March 06, 2019

A Duet of Can't-Miss Productions: Carmen and Eugene Onegin

Two of opera’s biggest blockbusters opened at Lyric in February! With unforgettable tunes and dazzling choreography, Bizet’s Carmen is one of this winter’s hottest tickets. Eugene Onegin will capture your heart with an all-star cast and glorious music. Don’t take our word for it—here is a sampling of critical acclaim from around the city.

Eleonora Buratto and Takaoki Onishi in Carmen

The Chicago Sun-Times says “the Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Carmen captures her, and all those caught in her web, at their very best, with Bizet’s ravishing score driving this fateful love-and-death story with ideal dramatic force and vocal beauty.” The production is “stunningly directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran Rob Ashford” with “David Rockwell’s handsome sets, Donald Holder’s fiery lighting and Julie Weiss’s costumes adding to the overall feel.” 

Eleonora Buratto and Takaoki Onishi in Carmen.

Carmen’s cast is earning rave reviews as well.  “If ever there was an opera role made to order for [Joseph] Calleja's superb tenor, it's Don José. The part may be a relatively recent addition to his repertory, but vocally and dramatically he gripped one's attention as the young man's passion for Carmen became more and more desperate, his jealousy more heated the more she rebuffed him,” raves the Chicago Tribune

Joseph Calleja and Ekaterina Gubanova in Carmen.

NewCity says “Ekaterina Gubanova sings Carmen with a smoky sparkle that continuously delights…Eleonora Buratto (Micaëla) is just right, her voluptuous voice easily soaring to a top graced with the finest filigree of copper.”

Ana María Martínez in Eugene Onegin.

Tchaikovsky’s unabashedly romantic masterpiece Eugene Onegin opened February 26, and the Chicago Tribune says “a fine-tuned ensemble under revival director Paula Suozzi brings it off beautifully,” praising Ana María Martínez's debut as Tatiana as "right on the money, climaxing in the soaring lyricism of the famous letter aria" while raving about Mariusz Kwiecień’s "focused, velvety baritone" as the title character in "this most popular opera of the Russian repertory." As Lensky, Charles Castronovo delivered “an impassioned, affecting account” that “brought down the house.”

Mariusz Kwiecień and Ana María Martínez in Eugene Onegin.

The Chicago Reader says, “This stunning production of Tchaikovsky’s late 19th-century operatic take on Pushkin’s early 19th-century novel in verse is a piece of minimalist magic that uses light, color, and a nearly bare stage to create an environment that’s the visual embodiment of a lushly lyrical score.”

Mariusz Kwiecień and Charles Castronovo in Eugene Onegin

Lyric Opera presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin generously made possible by

Margot and Josef Lakonishok

Henry M. and Gilda R. Buchbinder

Marion A. Cameron

 Production owned by the Canadian Opera Company, originally created for The Metropolitan Opera. 

New Lyric Opera coproduction of Bizet’s Carmen generously made possible by

Harris Family Foundation

James N. and Laurie V. Bay

Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel and John H. Krehbiel, Jr.

Mazza Foundation

Seymour H. Persky Charitable Trust

Coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera.

Photos: Todd Rosenberg, Andrew Cioffi