May 06, 2020

New programming added to Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020/21 Season

Audiences now have more thrilling performances to look forward to this spring. Lyric has announced several new virtual programs that will be free for all to stream on demand in 2021. These include a concert honoring Sir Andrew Davis as his 21-year tenure as Lyric’s music director comes to an end; a new approach to the annual Rising Stars in Concert by The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble; a celebration of Broadway with an exciting musical theater cabaret; and a new initiative offering on-demand audio streaming of select Lyric archival operatic productions.

“This year has been extremely challenging, both for Lyric and for arts institutions around the world, but we are continuing to embrace the opportunity to create art designed for digital platforms,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s president, general director and CEO, “We are excited about our upcoming programs this season and to continue to push boundaries to make Lyric and the operatic artform even more appealing and accessible in seasons to come.”

The first to launch on Monday, March 15 will be Lyric Opera Streaming On Demand, a series of complete live opera performances from past Lyric seasons made available here and through a variety of music streaming platforms for listeners around the world to enjoy. The first set of recordings to be released March 15 will include Luisa Miller (2019) starring Krassimira Stoyanova, Joseph Calleja, Quinn Kelsey, Solomon Howard, and Christian Van Horn—conducted by Enrique Mazzola; The Queen of Spades (2020) starring Brandon Jovanovich, Sondra Radvanovsky, Lucas Meachem, and Samuel Youn—conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; and Die Walküre (2017) starring Christine Goerke, Eric Owens, Brandon Jovanovich, and Elisabet Strid—conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

More Lyric Opera Streaming On Demand releases will follow over the coming months: Lucia di Lammermoor (2016), Les Troyens (2016), and Rusalka (2014) will be released the week of April 15; Don Giovanni (2014), I puritani (2018), Rigoletto (2017), and La bohème (2018) will be released the week of May 10; Il trovatore (2018) and Elektra (2019) will be released the week of June 1; and six additional titles will be released in June, to be announced at a later date.

Members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble will be front and center in the annual showcase, Rising Stars in Concert premiering Thursday, April 29 at 7:00 pm CT. The program will feature a wonderful selection of operatic gems, highlighting the talented artists from one of the world’s leading artist-development programs, with accompaniment provided by Ryan Opera Center pianist Chris Reynolds and a chamber ensemble of Lyric Opera Orchestra members, led by conductor Christopher Allen.

In salute to Sir Andrew Davis’s final season as music director, Lyric will celebrate his more than three decades of making music at Lyric, which began with his debut as guest conductor in 1987 and has continued since he became music director in 2000. The virtual concert Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinsky will premiere Sunday, May 16 at 2:00 pm CT and will feature Sir Andrew conducting excerpts from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (the first opera he conducted at Lyric) and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. These would have been the last operas he would have conducted as music director this spring and will be performed by members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Chorus, and a starry lineup of guest artists.

The phenomenal cast includes Janai Brugger as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro and Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress; Amanda Majeski as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro; Kayleigh Decker in the trouser role of Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro; Matthew Polenzani as Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress; and Kyle Ketelsen as both Figaro and Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress. Audiences will also hear tributes from several favorite Lyric artists, sharing recollections about working with Sir Andrew as a conductor, mentor, music enthusiast, and colleague.

“Sir Andrew Davis is one of the most distinguished and beloved artists in the world and has made an amazing impact on this company throughout his tenure,” said Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO. “As he moves through his final year as our music director, we plan to celebrate him with a very special concert event this spring.”

Broadway fans rejoice! On Monday, Thursday, June 10 at 7pm CT Lyric will premiere The New Classics: Songs from the New Golden Age of Musical Theater—a virtual cabaret with a star-studded cast of Broadway and Lyric favorites. The evening will highlight the best of new and old Broadway, and will also touch on the history of the Lyric Opera House space.

Emmy and Grammy nominated David Chase, who conducted Lyric’s productions of Carousel, The King and I, and My Fair Lady, will serve as music director and pianist, joined by members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra. Chase has worked on over forty Broadway and West End productions as either the dance arranger, music director, or music supervisor. Chase has created many musical arrangements for the Boston Pops, Kennedy Center Honors, Radio City Music Hall, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the upcoming Schmigadoon!. More details on the casting of this exciting cabaret will be announced in the coming weeks.

Lyric is also preparing for the Chicago premiere of Twilight: Gods, the radical reimagining of the final chapter of Wagner's epic Ring cycle. This drive-through opera, conceived and directed by Yuval Sharon with new narrative poetry written and performed by Chicago artist avery r. young, will be presented on April 28, 30, and May 2 at the Millennium Park Parking Garage. Tickets will be $125 per car, and will be offered to subscribers and donors with first priority.

The Twilight: Gods cast includes Catherine Martin as Waltraute, Sean Panikkar as Siegfried, Morris Robinson as Hagen, and Donnie Ray Albert as Alberich. The Rhinemaidens will be played by three current Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members; Maria Novella Malfatti, Katherine Beck, and Kathleen Felty.

In the meantime, Lyric has hours of content available to stream immediately, including Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter, Pasión Latina, Sole e Amore (Sun and Love), and Creating The Factotum. More digital programming will be added soon: Magical Music Around the World, the Ryan Opera Center’s entertaining, cabaret-style program premieres Sunday, March 21 at 6:00 pm CT; Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola, featuring a cast of world-renowned principal artists, premieres Sunday, April 11 at 2:00 pm CT; The Sonata Sessions digital series with Enrique Mazzola conducting each of Rossini’s string sonatas will premiere weekly starting in mid-March, and The Great Verdi Chorus Showdown will include performances of six grand Verdi choruses and will be released in April.

More details on these programs will be announced in the weeks and months ahead, so make sure to check back often for the latest news. Sign up for our weekly emails and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter. Until we can be together in the Lyric Opera House again, we’re thrilled to share these virtual programs with you, and we hope they bring as much joy to you as they have for us.

Photos credit: Cory Weaver, Todd Rosenberg, Kyle Flubacker, Mitty Carter/Michigan Opera Theater