March 06, 2019

Lyric Unlimited is All Around the Town

ILyric Unlimited, Lyric’s department devoted to education, community engagement, and new artistic initiatives, is pleased to present unique and stimulating events taking place all over the city. From a chamber music concert to photo exhibits and panel talks, there’s something for everyone! Learn more about our upcoming events:  

Join Lyric and members of the renowned Lyric Opera Orchestra on Saturday, November 12, for An Afternoon of Chamber Music by Mozart. Beginning at 2pm at St. James Cathedral, (66 E. Huron St., Chicago; enter on Wabash St.), orchestra members will perform intimate works inspired by Lyric’s 2016/17 mainstage season. The program will include selections from The Magic Flute for wind octet arranged by Joseph Heidenreich and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581. General admission seating is only $25 and tickets are available online now.

In conjunction with Lyric Unlimited’s groundbreaking Chicago Voices initiative, Chicago Voices VIEW celebrates multi-genre Chicago vocalists, both historic and contemporary, in three noteworthy photographic exhibitions around the city. The exhibitions, running concurrently over three months this winter, will be open to the public at these locations: 

  • West Side: Homan Square, 3517 W. Arthington St.
  • South Side: Ancien Cycles & Café, 1558 E. 53rd St.
  • North Side: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

The photo exhibitions pay homage to some of the most creative and influential vocalists in America over the past 100 years, all of whom have ties to Chicago. Some of the high-powered talents featured include blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf; the “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson; “King of Soul” Sam Cooke; Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder; Wilco singer/ songwriter Jeff Tweedy; and beloved folksinger and songwriter Steve Goodman. Each of the exhibition locations will feature its own unique collection of photographs of vocalists who grew up, lived in, or have ties to the area.   

Artists who have contributed to this exhibition include renowned music photographer Paul Natkin, journalist and photographer Sue Cassidy Clark, blues photographer John Rockwood, and photographer and filmmaker Christopher Hall. Also featured will be classic photographs from the archives of Ebony Magazine, Chicago History Museum, Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, and The Library of Congress.

Chicago Voices VIEW is partnering with a graduate management class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to curate this exhibit.  

Chicago Voices TALK, a series of panel discussions and live performances presented in partnership with the Chicago History Museum, kicks off in January. The talks will focus on Chicago’s colorful vocal history and the pioneers who have contributed to the gospel, classical, and hip-hop musical genres. 

Ayana Contreras, WBEZ contributor and host of Vocalo’s Reclaimed Soul, will moderate the three panels, which will feature music experts, dynamic live performances from local Chicago artists, and Q&A sessions with the audience. The Chicago Voices TALK panels will explore various topics and also highlight several vocalists who will be honored at the Chicago Voices Gala Concert on February 4, 2017, at Lyric’s Civic Opera House.

The panels will focus on Gospel (January 15, 5pm), Classical (January 24, 7pm), and Hip-Hop (January 31, 7pm). Tickets for the general public will be available through the Chicago History Museum beginning on November 14. For more information, visit

The next time you’re in the opera house, make sure you visit the Opera Club exhibition, Sing Your Story, on the lower level! This exhibit, featuring the work of Chicago photographer Jaclyn Simpson, celebrates the Chicago Voices Community Created Performances initiative, original music-theater works created and performed by community groups using a core element of opera: storytelling through song.

Photo: Elliot Mandel Photography/Courtesy Rush Hour Concerts