast, and together they'll create a truly memorable Mozart ensemble.

Ying Fang

Chinese soprano Ying Fang, who debuted at Lyric as Zerlina in Don Giovanni (2019/20), has enchanted one major house after another. She's earned ecstatic praise for her ideally crystalline voice, as well as a stage presence the New York Observer described as "exquisite...simply perfect." Her portrayal of Pamina in The Magic Flute has already captured the hearts of audiences at the Metropolitan Opera and the Zurich Opera House. Fang has also triumphed at the pinnacle for all great Mozart singers, the Salzburg Festival, and she's enjoyed great successes with major orchestras, among them those of Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Boston, and San Francisco.

Ying Fang: "Deh vieni, non tardar" from The Marriage of Figaro

Pavel Petrov

Belarusian tenor Pavel Petrov is the 2018 winner of Operalia, one of the most prestigious vocal competitions in the world. Petrov owns a shining, captivatingly youthful lyric voice (too bad Tamino in The Magic Flute won't give us a chance to hear his stupendous high C). When he sang Lensky in Eugene Onegin in Graz, Bachtrack cited his "velvet timbre" and "heartrending interpretation...he totally conquered the audience." Petrov's rise to prominence has already encompassed debuts at the Vienna State Opera, the Arena di Verona, Opera Australia, the Salzburg Festival, and the Mikhailovskiy Theatre in St. Petersburg.

Pavel Petrov: "Che gelida manina" from La bohème

Huw Montague Rendall

An exceptionally gifted lyric baritone from England makes his US debut as Lyric's Papageno. Huw Montague Rendall has dazzled audiences not only with his shining, technically immaculate instrument, but also with the terrific communication he achieves as an artist. He's been very successful not only in Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro, Opéra National de Lorraine), but also in roles as varied as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos (Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Élysées), Marcello in La bohème (Berlin's Komische Oper), and Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande (Opéra de Rouen). His portrayal of Pelléas had Forum Opéra taking note of a characterization that was "as luminous as it was fiery."

Huw Montague Rendall: "Papagena! Papagena!" from The Magic Flute

Lila Dufy

The latest representative in France's long tradition of scintillating coloratura sopranos is Lila Dufy, whose Queen of the Night at Lyric will be her most significant career opportunity so far. As you can hear on YouTube in the Countess's entrance scene from Rossini's Le Comte Ory, Dufy rejoices in a stupendously agile voice, governed by a formidable vocal technique. She's currently based in New York as one of eight emerging artists in the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program at Juilliard. During summer 2021 she'll take part in the prestigious Académie d'Aix-en-Provence. She performs in the USA, Canada, and in Europe, where she sang with the Nürnberg Orchestra and is regularly invited by the Opéra du Capitole de Toulouse.

Lila Dufy: "En proie à la tristesse" from Le Comte Ory

Tareq Nazmi

Kuwait-born German bass Tareq Nazmi, Lyric's Sarastro, began his career at the top — the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He's now making his presence felt in Salzburg, Vienna, the Theater St. Gallen (Switzerland), and with the major orchestras of Washington, Paris, and Berlin. He's also been heard at several of Europe's most important recital venues. On YouTube, if you listen to the West German Radio Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, you'll hear Nazmi launch the final movement with his massive voice pouring out effortlessly over a huge range, but also with wonderful warmth and musicality. Avant-Scène Opéra noted after Macbeth in Antwerp that Nazmi had authenticity in his textual projection "to the highest degree, as well as the nobility and depth of tone of a great Banquo."

Tareq Nazmi: "O Freunde" from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Fast-forward to 45:49)

Brenton Ryan

Portraying the vicious Monostatos at Lyric will be American character tenor Brenton Ryan in his return to the company. Previously he made a powerful impression as the Fool in Lyric's new production of Wozzeck (2015/16). He's also sung that role at the Met, where he was featured in his debut as Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio and as Spoletta in Sir David McVicar's new production of Tosca. Ryan has delighted audiences in a wonderfully varied repertoire at many other major companies nationwide, as well as at the Opéra de Monte Carlo, where he debuted as Pedrillo. Forum Opéra praised that portrayal as "amazing for its playfulness, charm, sung in a gleaming, easy voice."

Brenton Ryan: "The Aria of the Worm" from The Ghosts of Versailles

Six exceptional artists — and when they unite on Lyric's stage, all will surely be right with the world.

November 3 – 27, 2021

The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute

Mozart’s miraculous blend of the human and the supernatural, comedy and romance, draws us into a world where a prince, Tamino, and a princess, Pamina, triumph over every obstacle in their search for wisdom and enlightenment, and are finally united in love. This is a gloriously varied score, with the lovers’ soulful arias, the stratospheric vocal fireworks of the villainous Queen of the Night, the subterranean depths of the formidable high priest Sarastro, and the folk-like melodies of the lovable birdcatcher, Papageno. Lyric brings you a critically acclaimed production that pays homage to the silent movies of the 1920s, praised by The Guardian as “a joyous yet profound staging in which animation takes centre stage…[taking] live video to new heights on the opera stage.”

Header photo: Barrie Kosky's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Credit: Cory Weaver/LA Opera