Welcome to Lyric. Your new seat awaits you!

When performances resume in Spring 2021, a new seating plan will be waiting for you in the Ardis Krainik Theatre. Thanks to a generous gift from an Anonymous Donor in support of Lyric's Patron Accessibility Initiative, brand new seats are set to be in place throughout the house.

At the conclusion of this exciting new renovation project, the opera house will open with

  • Lush, state-of-the-art seats throughout the theater with a pleasing ergonomic design

  • New Main Floor seating configuration that provides staggered design for better views that will parallel the graduated views offered on upper floors

  • Wider aisles for improved entrance and exit flow

  • Increased accessibility with more wheelchair-accessible seating

We look forward to welcoming you back when we open our doors and hope you enjoy your performances in our newly improved theater.

Renovations begin at the Lyric Opera House

Learn more about the ongoing renovation from Lyric's General Director Anthony Freud.

Out with the old, in with the new! As soon as we received word that our shipment of seats was on its way to Chicago, Stagehands began removing the old seats from the main floor and balconies of the Ardis Krainik Theater. The gilded end panels were carefully removed from each aisle seat and will be sent to North Carolina where they will be powder coated and modified to fit our new seats. More than 3,500 seats were then packed into shipping containers and will be stored at our warehouse until we are able to find them a new home.

New theater seat with red cushion and gold gilded chair arm.

Your comfort

Ergonomic cushions, state-of-the-art construction.

We worked with theater seat consultants, acoustic engineers, and leading architects to construct seats that combine pleasing looks and ergonomic designs to keep you comfortable from the first note of the overture to the final bows. With aesthetics and sound in mind at every step of the planning, none of the theater's art-deco ambiance or sopranos' high Cs will be compromised.

Your experience

In addition to providing a more comfortable chair, the new seating configuration on Lyric's Main Floor will offer an offset design for improved sightlines to the stage that offers a parallel experience to the graduated seating design of the balconies. Addtionally, broader aisles will improve theater entrance and exit flow, and the front of the Main Floor will have increased legroom.

Scroll over the photo to view the difference between the new and current sightlines. On mobile, click the photo then click off to toggle.

Man and woman sitting in offset seats in the Lyric Opera House that have a view of the opera stage.

rendering of new Lyric Opera seating chart with bowed aisles and offset seats

Improved accessibility

Our new theater configuration will be more accessible than ever before. Wider aisles on the Main Floor will allow more room for all patrons to move around the house and an increased number of wheelchair accessible seats will be made possible with the ability to remove additional chairs as needed. 

LCM served as an ADA consultant on this project to ensure accessibility compliance. 

View New Seating Chart

Your new seats

Lyric has selected a new, state-of-the-art seat with outstanding aesthetics, acoustic characteristics, and comfort. The seat provides a molded foam back that offers subtle lumbar support, an ergonomically pleasing design for maximum comfort, and a patented silent seat gravity lift system that is engineered for quiet open and close. The seats are also designed to look beautiful in our historic opera house and to maintain comfort, alignment, and appearance over a long period of use.


Text: Molded foam back offers subtle lumbar support. Ergonomically designed seat cushion for maximum comfort. Patented silent seat gravity lift system, engineered for quiet open and close. Engineered to maintain comfort, alignment, and appearance over a long period of use. Main floor front seating offers up to two inches of additional legroom.

We are thrilled about this opportunity to elevate the Lyric experience for all our guests.

Lyric is committed to improving and maintaining this historic building to the highest standard, without altering the house's visual beauty. We are enormously grateful for the generosity of the Anonymous Donor, whose commitment to helping maximize Lyric's accessibility to all audiences while enhancing the overall experience in the opera house, has made this possible. As a jewel of Chicago's cultural and architectural community, Lyric is committed to preserving and enhancing the historic art deco building. This new seating plan will provide accessibility and upgrades in comfort while ensuring that the house's acoustics will remain one of the finest in the nation.”

Anthony Freud, Lyric's general director

As a leader in our community and in our field, it is imperative that we take all possible measures to ensure that Lyric can be experienced and enjoyed by everyone who passes through our doors.

We know this new seating plan will continue to maintain and improve our treasure of an opera house and enhance the enjoyment of it for all.”

David Ormesher, chairman of the Lyric Board of Directors

Questions you may have about Lyric’s seating announcement: