February 06, 2023

”This or That” with Will Liverman

Baritone Will Liverman, an alumnus of the Ryan Opera Center and — for the recent recording of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones — a Grammy Award winner, has added co-creator and composer to his long list of impressive credentials with the world premiere of The Factotum.

The first of two Lyric Opera world premieres this season, The Factotum hit the stage at the Harris Theater in early February, taking Chicago’s imagination by storm.

In a recent interview, Will recounted the moment he was struck with the idea of reimagining The Barber of Seville. Sitting at his local barbershop, he found himself wondering why more classics aren’t updated — spinning a new narrative more relevant for today’s audiences.

It’s not about breaking down what opera is, but creating opportunities to expand the possibilities of what opera can be.” - Will Liverman



He described the exploration he underwent as a creator, wanting to tell authentic and moving stories through music and helping guide the way to a viable future for opera — all while longing to bring something to the stage that makes the heart feel good.

The Factotum is infused with a variety of musical styles and focuses on Black joy, taking its shape from the shared experiences that bring us together as a community.

Support for new and authentic stories in opera at Lyric is made possible by our generous donors. You can make a gift this spring to foster creative partnerships and enhance your Lyric experience.

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Will Liverman at Lyric’s 2021 Factotum workshop

We got to know Will beyond the opera stage with an informative rapid-fire Q&A.

I thought it would be fun to do a “This or That” for our audiences! Answer one or the other, whichever one. Okay, so coffee or tea?


Netflix or Hulu?


Thick or thin crust pizza?

Thick crust.

Hip Hop or jazz?

Hip Hop.

Cats or dogs?


Ketchup or mustard?


Italian or French opera?


Mountain or beach?


Car or bike?


Portillo's or Alfie's?

Oh, Portillo's.

That's a Chicago question! Morning or night?


Verdi or Puccini?


Text or phone call?


Sox or cubs?


Thank you to Will for chatting with us and letting us get to know him beyond the opera stage.

Don't forget, through your generosity, you can help support artists like Will as they create new works here at Lyric. 

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Will Liverman, Ryan Opera Center Ensemble member Martin Luther Clark, and members of The Factotum company singing “The Baddest”

Photo credit: Cory Weaver, Andrew Cioffi