March 06, 2019

Behind the Scenes of "Bel Canto"

Bel Canto, the brand-new opera based on the best-selling novel by Ann Pachett, will have its world premiere at Lyric on December 7! In anticipation of the premiere, Lyric is excited to offer audiences exclusive musical sneak peeks, free events, and online resources all designed to explore the process of taking a story from the page to the stage. Performances run through January 17. Secure tickets here as they are going fast!    

Check out what’s to come for this world premiere!

Aria: Bel Canto composer Jimmy López and soprano Danielle de Niese (who sings the leading role of Roxane Coss) recently invited us to hear a sneak preview from the opera. Danielle sings a riveting aria, “You were destined to come here,” accompanied by López. With only the white Steingraeber & Söhne piano by her side, de Niese performs the emotional and haunting song that conveys the power of love and longing.  

Bel Canto: You Were Destined to Come Here


Origins: Composer Jimmy López and director Kevin Newbury discuss the unexpected string of events that led to their involvement in creating the world-premiere production of Bel Canto. You might be surprised to learn their stories include YouTube and a swanky Chicago party! 

Bel Canto: The Origins


Free event: On Wednesday, December 2, at 6pm, join the Bel Canto creative team as they discuss the evolution of the opera. This lively conversation, presented by Lyric Unlimited, will feature composer Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz, conductor and Lyric music director Sir Andrew Davis, soprano Danielle de Niese, and director Kevin Newbury. It will be moderated by Lyric’s dramaturg Roger Pines. The event is free to the public, but capacity is limited and ticketed attendees will receive priority seating. 

Bel Canto

Composed by Jimmy López 
Libretto by Nilo Cruz 
Based on the novel by Ann Patchett

Lyric Opera Commentaries are sponsored by the Patrick G. and Shirley Welsh Ryan Foundation in memory of their parents.

© 2015/16 Lyric Opera Commentaries
All rights reserved. Recording & Production services provided by Mark Travis.
A project of the Women's Board.

Guides:  Bel Canto may be new to the opera stage, but the novel has been captivating readers since 2001.  Avid readers and book-club members are excited to see their beloved novel adapted into an operatic production. To enhance the experience, book clubs are encouraged to view the online Bel Canto Book Club Discussion Guide here. If you are interested in learning more about the process of taking Bel Canto from the book page to the opera stage, click here to view the Bel Canto opera guide. 

Live stream video: 
Bel Canto author Ann Pachett and Lyric’s creative consultant Renée Fleming recently sat down in front of a sold-out audience at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center to discuss the process of making a novel into an opera. In case you missed it, you can watch a replay of the event here: 

A Conversation with Bel Canto author Ann Patchett and Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming


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