March 06, 2019

A Love Story for the Ages: "Romeo and Juliet"

Beginning February 22, Lyric will present nine performances of Romeo and Juliet in a new-to-Chicago production! This coincides with Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a yearlong international arts festival to commemorate the quadricentennial of William Shakespeare’s death. Known as one of the greatest poets and playwrights to have ever lived, Shakespeare is alive and well today in spirit through his works more than ever. 

Shakespeare 400 Chicago will showcase how the words of Shakespeare still resonate with Chicagoans from all walks of life. The campaign will bring together various cultural institutions including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Art Institute of Chicago, along with Chicago Public Libraries and the Chicago Park District, to present multifaceted events to Chicago-area  residents and visitors. The festival will engage more than 500,000 Chicagoans with roughly 850 events celebrating Shakespeare throughout the year. Lyric’s contribution is an operatic  take on the playwright’s most famous love story: Romeo and Juliet.

Directed by Bartlett Sher in his Lyric debut, the production runs February 22 through March 19. Juliet will be soprano Susanna Phillips, Romeo is portrayed by tenors Joseph Calleja and Eric Cutler (the latter sings the role in the last three performances).  Composed by Charles Gounod in 1867, Romeo and Juliet brims with the iconic scenes and characters from Shakespeare’s unforgettable tragedy, that tells the classic, deeply romantic story of feuding families and star-crossed lovers. The opera features four iconic love duets, a spectacular duel scene, dazzling costumes, and of course, unforgettable music from the chorus and orchestra, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. 

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has proved to be a love story for the ages, and Lyric is excited to present the dazzling, devastatingly beautiful operatic masterpiece this winter! 

Lyric Opera presentation generously made possible by the NIB FoundationJulie and Roger BaskesMr. and Mrs. W. James Farrell, and PowerShares QQQ.

Production owned by The Metropolitan Opera.

Photos: Matthias Baus/Salzburg Festival