March 06, 2019

Announcing Lyric's 2017/18 Season

The excitement is already building for 2017/18 at Lyric!  We’ve recently announced the season, and we hope you’re looking forward to all the fabulous productions and special events that make every Lyric season a joy for all Chicago opera lovers.

We open the season with a dazzling new production of Orphée et Eurydice. This is Gluck’s beautiful retelling of the Greek myth of Orphée, whose love leads him to brave the dangers of the Underworld to bring back his beloved wife. For the first time at Lyric, we’ll be presenting this opera in its French version, and with Orphée as a tenor (rather than baritone or countertenor, as in past Lyric productions). In this collaboration between Lyric, The Joffrey Ballet, LA Opera, and Staatsoper Hamburg, it’s thrilling to have the great American choreographer John Neumeier not only creating the extensive dance element of the opera but also serving as director and set, costume, and lighting designer. As Orphée the exciting young Russian tenor, Dmitry Korchak, will make what promises to be a terrific Lyric debut!

Orphée et Eurydice

Two other French works will add even more luster to the season. The Pearl Fishers, Bizet’s exotic tale of ancient Ceylon with the romantic triangle of an exotic priestess (Marina Rebeka) and the two men who love her (Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecień, who triumphed together in this opera last season at the Met). Later in the season Gounod’s glorious Faust, one of the world’s most popular operas for more than 150 years — in which an old philosopher sells his soul to the devil in exchange for youth — returns to Lyric in Kevin Newbury’s new production starring Ryan Opera Center alumni Erin Wall and Christian Van Horn, with a spectacularly gifted French tenor, Benjamin Bernheim, in his American debut.


In the final Faust performance the leading lady will be Ana María Martínez, who will also star in the return of Mozart’s Così fan tutte to the Lyric stage next season. This “school for lovers” — in which two couples learn a great deal about each other! — will be a joy as sung by a cast that also includes the legendary Alessandro Corbelli, as well as Joshua Hopkins, Antonio Poli, Marianne Crebassa, and debuting Russian soprano Elena Tsallagova.



Italian opera will be strongly represented by three Lyric favorites: Verdi’s Rigoletto, a riveting tale of misguided love and desperate revenge (featuring some of opera’s most beloved melodies), with Ryan Opera Center alumni Quinn Kelsey and Matthew Polenzani, two of the most sought-after singers in the world; Bellini’s I Puritani, a grand historical drama that will be a feast of spectacular vocalism, starring Albina Shagimuratova and Lawrence Brownlee; and Turandot, Puccini’s glorious final opera, in which the beauties and mysteries of ancient Peking will be revealed in the tale of an ice-hearted princess, portrayed by Ryan Opera Center alumna Amber Wagner. 

Die Walküre

Lyric’s remarkable music director, Sir Andrew Davis, will be on the podium for the second part of Wagner’s Ring cycle, a brand-new production of Die Walküre, plus The Pearl Fishers and Turandot.  We’ll also welcome the return of other outstanding conductors — Marco Armiliato, Harry Bicket, Enrique Mazzola, Robert Tweten, Emmanuel Villaume, and — in his Lyric debut — James Gaffigan.

Jesus Christ Superstar

With special events including our spring musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, the Chicago premiere of Gregory Spears’s brilliant new opera Fellow Travelers (at the Athenaeum Theatre), the world-renowned Polish tenor Piotr Beczała in recital, and a special concert, Celebrating 100 Years of Bernstein, the season has something special for everyone.  

Photos: Reed Hummell/Nashville Opera, Kiran West/Hamburg Ballet, Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera, Die Walküre costume design by Marie-Jeanne Lecca, Ken Howard/San Diego Opera, Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera, Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera, Faust production design by John Frame/scenic design and rendering by Vita Tzykun, David Jensen/Regent's Park Open Air Theatre