Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 56th Season Announced

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 56th season
begins Friday, October 1, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. with
Giuseppe Verdi’s MACBETH in a new production
by renowned Shakespearean Barbara Gaines
starring Thomas Hampson and Nadja Michael

Also this season: Carmen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Masked Ball,
The Mikado , The Girl of the Golden West, Lohengrin,  & Hercules 

Four new productions created for Lyric (two of them Lyric Opera premieres)  plus two new-to-Chicago productions

Three English-language works receive new productions at Lyric this season

Lyric’s 2010-11 season features noteworthy stage directors:
Barbara Gaines/Macbeth, Harry Silverstein/Carmen,
Neil Armfield/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Renata Scotto/A Masked Ball,
Gary Griffin/The Mikado, Vincent Liotta/The Girl of the Golden West (H. Prince prod.),
Elijah Moshinsky/Lohengrin, and Peter Sellars/Hercules

  Sir Andrew Davis celebrates 10th anniversary as Lyric’s music director;
will conduct three productions

  Soprano superstar RENÉE FLEMING returns to Lyric
for Subscriber Appreciation Concert on Sunday, December 12

  68 opera performances in the 24-week season


4-opera series start at $96, 8-opera series start at $192 – same as for 2009-10 season
Season subscribers enjoy up to two operas free, depending on series they choose;
price reductions for some subscription series
23 different subscription choices offered, including 10 economically-priced 4-opera series

Subscriber benefits include unlimited free ticket exchanges for 8-opera subscribers, TRADEONE option for 4, 5, & 6-opera subscribers,
and choice of two “perfect pairs” for “O” Series subscribers

  Now you can choose your exact seats online and print your own tickets at home!
New this season – Trios! Buy any 3 operas, save 10%!

  Free 30-minute lectures for ticketholders
start an hour before every performance (except Opening Night)

  On-premises restaurants offer convenient dining for ticketholders

  Opening nights for all operas of Lyric’s 2010-11 season to air live on
The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts on 98.7WFMT

  NExT Discount Student Tickets available for selected performances –
$20 for fulltime college students who register online


Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 56th Season – 2010-11



Macbeth: Thomas Hampson

Carmen: Brandon Jovanovich, Kyle Ketelsen, Elaine Alvarez, Nicole Cabell

Midsummer: David Daniels, Peter Rose, Anna Christy, Erin Wall, Lucas Meachem

Masked Ball: Frank Lopardo, Sondra Radvanovsky, Mark Delavan, Kathleen Kim

Mikado: James Morris, Neal Davies, Andrew Shore

Girl/West: Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani

Lohengrin: Johan Botha, Emily Magee, Greer Grimsley, Lester Lynch

Hercules: Eric Owens, Alice Coote, Richard Croft



Macbeth: Nadja Michael, Leonardo Capalbo, Štefan Koćan

Carmen: Kate Aldrich, Nadia Krasteva, Yonghoon Lee

Midsummer: Shawn Mathey, Kelley O’Connor

Masked Ball: Stephanie Blythe

Mikado: Toby Spence

Girl/West:   Marco Vratogna

Lohengrin:   Michaela Schuster, Georg Zeppenfeld

Hercules: Lucy Crowe



Alain Altinoglu*, Harry Bicket, Sir Andrew Davis,

Asher Fisch, Rory Macdonald*, Renato Palumbo



Neil Armfield, Barbara Gaines*, Gary Griffin, Vincent Liotta,

Elijah Moshinsky, Renata Scotto, Peter Sellars, Harry Silverstein



Christine Binder, Jason Brown, Zack Brown, Damien Cooper*, Robin Don,

Dale Ferguson*, James F. Ingalls, Virgil C. Johnson, Eugene Lee, Franne Lee, Scott Marr,

John Napier*, James Noone*, Robert Perdziola, Dunya Ramicova, Mark Thompson*,

George Tsypin, Robert Wierzel



Eleanor Fazan, Harrison McEldowney*, Denni Sayers, August Tye


*Lyric Opera debuts







William Mason, General Director

Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director 

Bruno Bartoletti, Artistic Director Emeritus


William Mason, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announced in January  the repertoire, principal singers, conductors, directors, and designers for Lyric’s 2010-11 season.

Six new productions will be presented during Lyric’s 56th season. Four are being created for Lyric, and two are new-to-Chicago productions.

Lyric’s 2010-11 season will offer 68 performances of eight different operas beginning Friday, October 1, 2010, and concluding Sunday, March 27, 2011.

Joining Mason for the season announcement were Lyric’s music director, Sir Andrew Davis, and stage director Barbara Gaines (artistic director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

Four operas will receive new productions at Lyric in 2010-11 – including two Shakespeare-inspired operas, two company premieres, and three English-language works:

Verdi’s Macbeth will receive a new production starring Thomas Hampson, Nadja Michael (debut), and Leonardo Capalbo (debut), conducted by Renato Palumbo and staged by Barbara Gaines (debut), artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will have its Lyric premiere in a new coproduction with Houston Grand Opera and Canadian Opera Company, starring David Daniels, Anna Christy, Peter Rose, and Erin Wall, conducted by Rory Macdonald (debut) and staged by Neil Armfield (who directed Lyric’s premiere of Sweeney Todd in 2002-03).

Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado returns to Lyric for the first time since 1983. The new production will star James Morris, Stephanie Blythe (debut season), Neal Davies, and Toby Spence (debut), with Sir Andrew Davis conducting. Gary Griffin, who debuted at Lyric with the current season’s The Merry Widow, will direct.

Handel’s Hercules will star Eric Owens, David Daniels, Alice Coote, Richard Croft, and Lucy Crowe (debut) in a new production and Lyric premiere conducted by Harry Bicket, and directed by Peter Sellars, whose most recent production at Lyric was Doctor Atomic in 2007-08.

 Two operas will be presented at Lyric in productions new to Chicago audiences:

Verdi’s A Masked Ball (Un ballo in maschera) returns to Lyric in a production from San Francisco Opera, starring Frank Lopardo, Sondra Radvanovsky, Stephanie Blythe (debut), and Mark Delavan. Asher Fisch will conduct and Renata Scotto will direct.

Wagner’s Lohengrin will return to Lyric for the first time in 31 years, starring Johan Botha and Emily Magee in a production from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Sir Andrew Davis will conduct the Elijah Moshinsky production.

Two popular Lyric productions will be revived:

Lyric productions of Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West (La fanciulla del West) will return to the stage of the Ardis Krainik Theatre in 2010-11.

Lyric’s 56th season “runs the gamut from Handel to Britten, covering a span of 300+ years that also includes sterling works by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Wagner, and Gilbert & Sullivan,” Mason says. Lyric’s 2010-11 season will include two Verdi operas, two operas inspired by Shakespeare plays, two company premieres – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hercules, and the return of three works long absent from our stage – Lohengrin, Fanciulla, and Mikado,” Mason notes. “We will present three English-language works of completely varying style and substance,” he adds.

“Our audiences will enjoy a wealth of beautiful music performed by a roster of exceptional artists. And we will present six productions that are new to our audiences – four of them newly created for Lyric by world-class directors and designers. It’s going to be a musically thrilling and dramatically fascinating season.”

This season will also feature the welcome return of soprano superstar Renée Fleming in a Subscriber Appreciation Concert on Sunday, December 12. “Whenever Renée is in the house it’s a gala event!” says Mason. “Sir Andrew will conduct our wonderful orchestra – it promises to be a most memorable musical occasion.”

Mason notes that Sir Andrew Davis will celebrate his tenth anniversary as Lyric’s music director during the 2010-11 season, during which he will conduct The Mikado, The Girl of the Golden West, and Lohengrin.

Chorus master Donald Nally will prepare the Lyric Opera Chorus for all productions (except A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for which there is no regular chorus) next season.


In response to ongoing economic challenges and to meet changing market demands, Lyric has modifed its schedule accordingly. The number of opera performances offered will be reduced to 68 from 77 in the 2009-10 season. “As a result, 32,000 fewer tickets will be available, meaning that subscribing is more important than ever,” says Mason.

“To maximize our seating capacity and to ensure that we remain economically viable during the recession, Lyric has made some changes in its subscription packaging, including shortening some series and thereby lowering the cost,” Mason says. Subscribers will have the opportunity to purchase single tickets at discounts for operas not in their series. 

“In addition, we are freezing subscription prices at the current levels for the 2010-11 season,” Mason says.  Depending on the series they choose, subscribers can enjoy up to two operas free.

Among the best subscription deals next season will be the A1, B1, and E1 5-opera weekday series, offering subscribers a 40% discount over single tickets – the equivalent of getting two operas free, Mason says.

This season Lyric patrons can choose from 23 different subscription packages, including ten economically-priced 4-opera series. “We’re increasing the number of 4-opera series we offer from six this season to ten next season,” Mason says. 

Lyric will offer six 8-opera series, three 6-opera series, four 5-opera series, and ten 4-opera series (including two new 4-opera series on Mondays and Wednesdays). 

Subscribers who prefer a daytime opera experience continue to have four choices: one 8-opera matinee series and three 4-opera matinee series. “These have proved to be very popular with Lyric’s audiences,” Mason notes.

The 25% down payment plan option, which was introduced last year, will again be available for the coming season, Mason says. “Just 25% down secures your subscription seats with a credit-card payment, with the remaining three payments automatically charged monthly.”

The TRADEONE option remains popular for subscribers to fewer than all eight operas, and free ticket exchanges are an appreciated benefit for full-season subscribers. “These wonderful perks provide our subscribers with increased scheduling flexibility,” Mason says.

Continuing this season, eight-opera subscribers may exchange subscription tickets for another date of the same opera with no fee (weekend upgrades additional). Subscribers with 4-, 5-, or 6-opera series may exchange subscription tickets for another date of the same opera for just $4 per ticket (plus weekend upgrade if applicable).

With the TRADEONE program, subscribers with 4-, 5-, or 6-opera series in 2010-11 may again trade one opera in their series for an opera not in their series should they wish to do so when they place their subscription orders. There is a $9-per-ticket TRADEONE fee, with an additional $13-per-ticket fee if trading from a weekday to a weekend performance.

For the first time in the 2010-11 season, “O” Series subscribers will be able to choose their own two “perfect pairs” of any adjacent opera dates in the season – e.g. Oct. 15-16 and Mar. 12-13. Created especially for out-of-town subscribers, this series offers four operas in two sets of dates. Now “O” Series subscribers will have the flexibility of selecting their four preferred operas and the best dates for their own two “perfect pairs.” There are 19 “perfect pair” options from which to choose. “O” Series prices will vary, depending on whether subscribers opt for two pairs of weekend performances, two pairs of weekday performances, or mixed pairs.

New discounts of 20% for selected performance dates will be offered for group ticket sales next season (15+ per group), Mason notes.

NExT Discount Student Tickets are again be available, Mason says. “They cost just $20 for seats throughout the Civic Opera House, and are offered through the internet to fulltime, degree-seeking college students (who register online as NExT members) for regular performances of selected Lyric productions. Students from nearly 200 universities and colleges have purchased NExT tickets. Membership for NExT is free.”

Free pre-opera lectures will once again be offered next season before every performance of every opera (except Oct. 1, opening night of the season) to enhance the operagoing experience, Mason says. “These wonderful 30-minute talks, presented by members of Lyric’s staff as well as experts from the community, have been a great success since we introduced them a few years ago.”

Lyrics website ( features include the popular Backstage at Lyric podcast, comprised of informal interviews with the major artists of each production (available free on iTunes). Discovery Series lectures and panel discussion are also available as podcast episodes. Lyrics in-depth and expertly produced Commentaries are available for streaming, free of charge. Short videos on each production, including performance highlights and directors interviews, are also online for viewing.

Lyrics website is extremely content-rich and is constantly updated during the season, Mason says. Opera fans can literally spend hours listening, watching, and reading about the productions and artists appearing on our stage. Our content is not only educational, but also very entertaining. I strongly encourage audiences to get the most out of the live experience by first enjoying our multimedia offerings at home or on the go. Our Facebook and Twitter fanbase has also enjoyed tremendous growth this season, helping to foster opera engagement and excitement in our digital communities. 

Lyric’s website also includes a newly expanded customer interface allowing patrons to view their upcoming and past performances, make reservations to The Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room restaurant, and receive special messaging.

Projected English translations and texts will be used for every opera in Lyric’s 2010-11 season, including the three English-language productions.

 The opening night performance of each opera in Lyric's 2010-11 season will air live on 98.7WFMT in Chicago (as well as stream live globally at All eight operas will air nationally and internationally in May and June 2011 in broadcasts produced and syndicated by the WFMT Radio Network. The Matthew Bucksbaum Family is the generous sponsor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Bucksbaum Family Broadcasts through the 2011-12 season, with matching funding provided by the The Crown Family and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart.


in the 2010-11 SEASON


New Production

MACBETH  / Giuseppe Verdi  (in Italian with projected English translations)

9 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for opening night at 7:00 p.m and matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Oct. 1, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 (mat), 24 (mat), 30

Premiered in 1847 and significantly revised in 1865, Macbeth combines the magnificent and irresistible vigor of early Verdi with the probing psychological depth of the composer’s later works. Shakespeare’s taut tragedy is distilled to its absolute essentials, concentrating on the Scottish play’s unforgettable central couple: the title character (baritone Thomas Hampson), Thane of Cawdor, whom the witches predict will ascend to the throne of Scotland; and his wife, Lady Macbeth (soprano Nadja Michael, debut), whose consuming desire for power pushes her husband towards murder. Other characters are the noble Macduff (tenor Leonardo Capalbo, debut), who finally triumphs over Macbeth; Banquo (bass Štefan Koćan, debut), originally Macbeth’s friend but eventually his victim; Malcolm (tenor Konstantin Stepanov, debut), the son of the murdered king who eventually is restored to the throne; and the Lady-in-Waiting (soprano Carter Scott, debut), who witnesses Lady Macbeth’s descent into madness. 

The new production is conducted by Renato Palumbo and directed by Barbara Gaines (debut), with sets designed by James Noone (debut), costumes by Virgil C. Johnson, and lighting by Robert Wierzel. Harrison McEldowney (debut) is the choreographer.

Lyric Opera has previously presented Macbeth in three other seasons (1969, 1981, 1999-00).

“This is an exciting new production,” says Mason. “It’s a powerful story and the best of early Verdi. The brilliant baritone-soprano duet after Macbeth has killed Duncan is absolutely searing, and Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene is one of opera’s greatest. We have two magnificent protagonists: Thomas Hampson, who owns this role and has triumphed in it throughout the world; and the stunning Nadja Michael, a singing actress with a staggering stage presence as Lady Macbeth. As he demonstrated in conducting this season’s Ernani, Renato Palumbo is a master of the Verdi style.

Barbara Gaines is a brilliant director who has made Chicago and Shakespeare her own,” Mason declares. “She’s given incredible preparation and study to Verdi’s version of Macbeth. This will be an unforgettable season opener.”

The new Lyric Opera production of Macbeth is generously made possible by The Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa, the Abbott Fund, Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, and Nancy W. Knowles.


CARMEN  / Georges Bizet  (in French with projected English translations)

11 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Oct. 13, 16, 20 (mat), 22, 25, 29 (mat); Mar. 12, 15, 18, 24 (mat), 27 (mat)

Georges Bizet’s passionate Carmen (1875), long one of the most popular operas in the entire repertoire, returns to Lyric with the title role of the free-spirited gypsy played by debuting mezzo-sopranos Kate Aldrich  (Oct.) and Nadia Krasteva (Mar.), with Katharine Goeldner singing Oct. 29. Carmen works her wiles on the corporal Don José (tenors Yonghoon Lee/debut, Oct., and Brandon Jovanovich, Mar.), whose jealousy erupts when Carmen rejects him in favor of the toreador Escamillo (bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen). Micaëla, the village girl who loves José, will be portrayed by sopranos Elaine Alvarez (Oct.) and Nicole Cabell (Mar.).  

Carmen figured in Lyric’s first season (1954) and has since returned eight times, most recently during the 2005-06 season. Alain Altinoglu (debut) will conduct the revival of the 1999-00 production, staged by Harry Silverstein, with set designs by Robin Don and costume designs by Robert Perdziola. Jason Brown is lighting designer. Members of the Chicago Children’s Choir will be prepared by Josephine Lee, artistic director. August Tye is choreographer and ballet mistress.

Says Mason, “We have two fantastic young casts. Both our Carmens, Kate Aldrich and Nadia Krasteva, have had great successes with the role in Europe. I heard Yonghoon Lee’s Don José in Amsterdam in 2009 – he’s terrific onstage, with a heroic sound and an electrifying stage presence. Brandon Jovanovich is an enormously compelling singer and actor, as his debut here in Katya Kabanova this season certainly proved. Our Escamillo for all performances will be Kyle Ketelsen, who sang a wonderful Méphistophélès in this season’s Faust and returns next month as Figaro. We have two exceptional sopranos as Micaëla – Elaine Alvarez, who stepped in as Mimὶ in La bohème a few years ago, and our own Nicole Cabell, currently enjoying a great success in The Elixir of Love. Both casts will be conducted by Alain Altinoglu in his Lyric debut. Harry Silverstein will offer new stage direction.” 

Carmen  is The Julius Frankel Foundation Production in memory of Ardis Krainik. The revival is generously made possible by an Anonymous Donor and the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation.


Lyric Opera Premiere / New Production

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM / Benjamin Britten (in English with projected English texts)

7 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Nov. 5, 8, 10, 13 (mat), 17 (mat), 20, 23

Arguably Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was adapted with consummate brilliance by Benjamin Britten. The composer collaborated with his companion, tenor Peter Pears, in substantially reducing the original text while retaining all the essentials. Each major group – the fairies, the lovers, and the rustic comedians – are all memorably characterized. Most of the opera takes place in the forest, where many lives intertwine in amusing and touching ways: Figuring in the plot are the jealous Oberon, king of the fairies (countertenor David Daniels); Tytania, his ravishing queen (soprano Anna Christy); the weaver Bottom (bass Peter Rose), the bellows-mender Flute (tenor Keith Jameson), and the joiner Snug (bass Wilbur Pauley), who are rehearsing a play intended for the nuptials of Duke Theseus (bass-baritone Craig Irvin) and his betrothed, the Amazon Queen Hippolyta (mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, debut); and two lovers, Lysander (tenor Shawn Mathey, debut) and Hermia (mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong), fleeing Athens together because her father insists that Hermia marry Demetrius (baritone Lucas Meachem). Their attempt to flee is thwarted by Demetrius – who loves Hermia as well – and by Helena (soprano Erin Wall), who loves Demetrius.

The conductor is Rory MacDonald (debut), and the stage director is Neil Armfield, with sets and costumes designed by Dale Ferguson and lighting design by Damien Cooper, both making Lyric debuts. Members of the Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago will be prepared by Emily Elsworth, artistic director. Denni Sayers is choreographer.  

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the third Britten work produced by Lyric Opera, following triumphant presentations of Billy Budd (U. S. professional stage premiere in 1970, new production in 2001-02) and Peter Grimes (1974, 1977, 1997-98).

“This is a comic masterpiece, an incredibly successful adaptation of the Shakespeare play,” says Mason. “Neil Armfield, who gave us a brilliant Sweeney Todd in 2002-03, is directing this charming and visually lovely coproduction with Houston Grand Opera and Canadian Opera Company. Oberon is a signature role for countertenor David Daniels, whom our audiences adored in Julius Caesar; and Peter Rose is a priceless Bottom. Anna Christy, and Lyric’s own Erin Wall and Elizabeth DeShong, are all ideally suited to their roles.”

Generous sponsors for this new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow.


A MASKED BALL (UN BALLO IN MASCHERA)  / Giuseppe Verdi (in Italian with projected English translations)

8 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Nov. 15, 18, 21 (mat), 24, 27, 30, Dec. 4, 10 (mat)

One of the most significant works of Giuseppe Verdi’s middle period, A Masked Ball is a magnificent drama of love, betrayal, and revenge. At its heart is Gustavo, King of Sweden (tenor Frank Lopardo), based on the real-life king of that name, who was in fact shot at a masked ball. Gustavo loves Amelia (soprano Sondra Radvanovsky), wife of his secretary and best friend, Renato (baritone Mark Delavan). With his page Oscar (soprano Kathleen Kim), Gustavo visits a fortuneteller, Ulrica (mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, debut). She reveals that he will be killed by the next person who shakes his hand. Gustavo is amused, especially when that person turns out to be Renato – but Ulrica’s dire prediction comes true in the end. 

Conducted by Asher Fisch (Philip Morehead on Dec. 10), the production will be directed by legendary soprano Renata Scotto (who sang the role of Amelia in Lyric’s 1980 revival). The production, owned by San Francisco Opera, was designed by Zack Brown. Christine Binder is lighting designer. 

A Masked Ball  has been one of the most popular Verdi operas at Lyric, first heard here in 1955 and produced subsequently in ten different seasons, most recently in a new production in 2002-03.

Says Mason, “This is a traditional production with handsome sets, and we have a very impressive cast. Lyric favorite Frank Lopardo, who in February stars as Nemorino in Elixir, will join Sondra Radvanovsky, the premiere Verdi soprano of our time, and the thrillingly menacing Mark Delavan. The much-heralded mezzo Stephanie Blythe will make her long-awaited Lyric debut; and Lyric’s own Kathleen Kim, who’s having such great successes at the Met, will return to Lyric in the trouser role of Oscar.”

This Lyric Opera presentation of Un ballo in maschera is generously made possible by the NIB Foundation, Margot and Joseph Lakonishok, an Anonymous Donor, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes.


New Production

THE MIKADO  / William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan (in English with projected English texts)

10 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Dec. 6, 8, 11, Jan. 5 (mat), 7, 9 (mat), 11, 13 (mat), 15, 21 (mat) 

Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado premiered in London in 1885 and has gone on to become not just the pair’s most popular collaboration, but the only work to compete internationally with Die Fledermaus and The Merry Widow as the most popular work in the entire operetta repertoire. The justly famous melodies of The Mikado – “A Wandering Minstrel,” “Tit-Willow,” “Three Little Maids from School,” and many more – are as captivating musically as they are witty textually.

The setting is the town of Titipu, where the tailor Ko-Ko (bass-baritone Neal Davies), since being appointed Lord High Executioner, hasn’t executed anyone. His ward, Yum-Yum (soprano Andriana Chuchman), whom he plans to marry, has fallen in love with a traveling musician, Nanki-Poo (tenor Toby Spence, debut). He is, in fact, the Mikado’s son, and has escaped the court to avoid the attentions of an intimidating older noblewoman, Katisha (mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe). Ko-Ko learns of a decree from the Mikado (bass-baritone James Morris) that, unless an execution occurs within a month, the city will be reduced to the rank of a village, which would spell disaster. Neither the noble lord Pish-Tush (baritone Philip Kraus) nor the Lord High Everything Else, Pooh-Bah (baritone Andrew Shore), will volunteer to be executed. Complications occur with the arrival of the Mikado, accompanied by the ever-formidable Katisha.

The Mikado will be conducted by Sir Andrew Davis (Dec. 6-Jan. 9); Philip Morehead will assume the podium for performances Jan. 11-21. Gary Griffin directs. Sets and costumes are designed by Mark Thompson (debut); Christine Binder is lighting designer.

 Lyric Opera’s only previous presentation of The Mikado was in 1983, as the last of three spring productions of operetta presented in three consecutive seasons. Only once during the main season has Gilbert and Sullivan been heard at Lyric (The Pirates of Penzance, 2003-04).

“Gilbert and Sullivan have married wit and cleverness, and true sentiment, to gorgeous melodies, and we have a Mikado cast and production that will do their work justice,” says Mason. “Gary Griffin, the associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, who debuted here this season with the very successful Merry Widow, will return to direct. James Morris, the great Wotan and Scarpia, will be a revelation as the Mikado, and the charming Andriana Chuchman, who was Valencienne in The Merry Widow, will return as Yum-Yum. I’ve seen Toby Spence in Santa Fe – he has a beautiful voice. Neal Davies was a hit here as the Major General in Pirates – he’ll be ideal as Ko-Ko, the comic baritone. Stephanie Blythe asked to sing Katisha when she heard we’d be doing The Mikado!”

This new Lyric Opera production is generously made possible by Jim and Vicki Mills/Jon and Lois Mills, Exelon, and The Negaunee Foundation.



(in Italian with projected English translations)

9 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Jan. 22, 26 (mat), 29 (mat), Feb. 4, 9, 12, 15, 18 (mat), 21        

In 1910 the Metropolitan Opera premiered The Girl of the Golden West (La fanciulla del West), a work Puccini composed based on a popular play by David Belasco, America’s most celebrated man of the theater at the time. If Fanciulla remains not quite as popular as La bohème, Tosca or Madama Butterfly, that is undoubtedly due to the rarity of dramatic sopranos able to meet the daunting challenges of the title role. Melodically, theatrically, and certainly orchestrally, Fanciulla is an immensely rewarding experience in the opera house.

The heroine, Minnie (soprano Deborah Voigt), is a saloon-keeper in the California of Gold Rush days. She has earned the devotion of her bartender, Nick (tenor David Cangelosi); the miners who are her customers, especially the hot-headed Sonora (baritone Daniel Sutin); and Sheriff Jack Rance (baritone Marco Vratogna, debut), who hopes for more than just friendship from her. A handsome stranger appears in the saloon, identifying himself as Dick Johnson (tenor Marcello Giordani). Minnie falls in love with him, only to be appalled when she learns that “Dick Johnson” is actually the notorious bandit Ramerrez. But Minnie’s love proves too strong; in the opera’s thrilling finale, she saves the captured Ramerrez from the noose and goes off to start a new life with him.

For this production, originally directed by Harold Prince, Sir Andrew Davis is the conductor with Vincent Liotta as stage director. The original production designers are Eugene Lee (sets) and Franne Lee (costumes), with additional designs by Scott Marr. Jason Brown is lighting designer.

The Girl of the Golden West was first seen at Lyric in 1956; the Prince production premiered in 1978 and was revived in 1990-91. “Deborah Voigt is currently making her role debut as Minnie in San Francisco, and will reprise the role at the Met before returning to Chicago,” says Mason. “We are continuing our wonderful tradition of American sopranos (first Eleanor Steber, then Carol Neblett and Marilyn Zschau) as this quintessentially American character. Marcello Giordani  has a closer association with the Met than probably any tenor since the prime of Pavarotti and Domingo – he’s the tenor of choice in the Italian repertoire. Marco Vratogna, who recently had a fine success in San Francisco as Iago, will make his Lyric Opera debut as the villainous Jack Rance. And Sir Andrew conducts. It will be a terrific way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this great work!”

The Girl of the Golden West  is The Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa, Production. The revival is made possible by the Walter E. Heller Foundation in loving memory of Alyce DeCosta and M. James Termondt, the Mazza Foundation, and the Estate of Howard A. Stotler.


LOHENGRIN  / Richard Wagner (in German with projected English translations)

7 performances beginning at 6:00 p.m., except for matinee at 1:00 p.m.

Feb. 11, 16, 20 (mat), 25, Mar. 1, 5, 8

One of the quintessential works of the Romantic German repertoire, Wagner’s Lohengrin (1850) presents an appealing, moving story that unfolds in music of sublime lyricism and exceptional grandeur. Not only the soloists’ roles but also the contributions of chorus and orchestra find Wagner at his most incomparably inspired. 

The story centers on a mysterious medieval knight and the young woman whose love for him is tragically thwarted. In Antwerp, on the shores of the River Scheldt, the Royal Herald (baritone Lester Lynch) calls for a knight to come to the aid of Elsa of Brabant (soprano Emily Magee/Amber Wagner, Mar. 5, 8). In a boat pulled by a swan, Lohengrin (tenor Johan Botha) arrives, ready to defend Elsa against the accusation by Count Friedrich of Telramund (bass-baritone Greer Grimsley) that she murdered her young brother. After Telramund is defeated by Lohengrin in a duel, King Henry (bass Georg Zeppenfeld, debut) awards the knight Elsa’s hand in marriage. Their happiness is sabotaged, however, by both Telramund and his villainous wife Ortrud (mezzo-soprano Michaela Schuster, debut).

The production of Lohengrin (owned by the Royal Opera House,Covent Garden) will be conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and directed by Elijah Moshinsky, with set and costume designs by John Napier (debut). Christine Binder is lighting designer. The movement director is Eleanor Fazan.

Lohengrin  has been produced by Lyric Opera only once previously, in 1980, Mason notes. “It’s one of the most popular of the Wagner operas. The music is sumptuous, including the famous Wedding March and the magnificent choruses. Johan Botha is simply spectacular in this role – nobody sings it better. Emily Magee, our Ryan Opera Center alumna, has an exceptional career in the major houses of Europe – we’re thrilled that she’s returning as Elsa, a role in which she’s triumphed in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Florence, and Bologna. Michaela Schuster, a riveting German mezzo, makes her debut as Ortud, and her malevolent husband Telramund will be sung by Greer Grimsley, who had such a fine success here as Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde last season.”

The Lyric Opera presentation of Lohengrin is generously made possible by two Anonymous Donors, Mrs. A. Watson Armour, Marlys A. Beider, Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, and Irma Parker.


Lyric Opera Premiere / New Production

HERCULES  / George Frideric Handel  (in English with projected English texts)

7 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Mar. 4, 7, 10 (mat), 13 (mat), 16, 19, 21

Handel considered Hercules “a musical drama,” with its plot adapted from Sophocles and Ovid. It was first performed in a concert presentation (1745) at London’s famous King’s Theatre, the venue for the premieres of most of Handel’s best-known Italian operas (Rinaldo, Julius Caesar, and Rodelinda among them).

Although performed mainly in concert during the past few decades, in recent seasons Hercules has been produced onstage in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, London, Amsterdam, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The work itself is a tour de force for the leading lady, with marvelous vocal and dramatic opportunities for the four other principals as well. The music is extraordinarily varied in character, always demanding the utmost in flexibility. Singers’ expressiveness is tested to the absolute utmost in arias that plumb devastating emotional depths.

The protagonist is Dejanira (mezzo-soprano Alice Coote), wife of the hero Hercules (bass-baritone Eric Owens). With the herald Lichas (countertenor David Daniels) and her own son Hyllus (tenor Richard Croft) attempting to comfort her, Dejanira awaits the return home of her husband after an extended absence. Having completed the last of his twelve heroic labors, Hercules arrives at his palace in Trachis escorting his captive: the beautiful princess Iole of Oechalia (soprano Lucy Crowe, debut), whose father Hercules had killed after a contest between them had gone badly. He is infatuated with her, and intends to keep her as his concubine. Dejanira is consumed by jealousy, which leads to catastrophe for her husband and herself.

Hercules  will be conducted by Harry Bicket, directed by Peter Sellars, and designed by George Tsypin (sets), Dunya Ramicova (costumes), and James F. Ingalls (lighting).

Lyric Opera has enjoyed considerable success in Handel. The first Handel work presented by the company was a concert performance of Rinaldo with Marilyn Horne (1984). This was followed by staged productions of Samson (1985-86), Orlando (1986-87), Xerxes (1995-96), Alcina (1999-00), Partenope (2002-03), and Julius Caesar (2007-08).

“Anything that Peter Sellars does is consistently fascinating,” says Mason. “Hercules has some of Handel’s best music – wonderful choruses and arias. David Daniels and Alice Coote are both outstanding and so is the rest of the cast. Eric Owens’s debut as General Groves in Doctor Atomic introduced our audiences to this powerfully commanding actor and singer. With the acclaimed Handelian Harry Bicket on the podium, Hercules will be a first-class evening musically, and Peter Sellars will ensure that the production will be unforgettable.”

The new Lyric Opera production of Hercules is generously made possible by Julie and Roger Baskes, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, Richard P. and Susan Kiphart, Sidley Austin LLP, American Express, and the National Endowment for the Arts.



with the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis

Sunday, December 12, at 3:00 p.m.

Lyric welcomes back American soprano Renée Fleming for her second Subscriber Appreciation Concert. The program will be announced at a later date. Tickets start at $35, and has sold out to 2010-11 subscribers.

Having won acclaim in literally every major opera house and concert hall in the world, Renée Fleming is a beloved favorite of Lyric Opera audiences. She debuted with the company during the 1993-94 season in the title role/Susannah (new production), and has since returned as Marguerite/Faust (new production, 1995-96), Countess Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro (1997-98), title role/Alcina (1999-00), Desdemona/Otello (new production, 2001-02), title role/Thaïs (new production, 2002-03), and Violetta/La traviata (2007-08).

The Renée Fleming Subscriber Appreciation Concert is generously sponsored by Liz Stiffel (lead sponsor) and Harris Private Bank (supporting sponsor).





  American baritone THOMAS HAMPSON (title role)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Germont/La traviata (2007-08); Athanaël/Thaïs (2002-03) 
  • This season’s Artist-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, with performances including John Adams’s The Wound Dresser in New York and on European tour in January and February 2010
  • Regularly stars at the Metropolitan Opera (including La traviata in April 2010), Vienna State Opera, Zurich Opera, and virtually every other major house in Europe and America
  • Possesses a vast discography and videography of opera, song, and concert repertoire, with recent releases including Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, CD), a Mozart gala (Salzburg Festival: Vienna Philharmonic under Daniel Harding, DVD), Mahler songs (Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, DVD), and Busoni’s Doktor Faust (Zurich Opera, DVD)


American tenor BRANDON JOVANOVICH (Don José, March performances)

  • Debuted at Lyric during current season as Boris/Katya Kabanova
  • Starring at the Metropolitan Opera in January and February 2010 as Don José, which he has also sung with great success at Glyndebourne Festival Opera
  • In 2009 earned much acclaim at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera as Števa/Jenůfa and in his return to Glyndebourne as the Prince/Rusalka 
  • 2007 winner of America’s most prestigious award for singers, the Richard Tucker Award

  American bass-baritone KYLE KETELSEN (Escamillo)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Méphistophélès/Faust (2009-10); Masetto/Don Giovanni (2004-05)
  • Will star in the title role of the concluding opera of Lyric Opera’s 2009-10 season, The Marriage of Figaro, in which he has triumphed in numerous international houses, among them Covent Garden and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu
  • Has sung six roles at Covent Garden to date, including another of his Mozart specialties, Leporello/Don Giovanni, available on DVD
  • Debuted with the CSO last season in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella under Pierre Boulez (now on CD)

American soprano NICOLE CABELL (Micaëla, March performances)

  • Currently starring at Lyric as Adina/The Elixir of Love, with previous successes in seven roles since 2002-03, most recently Leïla/The Pearl Fishers (2008-09); Musetta/La bohème (2007-08); Ryan Opera Center alumna
  • Rapidly ascended to international prominence after winning one of the world’s most important vocal competitions, the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World (2005)
  • Since her Cardiff victory, has won praise at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, many other major houses and orchestras
  • Collaborated with Sir Andrew Davis and the London Philharmonic in her award-winning debut CD, “Soprano”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

American countertenor DAVID DANIELS (Oberon)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Title role/Julius Caesar (2007-08); Orfeo/Orfeo ed Euridice (2005-06); Arsace/Partenope (2002-03)
  • Regarded internationally as a trailblazer in his vocal category and the foremost countertenor of his generation
  • In addition to innumerable successes in major opera houses (Met, Paris, Covent Garden, San Francisco, and many more) in Baroque roles, has been hailed for his charismatic portrayal of Britten’s Oberon at the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu (DVD)
  • Has amassed a large discography, including operas of Monteverdi and Handel, sacred works of Bach, Vivaldi, and Pergolesi, and seven solo discs

English bass PETER ROSE (Bottom)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: King Fisher/The Midsummer Marriage (2005-06); Sergeant of Police/The Pirates of Penzance (2003-04); Kecal/The Bartered Bride (1992-93)
  • Acclaimed for his portrayal of Bottom at the Metropolitan Opera (company debut), Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, Paris, London, Rome, and Barcelona (DVD)
  • Starred at London’s English National Opera last season in the title role/Boris Godunov (premiere of new production)
  • Sings an enormous variety of tragic and comic roles in virtually every major European house, including La Scala, Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, many others

A Masked Ball

American tenor FRANK LOPARDO (Gustavo)

  • Starring at Lyric as Nemorino/The Elixir of Love (Feb. 7-22), with previous successes in ten roles here since 1988-89, most recently Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly (2008-09),  Lensky/Eugene Onegin (2007-08)
  • Triumphed in his role debut as Verdi’s Gustavo at Pittsburgh Opera, later repeating that success at Opera Colorado
  • In addition to many leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, has won high praise at Covent Garden, La Scala, Paris, Salzburg, and Glyndebourne, among many other prestigious international venues
  • His discography includes complete operas from the Italian repertoire under such major conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Muti, and Sir Georg Solti

  American soprano SONDRA RADVANOVSKY (Amelia)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Elvira/Ernani (2009-10); Leonora/Il trovatore (2006-07); title role/Susannah (2002-03)
  • Celebrated worldwide for Verdi heroines, including most recently Lina/Stiffelio at the Metropolitan Opera and Leonora/Il trovatore (her most frequently performed role) at San Francisco Opera
  • Other recent successes include her role debut as Puccini’s Suor Angelica, a triumph at Los Angeles Opera
  • Can be heard on CD in a live Verdi concert from Moscow with Dmitri Hvorostovsky,  and seen on DVD opposite Plácido Domingo as Roxane/Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac (live performance from Valencia)

American baritone MARK DELAVAN (Renato)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Five roles since 2001-02, most recently Alfio/Cavalleria rusticana and Tonio/Pagliacci (2008-09); Germont/La traviata (2007-08); Count di Luna/Il trovatore (2006-07)
  • Has been heard in eight major roles to date at the Metropolitan Opera, among them Amonasro/Aida (debut), title role/Nabucco, and Gérard/Andrea Chénier
  • One of America’s very few baritones currently taking on dramatic Italian repertoire in major international houses (Munich, Covent Garden, Berlin, among others)
  • Is also making a major impact in German repertoire (the 2009-10 season includes his Wotan/Die Walküre in San Francisco and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin)

The Mikado

  American bass-baritone JAMES MORRIS (Title role)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Six roles since 1979, most recently Scarpia/Tosca (2009-10); Wotan/Ring cycle (2004-05, individual Ring operas in 2004-05, 2003-04, 2002-03)
  • Will make his role debut as the Mikado, his first English-language role at Lyric
  • Long a favorite artist at the Metropolitan Opera, is singing three highly varied roles there this season: Fiesco/Simon Boccanegra, Claudius/Hamlet, and Dr Schön (role debut)/Lulu
  • Has been acclaimed in every leading international house as Wagner’s Wotan, while also making a profound impact in many other major bass and bass-baritone roles in the German, French, Italian, and Russian repertoire

The Girl of the Golden West

  American soprano DEBORAH VOIGT (Minnie)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Seven roles since 1992-93, including title role/Tosca (2009-10); Isolde/Tristan und Isolde (2008-09); title role/Salome (2006-07)
  • Acclaimed worldwide as one of today’s most formidable interpreters of the heroines of Wagner and Strauss, as well as in major dramatic roles of the Italian repertoire
  • A great favorite at the Metropolitan Opera, where she stars later this season as Senta/The Flying Dutchman
  • Will make her long-awaited role debut in The Girl of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera in June 2010

Italian tenor MARCELLO GIORDANI (Dick Johnson)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Cavaradossi/Tosca (2000-01); Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor (1990-91)
  • Much acclaimed as one of the finest tenors Italy has produced in the past quarter-century
  • Great favorite at the Metropolitan Opera, where his repertoire has ranged from the heroes of Gounod and Berlioz to those of Bellini, Verdi, and Puccini
  • Returns to La Scala this season in Faust and to Madrid’s Teatro Real in Simon Boccanegra


  South African tenor JOHAN BOTHA (Title role)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Calaf/Turandot (2006-07); Canio/Pagliacci (2002-03); Enzo/La Gioconda (1998-99)
  • Has triumphed as Lohengrin at Covent Garden (2009), the Met, Berlin, Vienna, and on CD
  • Universally praised for the major dramatic roles of the Italian repertoire, including a recent success at the Met as Otello 
  • Appearances on CD also include Apollo/Strauss’s Daphne opposite Renée Fleming, with whom he partnered for concerts in Europe and America

American soprano EMILY MAGEE (Elsa)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Five roles since 1993-94, including Ellen Orford/Peter Grimes (1997-98); Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte (1993-94); Ryan Opera Center alumna
  • Triumphantly successful throughout Europe in some of the most demanding roles of the German, Italian, and Slavic repertoire – appearances include La Scala, Covent Garden, Salzburg, Berlin, among many other major venues
  • Made role debut as Wagner’s Elsa under Barenboim at Berlin Staatsoper, has since sung the role in Hamburg, Munich, Florence, Bologna, Barcelona (DVD)
  • Has established especially close associations with the Zurich Opera and the Bayreuth Festival


American bass-baritone ERIC OWENS (Title role)

  • Debuted at Lyric as Gen. Leslie Groves/Doctor Atomic (2007-08)
  • Has triumphed not only in standard-repertoire bass and bass-baritone roles, but also in highly demanding contemporary works, including two roles he created: Gen. Leslie Groves/John Adams’s Doctor Atomic (world premiere, San Francisco, reprised in Amsterdam, Chicago, and at the Met), the Storyteller/Adams’s A Flowering Tree (Vienna’s Crowned Hope Festival), and title role/Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel (world premiere at Los Angeles Opera, reprised at New York’s Lincoln Center Festival)
  • Highlights of his current season includes György Ligeti’s apocalyptic opera Le grand macabre with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic 
  • Came to prominence as a winner of Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition

  English mezzo-soprano ALICE COOTE (Dejanira)

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus (2006-07); Hansel/Hansel and Gretel (2001-02)
  • A past recipient of the coveted Kathleen Ferrier Prize, she is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding mezzo-sopranos Britain has produced since the prime of Janet Baker more than four decades ago
  • Much acclaimed in starring roles in London at both Covent Garden and the English National Opera
  • Has recently won high praise at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera (Orsini/Lucrezia Borgia) and at the Metropolitan Opera (Sesto/Julius Caesar)

American tenor RICHARD CROFT (Hyllus)

  • Debuted at Lyric as Iago in Rossini’s Otello (1992-93); has earned enormous critical praise throughout his career for Handel repertoire, including Theodora (Glyndebourne, DVD), Semele (Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, CD), Ariodante (San Francisco Opera), Jephtha (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment), Messiah (Vienna’s Theater an der Wien)
  • Starred at the Metropolitan Opera (where he returned triumphantly during the 2007-08 season as Gandhi/Glass’s Satyagraha), Opéra National de Paris, Netherlands Opera, Zurich Opera, the Glyndebourne and Salzburg festivals, and major orchestras throughout America and Europe
  • Other successes include Idomeneo (La Scala, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg), Haydn’s Armida (Salzburg Festival), Pelléas et Mélisande (Royal Albert Hall), concert with Les Musiciens du Louvre that recently opened the refurbished Versailles theater
  • Extensive discography includes operas and oratorios of Handel (among them Hercules), Scarlatti, Mozart, and Gluck, plus DVD appearances in Les indes galantes (Paris), The Abduction from the Seraglio (Drottningholm), The Barber of Seville (Amsterdam), Otello (Met)




German soprano NADJA MICHAEL (Lady Macbeth) 

  • Enjoyed successful career as a mezzo-soprano throughout Europe, also as Brangäne/Tristan und Isolde and Didon/Les Troyens with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, before turning to dramatic-soprano roles
  • Highlights of 2009-10 include title role/Salome (San Francisco, Bologna, Munich), Venus and Elisabeth/Tannhäuser (Berlin), title role/Iphigénie en Tauride (Brussels), title role of Simone Mayr’s Medea in Corinto (Munich)
  • Previous successes in such starring roles as Salome (Berlin State Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, the latter two on DVD), Leonore/Fidelio (Vienna), Tosca (Bregenz Festival), Marie-Marietta/Die tote Stadt (Covent Garden), Marta/D’Albert’s Tiefland (Deutsche Oper Berlin)
  • Other important venues where she has performed include the Arena di Verona and the Glyndebourne and Salzburg festivals

Italian-American tenor LEONARDO CAPALBO (Macduff)

  • Has previously portrayed Macduff at Opera Holland Park (London), where he has also appeared in the title role/Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux
  • Has scored numerous other successes in the Verdi repertoire, including the Duke/Rigoletto (Liège’s Opéra Royal de Wallonie), Alfredo/La traviata (Dresden’s Semperoper, Israeli Opera, Florida Grand Opera), and Ismaele/Nabucco (Opera North in Leeds, England, also on CD for the Chandos label)
  • Highlights of his current season include the title role/Candide, a new production at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, as Leicester/Maria Stuarda at Stuttgart Opera, and Rinuccio/Gianni Schicchi at the Teatro São Carlos (Lisbon)
  • Has sung the leading tenor roles in several rarely heard works, among them de Falla’s La vida breve (Opera North), Delibes’s Lakmé (Opéra de Nice), and Weill’s Der Kuhhandel (Opera North) 

Slovakian bass ŠTEFAN KOCÁN (Banquo)

  • Debuted at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this season as the King/Aida (including HD transmission to movie theaters)
  • Frequent guest artist at the Vienna State Opera, where he was first heard as the Commendatore/ Don Giovanni and Grand Inquisitor/Don Carlo; also Sarastro/The Magic Flute and Gremin/Eugene Onegin
  • Has been heard with the major companies of Barcelona, Paris, Copenhagen, Basel, Hannover, and Tokyo, in repertoire including a wide variety of principal bass roles, among them Méphistophélès/Faust, Osmin/The Abduction from the Seraglio, and Gremin/Eugene Onegin
  • Schedule includes appearances at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and Prague National Theater

Russian tenor KONSTANTIN STEPANOV (Malcolm) 

  • Has appeared at the Bolshoi, the Kirov, La Scala, and with such major conductors as Evgeny Svetlanov and Valéry Gergiev
  • Has debuted at New York City Opera as Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly
  • Other highlights include 2008 American debut in The Tsar’s Bride with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall and both La traviata and Eugene Onegin in the Grand Hall of Moscow State Conservatory
  • Has participated in major festivals in Russia, France, Estonia, Japan, and Poland
  • Toured America in 2003 as soloist with the Moscow Choir Academy; former winner of Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition; alumnus of the world-renowned Moscow State Conservatory and the young-artist program of Moscow State Opera Theater

American soprano CARTER SCOTT (Lady-in-Waiting)

  • Began her career as a mezzo-soprano, with credits including Ježibaba/Rusalka opposite Renée Fleming at San Diego Opera, where she recently returned with great success as Santuzza/ Cavalleria rusticana
  • Debuted at Washington National Opera earlier this season as the Third Norn/Götterdämmerung 
  • European credits include Helmwige/Die Walküre at Düsseldorf’s Deutsche Oper am Rhein, title role/Turandot in Bremen, Abigaille/Nabucco (European debut) at Dortmund Opera


American mezzo-soprano KATE ALDRICH (title role, October performances)

  • Has starred as Carmen in Munich, Berlin, and for her San Francisco Opera debut
  • Began her professional career at the Arena di Verona as Preziosilla/La forza del destino (2000), returned as Fenena/Nabucco (2002)
  • Chosen by Franco Zeffirelli as Amneris/Aida for his new production, premiered in Busseto on the centenary of Verdi’s death (revived in seven Italian cities, released on DVD)
  • Other highlights include Maddalena/Rigoletto (Metropolitan Opera), Nero/The Coronation of Poppea (Barcelona), appearances as Idamante/Idomeneo and in world première of Deborah Drattel’s Nicholas and Alexandra (Los Angeles Opera), Orsini/Lucrezia Borgia with Renée Fleming (Washington National Opera)

Bulgarian mezzo-soprano NADIA KRASTEVA (title role, March performances)

  • Has starred as Carmen at the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Netherlands Opera, and in St. Gallen, Sofia, and the opera festivals of St. Margarethen (Austria – released on DVD), Riga, and Savonlinna (DVD)
  • Since her debut at the Vienna State Opera (2002) as Fenena/Nabucco, has sung more than 30 leading roles there, among them Léonor/La favorite, Giulietta/Les contes d’Hoffmann, Marina/Boris Godunov, Ulrica/A Masked Ball
  • Participated in the November 2005 gala concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Vienna State Opera’s reopening
  • Schedule includes Carmen at the Bolshoi, Eboli/Don Carlos (in the original French) in Munich and Vienna, Preziosilla/La forza del destino in Paris

Korean tenor YONGHOON LEE  (Don José, October performances)

  • Following previous successes as Don José in Amsterdam and with Glyndebourne on Tour (in Great Britain), will sing the role later this season at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera, where he debuts this month as Verdi’s Don Carlo
  • Also as Don Carlo, recently made first appearances in Germany (Frankfurt), Spain (Valencia), and South America (Santiago)
  • Made his Italian debut in 2008 at the Rome Opera as Cavaradossi/Tosca (new production by Franco Zeffirelli), subsequently debuted in Athens in the same work
  • Schedule includes Metropolitan Opera debut

  French conductor ALAIN ALTINOGLU

  • Has led productions at the Opéra National de Paris, the Théâtre Musical de Paris Châtelet, and the major opera companies of San Francisco, Toulouse, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and the Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence festivals
  • Principal conductor of the renowned Orchestre National de Montpellier since the 2007-08 season
  • Has conducted many other major ensembles, among them France’s Orchestre National, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Berlin Staatskapelle, Sinfonia Varsovia, Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin
  • Projects during the 2009-10 season include Salome (Opéra  National de Paris), Carmen (Metropolitan Opera), Faust (Berlin State Opera), triple bill of La voix humaine, Erwartung, and Pierrot Lunaire (Toulouse)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

American tenor SHAWN MATHEY (Lysander)

  • Current season includes La clemenza di Tito for his return to Zurich, The Magic Flute and Così fan tutte at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera, Haydn’s Creation with Bavarian Radio, Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Enjoys a close association with Frankfurt Opera, where his diverse repertoire encompasses major roles of Handel, Mozart, Schubert (Eginhard/Fierrabras), Verdi, Janáček, and Berg
  • Debuted at Covent Garden as Beppe/Pagliacci 
  • Highly successful in Mozart, including Belmonte and Tamino (Zurich), Ferrando (Paris, Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Vienna, DVD), The Magic Flute and La finta giardiniera (both in Zurich)

American mezzo-soprano KELLEY O’CONNOR (Hippolyta) 

  • Recently portrayed Hippolyta at Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company
  • Highlights of her 2009-10 season include concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (under Dudamel), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (under Haitink), debuts with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic
  • Highly successful performing contemporary works with major orchestras,  with recent successes including John Adams’s El Niño (St. Louis), world premiere of Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964 (Dallas), Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony (Baltimore), Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (New York)
  • Created Lorca/Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar at Tanglewood and has sung the role at Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Ravinia and Ojai festivals, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (CD)

English conductor RORY MacDONALD 

  • For the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has led The Barber of Seville, Fidelio, and Das Rheingold for mainstage performances; and Glass’s Orphée, Britten’s Owen Wingrave, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the ROH’s Linbury Studio Theatre
  • Other operatic engagements include The Elixir of Love (Welsh National Opera), The Abduction from the Seraglio (Opera North), Idomeneo, Così fan tutte, and Albert Herring (all with Glyndebourne on Tour)
  • Plans include additional Barber performances at Covent Garden, The Pearl Fishers at English National Opera, concerts with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra  
  • Former member of the Royal Opera’s Young Artist Programme and former assistant conductor at the Hallé Orchestra, with which he led concerts throughout northwest Britain

The Mikado

  English tenor TOBY SPENCE (Nanki-Poo)

  • Has earned successes onstage in Brussels (The Magic Flute, La Calisto), Munich (Idomeneo), Salzburg (Les Troyens, Mitridate, Rè di Ponto), Berlin (Il matrimonio segreto), Amsterdam (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria), among many other prestigious venues
  • Has made highly successful appearances with the BBC Proms, Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestras, Luxembourg Philharmonic, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Montreux Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony
  • Alumnus of New College, Oxford (where he was a choral scholar)
  • Featured in recordings on seven major labels

  American mezzo-soprano STEPHANIE BLYTHE (Katisha, also Ulrica/A Masked Ball)

  • A favorite artist at the Metropolitan Opera, where this season she reprised the three roles in Puccini’s Trittico (Frugola/Il tabarro, Princess/Suor Angelica, Zita/Gianni Schichhi) with which she triumphed in the production’s 2007 premiere
  • Highlights of her 2009-10 season also include appearances in Carnegie Hall with both the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in concerts conducted by James Levine
  • Has also had great successes in such major houses as Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera (where she won tremendous critical praise last summer in the Ring cycle)
  • Recently premiered and recorded the second song cycle composed especially for her by Alan Smith, Covered Wagon Woman, commissioned for Blythe’s residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center 

The Girl of the Golden West

Italian baritone MARCO VRATOGNA  (Jack Rance)

  • Successes in Puccini repertoire include Tosca (Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg), Madama Butterfly (Stuttgart)
  • Began the current season as Iago/Otello at San Francisco Opera
  • Many other successes in Verdi, including Nabucco (Rome, Verona, Ravenna, Genoa, Frankfurt), Macbeth (Stockholm, Frankfurt), Il trovatore (Seville, Stuttgart, Trieste), Luisa Miller (Leipzig), I masnadieri  (Brussels),  A Masked Ball (Covent Garden, Dresden),  Simon Boccanegra (role of Paolo in seven major houses, also on DVD from Bologna’s Teatro Comunale),  Aida (Verona, Munich), Otello (Stuttgart, Parma, Hamburg)
  • Schedule includes Carmen (Philadelphia), Aida (Covent Garden), Andrea Chénier (Madrid), Attila (La Scala)


German mezzo-soprano MICHAELA SCHUSTER (Ortrud)

  • Began her career with the ensemble of the State Theater of Darmstadt (1999), where she appeared in major roles of Wagner, Massenet, Offenbach, Mascagni, and Strauss
  • Guest engagements have brought her successes at Dresden’s Semperoper (Sieglinde/Die Walküre), the Berlin State Opera, and the opera companies of Karsruhe, Mannheim, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart
  • Has appeared as Ortrud at Bavarian State Opera and Norske Opera Oslo; and as Sieglinde at the Teatro Real Madrid
  • Her wide-ranging concert repertoire has brought her appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, with Radio France in Paris, and the Alte Oper Frankfurt, among other prestigious ensembles

German bass GEORG ZEPPENFELD (King Henry) 

  • Since 2001 he has been a permanent ensemble member of one of Europe’s most distinguished opera houses, Dresden’s Semperoper
  • Has also appeared with the major companies of Hannover, Mannheim, and Bern
  • Has won praise in such major bass roles as Sarastro/The Magic Flute, the Commendatore/Don Giovanni, Fasolt/Das Rheingold, Pimen/Boris Godunov, and Padre Guardiano/La forza del destino


English soprano LUCY CROWE (Iole)

  • Scored great successes in debuts with Scottish Opera (Sophie/Der Rosenkavalier, returned as Nannetta/Falstaff) and English National Opera (Poppea/Handel’s Agrippina, returned as Drusilla/The Coronation of Poppea)
  • Other opera engagements include Susanna/The Marriage of Figaro and Elisa/Il re pastore (Garsington Opera); and Susanna (Opera North)
  • Has rapidly established herself in Baroque repertoire internationally with appearances with such major early-instrument ensembles as The English Concert, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, the City of London Sinfonia, and Les Musiciens du Louvre
  • Schedule includes Belinda/Dido and Aeneas and Sophie at Covent Garden




American stage director BARARA GAINES / Macbeth (debut)

  • Founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she has directed more than 30 Shakespeare plays, most recently this season’s Richard III and last season’s Macbeth 
  • Honors include the 2008 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and seven Joseph Jefferson Awards (Hamlet, Cymbeline, King Lear, and The Comedy of Errors for Best Production, Cymbeline, King Lear, and The Comedy of Errors for Best Director)
  • Awarded the prestigious Honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2005 for contributions to strengthening British-American cultural relations
  • Serves on the Shakespearean Council of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (London) and on the Cultural Affairs Advisory Board for the City of Chicago; has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Recipient of the Public Humanities Award from the Illinois Humanities Council

American stage director HARRY SILVERSTEIN / Carmen

  • Lyric Opera debut with La traviata (1998-99)
  • Productions include Houston Grand Opera productions of the three Mozart/da Ponte operas, also Così fan tutte (Dallas Opera, Utah Opera), Don Giovanni (Dallas Opera, Wolf Trap Opera), Idomeneo (Opera Northern Ireland), Philip Glass’s Making of the Representative for Planet Eight (European premiere at English National Opera, subsequently in Amsterdam and Kiel), Satyagraha (San Francisco, Seattle), Akhnaten (ENO, New York City Opera), Fall of the House of Usher (São Paulo)
  • Other contemporary works including world premieres of Stephen Barlow’s King (England’s Canterbury Cathedral) and Conrad Cummings’s Tonkin (OperaDelaware), also much-acclaimed Chicago Opera Theater production of Robert Kurka’s The Good Soldier Schweik
  • Credits in the standard repertoire include Rigoletto (San Francisco, Houston, Dallas), La traviata (Houston, Detroit), Madama Butterfly (Melbourne, Auckland), Lucia di Lammermoor (Dallas), Il trovatore (Tulsa), Tosca (Detroit)
  • More than 20 productions as director of DePaul Opera Theatre

Australian stage director NEIL ARMFIELD /A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • Previous success at Lyric Opera directing Sweeney Todd (2002-03)
  • Has staged productions at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Zurich Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Australia
  • Founding artistic director of Company B Theatre in Sydney, Australia, where he has staged more than three dozen productions; has also directed productions at the major theater companies of Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland, and South Australia
  • Has directed three films: Twelfth Night (1987), The Castanet Club (1990), and Candy (2006, starring Heath Ledger, Abby Cornish, and Geoffrey Rush)
  • Made an Office of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to the arts, nationally and internationally, as a director of theater, opera and film, and as a promoter of innovative Australian productions

Italian stage director and soprano RENATA SCOTTO / A Masked Ball

  • Previous successes at Lyric include directing La bohème (2007-08); starring soprano in five seasons, from 1960 through 1987-88,  in seven roles, including Mimì/La bohème (American debut), title role/Madama Butterfly, title role/Manon, Amelia/Un ballo in maschera, title role/Tosca
  • One of the greatest operatic sopranos of the 20th century, who has forged a highly successful career as a director
  • Debuted as a director with Madama Butterfly (Metropolitan Opera, 1986), which she directed subsequently in Verona, Miami, Dallas, and to open the 2006-07 season in Genoa
  • Has directed for the New York City Opera (La traviata, Emmy winner for 1995 PBS telecast) and the major companies of Detroit (La sonnambula), Miami (Tosca, La traviata, La sonnambula.), Helsinki (Norma), Bern and Bologna (co-production of La Wally ), Athens (Turandot), and Catania  (Il pirata and  La sonnambula for the Bellini Festival)
  • In Turin, sang Poulenc’s La voix humaine on a double bill with Menotti’s The Medium, for which she created the staging and also made her role debut as Mme. Flora. 

American stage director GARY GRIFFIN / The Mikado  

  • Debuted at Lyric this season directing The Merry Widow
  • Associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where he has directed Private Lives, Passion, A Flea in Her Ear, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, The Herbal Bed, Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet
  • Broadway directing credits include The Color Purple (11 Tony nominations, including Best Musical – also directed national tour) and The Apple Tree (Tony nomination for Best Musical Revival)
  • Off-Broadway credits include Saved (Playwrights Horizons), The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English, The New Moon (all for the Encores series), and Beautiful Thing
  • London credits include Pacific Overtures at Donmar Warehouse (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production, Olivier Award nomination for Best Director)
  • Regional credits include work with the Old Globe, Alliance Theatre, Signature Theatre, and Hartford Stage
  • Chicago credits include work with Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Pegasus Players, and Famous Door Theatre; has received eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing

American stage director HAROLD PRINCE  / The Girl of the Golden West (Original Production)
  • Previous successes at Lyric Opera: Madama Butterfly (2008-09, 2003-04, 1997-98, 1991-92, 1985-86, 1982); Candide (1994-95); La fanciulla del West (1990-91, 1978)
  • Among the first productions of major musicals directed by Prince are She Loves Me, Cabaret, Company, Follies, Candide (premiere of new version, 1973), Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Evita, The Phantom Of The Opera, and Parade
  • In addition to Lyric Opera, his opera productions have been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, New York City Opera, Vienna State Opera, and the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires)
  • Before becoming a director, Prince was a producer with major credits including the original productions of The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Fiorello!, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Received a National Medal of Arts for the year 2000 from President Clinton for a career spanning more than 40 years, in which “he changed the nature of the American musical”
  • Recipient of 20 Tony Awards, he was also a 1994 Kennedy Center Honoree.

  American stage director VINCENT LIOTTA / The Girl of the Golden West

  • Previous successes at Lyric Opera include The Elixir of Love (2009-10, 1999-00, 1981); Madama Butterfly (2008-09, 2003-04, 1997-98) 
  • Has revived Harold Prince’s Madama Butterfly production in Chicago, Houston, and Buenos Aires
  • Has also directed for the major companies of San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles, as well as at the Vienna State Opera
  • Recent productions include Candide (Romanian National Opera) and Madama Butterfly (Hungarian National Opera)
  • For Kansas City Lyric Opera has directed the Henry Mollicone/Sheldon Harnick Coyote Tales (world premiere), plus operas of Wagner, Strauss, and Barber
  • Heads the opera-directing program at Indiana University, where his nearly 50 productions have included this season’s A Light in the Piazza (collegiate premiere) and  La rondine

*English stage director ELIJAH MOSHINSKY / Lohengrin
  • Previous successes at Lyric include eight productions since 1985, most recently Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (2008-09, 2002-03), The Pirates of Penzance (2003-04), Attila (2000-01)
  • One of the most prolific and successful creators of opera productions on the international scene
  • Acclaimed stagings by Moshinsky have recently been seen at the Metropolitan Opera (The Queen of Spades), Vienna State Opera (Stiffelio), Houston Grand Opera (Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci, Béatrice et Bénédict), Opera Austrlia (Werther), State Opera of South Australia (Rigoletto), and San Francisco Opera (Simon Boccanegra)
  • Among Moshinsky’s innumerable other productions worldwide are several Verdi stagings at the Met (including Luisa Miller and the televised Nabucco), Covent Garden (six operas including Il trovatore and Peter Grimes, both released on DVD), the Welsh National Opera (Ernani); Opera Australia (Boris Godunov, Rigoletto, Dialogue of the Carmelites); St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater (La forza del destino)
  • His work has also encompassed Shadowlands on Broadway; Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance in London’s West End; the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Richard III and Lord of the Flies
  • Has directed dozens of televised specials, including five Shakespeare plays for BBC television, numerous opera productions (including, for PBS, Otello, Samson et Dalila, Queen of Spades, a special, Divas, and Lyric’s Antony and Cleopatra)

*born in Shanghai, raised in Australia, lives in England

American stage director PETER SELLARS /Hercules

  • Previous successes at Lyric: Doctor Atomic (2007-08, stage director and librettist); Tannhäuser (1988-89); The Mikado (1983)
  • A driving force in creating many new works with longtime collaborator John Adams, such as Nixon in China; The Death of Klinghoffer; El Niño, Doctor Atomic, and A Flowering Tree
  • Recent opera productions include Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater (Paris, Helsinki, Santa Fe); Saariaho’s La Pasion de Simone, Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic; other recent projects have included a new production of Euripides’s The Children of Herakles; a Chicano version of Stravinsky's The Story of a Soldier; Antonin Artaud’s radio play coupled with the poetry of the late June Jordan, For an End to the Judgment of God/Kissing God Goodbye; and Tristan and Isolde with video artist Bill Viola and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. Has brought many 20th-century and contemporary operas to the stage, including works by Messiaen, Hindemith, Ligeti, and Golijov; has also guided the creation of new productions that have expanded the modern opera repertoire
  • Mounted new production of Othello starring John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman at New York’s Public Theater (2009)
  • Served as artistic director of Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival, international artists from music and opera, architecture, the visual arts, and film to create new projects celebrating Mozart’s 250th-anniversary year (2006); has worked at theater and
  • Professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA and a Resident Curator of the Telluride Film Festival; recipient, MacArthur Fellowship (1983); elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Evening performances of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2010-11 season begin at 7:30 p.m. sharp except for Opening Night (7 p.m.) and Lohengrin (6 p.m.). Matinee performances begin at 2:00 p.m. sharp except for Lohengrin (1 p.m.). Latecomers will not be seated until intermission.

Call 312-332-2244, ext. 5600 to purchase subscription tickets and single tickets, or go to  Also available on Lyric’s website is a 15-minute season preview with commentary and musical excerpts from each opera, which can be downloaded. Photographs are available on request – please contact Carrie Napolilli, 312-827-5923, or