June 24, 2019
A devastating story, a heartbreaking reality. Lyric Unlimited presents BLUE.
This season, Lyric Unlimited, the branch of Lyric Opera that brought you Charlie Parker’s YARBIRD, Fellow Travelers, and An American Dream, brings you its newest chamber opera Blue. A co-production with Washington National Opera and Glimmerglass Festival, Blue is written by Tony-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home; Caroline, Or Change) and NAACP Theatre Award-winner Tazewell Thompson. Thompson will also direct this premiere, which will take place at the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in June, 2020.
Blue centers on an African American couple awaiting the birth of their son with both hope and fear. As the baby grows into a young man, the mother worries for his future, and the father tries to prepare his son for the realities of 21st-century America while wrestling with his own identity as a police officer, a "Black man in blue." When their deepest fears come true, the family is forced to navigate a devastating reality, seeking answers and support from their church and community.
Tesori and Thompson source contemporary events and Black literature, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, as inspiration for this groundbreaking piece. Leading up to performances, Lyric Unlimited will host a series of ancillary events that aim to promote dialogue and discussion around the social issues and realities raised in Blue, as well as events celebrating Black artistry and creativity. More details on these events will be announced at a later date.
Lyric is excited to welcome an illustrious team of creative artists to collaborate on this production. Bass Kenneth Kellogg and tenor Aaron Crouch, who appear in the Glimmerglass and WNO productions, will reprise their roles as Father and Son. Mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven leads as Mother and baritone Mark Rucker sings the role of the Reverend. Viswa Subbaramen will conduct. The new production features a set designed by Donald Eastman, costumes by Jessica Jahn, and lighting by Robert Wierzel.
Tickets are on sale now for this brand-new opera. Given the limited number of performances, you'll want to reserve tickets now so as not to miss the latest work presented as part of Lyric Unlimited’s commitment to produce new artistic initiatives surrounding socially relevant themes, to expand the boundaries of storytelling, to ask important questions, and to seek to redefine the audience for opera.