March 06, 2019

A Sneak Peek: The Music of "Bel Canto"

The debut of Bel Canto is right around the corner (performances run December 7 – January 17),  Lyric Opera is buzzing with the energy of creating a world premiere that is already drawing international audience and critical attention.

Inspired by real-life events, Ann Pachett’s best-selling 2001 novel Bel Canto explores an international crisis that exploded, resulting in dozens of hostages being held captive in the home of a political dignitary. The story that has captivated readers around the world is making its way to the Lyric Opera stage, curated by Lyric's creative consultant Renée Fleming. Composed by Jimmy López with libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo CruzBel Canto will be sung in Spanish, English, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Latin, and Quechua, with projected English titles.

Recently, we were invited into an early rehearsal of Bel Canto, led by Lyric chorus master Michael Black and featuring the men of the Lyric Opera Chorus. With only piano accompaniment representing the full orchestral score, listen to some of López's haunting melodies revealed in the rehearsal room!

Also enjoy a preview of how the opera came together featuring author Ann Patchett and composer Jimmy López below.

Lyric Opera world premiere generously made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Helen and Sam Zell, Ethel and William Gofen, Ada and Whitney Addington, the Walter E. Heller Foundation, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Prince Charitable Trusts.

Bel Canto was created with funds from the Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work, which was awarded to Jimmy López and Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2013.

Steingraeber & Söhne is the Official Piano of Lyric’s new production of Bel Canto, in partnership with the Grand Piano Haus, Skokie, Illinois.
Steingraeber & Söhne Grand Piano Haus

Photo: Andrew Cioffi