Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s lectures, special events & benefits

Wednesday, August 29, 2012  

Get the most out of YOUR opera experience with
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s lectures, special events & benefits!

Lyric’s fabulous 2012-13 season is about to begin! To help audiences make the most of their opera experience, Lyric Opera of Chicago offers an array of lectures, tours, galas, and other special events during its 58th season, October through May.

Please take note of these highlights for your season-preview coverage and/or calendar listings. Photos available on request. Additional information at


Saturday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park Concert

A fabulous free outdoor concert, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s preseason gift to the city, which annually attracts capacity audiences of 16,000+. Conductor Stephen Lord will lead the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus and an array of outstanding soloists including sopranos Christine Goerke, Susanna Phillips, and Amber Wagner; mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges; and tenors René Barbera and Brandon Jovanovich – joined by featured artists from Lyric’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. The Lyric Opera of Chicago Broadcasts airs this concert live on 98.7WFMT and starting at 7:15 p.m. Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Saturday, October 6: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for Gala reception; performance at 6:30 p.m.

ELEKTRA Opening Night Gala Benefit

Always elegant and exciting, Lyric Opera’s Opening Night Gala has long been considered the crown jewel of Chicago’s social season. This year’s riveting new production of Richard Strauss’s Elektra will be reflected in the dramatic décor for the gala. Complimentary hors d’oeuvre will be served before the performance on all levels of the opera house, with a post-performance reception for all patrons in the Rice Grand Foyer. (The performance lasts 100 minutes with no intermission.) Elektra begins at 6:30 p.m., starring Christine Goerke (debut), Emily Magee, Jill Grove, Alan Held, and Roger Honeywell in a new production staged by Sir David McVicar and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production design is by John Macfarlane, with lighting by Jennifer Tipton.

Opening Night Gala Benefit, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., $79 to $425 (does not include Opera Ball). To purchase tickets for the Opening Night Gala Benefit, go to, or call (312) 827-5600.

The Opera Ball immediately follows the performance at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel’s Atlantic Ballroom, 221 N. Columbus Dr., $575, white or black tie. Cocktail reception, Grand March presentation of the evening’s artists, seated dinner, and dancing to the Bradley Young Orchestra. To purchase tickets for the Opera Ball, please go to, or call (312) 827-5682.

Saturday, October 20, 8 a.m. – midnight


Tune in to 98.7WFMT or for Lyric Opera’s 33rd annual live radio fundraiser featuring on-air conversations with Lyric stars, artistic staff, and general director Anthony Freud. Phone in your pledges and make purchases from the wide selection of exclusive Lyric Opera merchandise, autographed items, and restaurant gift certificates that are offered via Lyric’s OPERATHON catalog, available in September. All proceeds support Lyric’s education and community-engagement programs for all ages. For more information and to obtain a catalog, call (312) 827-5658. To pledge on Oct. 20, call 1-888-726-5700.

Sunday, December 2, 2 p.m.

Popcorn & Pasquale – An Opera Adventure for Kids and Families

A special afternoon designed to introduce kids (ages 5-12) and their families to the opera in a fun and fabulous way. The 70-minute opera adventure hosted by Chicago actor Ross Lehman features scenes from Lyric’s production of Donizetti’s charming comedy Don Pasquale, a singalong, interviews with the opera characters, watching a scene change, and more. $10-20 for kids 12 and under, $20-40 for adults. Call 312-332-2244 or go to to reserve.

Saturday, January 5, 8 p.m.

The Second City Guide to the Opera

In the grand tradition of Victor Borge, PDQ Bach, and the Marx Brothers, Chicago’s legendary comedy troupe, The Second City, takes on the world of opera – its traditions, stars, and audiences! This comedy and musical revue at the Civic Opera House will feature Lyric’s creative consultant Renée Fleming and a host of talented comedians and singers. Tickets $20-$95; benefit tickets for $250 include a reception with the stars following the performance. Call 312-332-2244 or go to to reserve.

Thursday, January 24, 8 p.m.

Renée Fleming and Susan Graham in Recital

The two dazzling divas present an unforgettable evening of song with pianist Bradley Moore onstage at the Civic Opera House. Tickets from $35. Call 312-332-2244 or go to to reserve.

Saturday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Fantasy of the Opera

Celebrate the 29th annual Fantasy of the Opera benefit at the Civic Opera House, with exceptional restaurant tasting stations or a seated dinner, silent auction, raffle, cabaret, and dancing! Fantasy is the “hottest party in the coldest month” – a perfect mid-winter revel and Lyric fundraiser, and one of Chicago’s liveliest black-tie events. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., $275 or $500, reservations required.  For more information, call Lyric Opera’s Guild Board office: (312) 827-5656.

Sunday, February 24 and March 17 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Guild Board Backstage Tours

The backstage at Lyric Opera of Chicago is open to the public just two times this season! Don't miss this chance to see the magic behind the scenes! Tour stops include wardrobe department, wig & make-up department, scenery handling facility, armory room, props room, orchestra pit, and mainstage. Tours last approximately two hours. Backstage Tour $35, box lunch available for $12, cash bar. Premier Tour $150 departs between 10:30 – 11 a.m.; includes photograph on Lyric Opera's mainstage, parting gift, seated gourmet lunch in an exclusive private dining room with a Lyric Opera insider. Group Tours of 15 or more available at a discounted price. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr. Reservations required. For more information call the Guild Board office: (312) 827-5626.


Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg and broadcast commentator, moderates eight discussion sessions with singers, directors, and conductors from the 2012-13 season. All sessions held at UBS Tower Ballroom, 1 N. Wacker Dr. (directly across from the Civic Opera House). Individual sessions available for $16 each; entire series of eight sessions for $104. Call (312) 332-2244 or go to to purchase tickets.

Tuesday, October 9, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Elektra

Richard Strauss became the "bad boy" of classical music by pushing the envelope to the extreme. His Elektra only cemented that reputation! Join Elektra herself, Christine Goerke, along with Emily Magee (Chrysothemis), Jill Grove (Clytemnestra), and conductor Sir Andrew Davis for a look at this musically complex psychological thrill-ride.

Tuesday, October 16, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Simon Boccanegra

If you love the male voice, here's your chance to get up close to three of the most illustrious stars in the business. Hear Thomas Hampson, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Frank Lopardo explain the intricacies and delights of one of Verdi's most sublime scores.

Wednesday, November 7, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Werther

One of the great romantic tragedies, Werther is a story of love, hope, and finally, despair. This production of the Massenet masterwork is directed by Francisco Negrin, who dazzled us last season with his Rinaldo. For this Discovery session he's joined by Matthew Polenzani (Werther) and Sophie Koch (Charlotte) in a thoughtful discussion of the opera that's based on the classic Goethe novel.

Tuesday, November 20, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Don Pasquale

What's funnier than an old codger smitten with a beautiful young woman? That's the plot of this Donizetti comedy. But there's much more to it! Hear director Sir Thomas Allen, conductor Stephen Lord, Marlis Petersen (Norina) and the Don himself, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, discuss this comedy with a heart.

Monday, December 10, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Hansel & Gretel

We all know the children's story of two kids getting lost in the woods and happening upon a witch who lives in a gingerbread house. But the opera, especially this production, goes much deeper into the characters and their motivations. Elizabeth DeShong (Hansel), Maria Kanyova (Gretel), and general director Anthony Freud give you the what's-what on this late-Romantic classic.

Tuesday, January 22, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – La Bohème

Some people say La Bohème is a comedy with a sad ending; for others, it's a heavenly romance. Regardless of how it's viewed, it's the most popular opera of all time! Ana María Martínez (Mimì), Dimitri Pittas (Rodolfo), and conductor Emmanuel Villaume talk about this melody-filled Puccini jewel.

Tuesday, February 5, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Twenty-four hours in 16th-century Nürnberg on the longest day of the year. That's the when and where of Wagner's comedy. But there is much more—after all, it's Wagner! Join James Morris, Johan Botha, Bo Skovhus, Sir Andrew Davis, and director Marie Lambert as they discuss the opera that Paderewski called "the greatest work of genius ever achieved by any artist in any field of human endeavor."

Tuesday, February 19, 6 – 7 p.m.

Discovery Series – Rigoletto

One of Verdi's defining operas, Rigoletto is a fountain of memorable melodies, while its subject matter involves moral depravity, licentiousness, and plenty of emotional devastation. Be there when Giuseppe Filianoti (the Duke of Mantua), conductor Evan Rogister, and director Stephen Barlow delve into this Verdi favorite.


Free pre-opera lectures will be offered before every performance of every opera in the mainstage season (except Oct. 6, opening night of the season) to enhance the opera-going experience. Ardis Krainik Theatre, Civic Opera House. Ticket for that date’s opera performance must be shown for lecture admission. Open seating on main floor. Call the Education Department for more information: (312) 827-5912.

Wednesday, October 10 through Tuesday, October 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Elektra lectures by Jesse Rosenberg, musicology professor at Northwestern University, before performances Oct. 10, 13, 19, 22, 26*, 30. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Monday, October 15 through Friday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Simon Boccanegra lectures by Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg, before performances Oct. 15, 20, 24, 28*, 31*, Nov. 3, 6, 9. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Sunday, November 11 through Monday, November 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Werther lectures by Jesse Gram, Lyric’s audience education manager, before performances Nov. 11*, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Sunday, November 25 through Saturday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Don Pasquale lectures by Jack Zimmerman, Lyric’s subscriber relations manager, before performances Nov. 25*, 28, Dec. 6*, 8, 10, 15. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Friday, December 7 through Saturday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Hansel & Gretel lectures by Jesse Gram, Lyric’s audience education manager, before performances Dec. 7, 12, 14*, 16*, Jan. 8, 11, 14, 17*, 19. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Monday, January 21 through Thursday, February 7; Saturday, March 9 through Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m.

La Bohème lectures by 98.7WFMT radio host Carl Grapentine before performances Jan. 21, 24*, 27*, Feb. 2, 7, Mar. 9, 12, 15*, 18, 22, 28*. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Friday, February 8 through Sunday, March 3 at 4:30 p.m.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg lectures by Nicholas Ivor Martin, Lyric’s director of operations, before performances Feb. 8, 12, 16, 20, 23, 27*, Mar. 3*. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 12 p.m.

Monday, February 25 through Saturday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Rigoletto lectures by music critic Wynne Delacoma before performances Feb. 25, Mar. 1*, 4, 7, 10*, 14*, 20, 23, 27*, 30. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 26 through Saturday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m.

A Streetcar Named Desire lectures by a to-be-announced host before performances Mar. 26, 29, Apr. 3, 6*. *Pre-matinee lectures start at 1 p.m.

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park lead sponsor: closerlook, inc.; cosponsored by: An Anonymous Donor, AT&T, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, James N. and Laurie Bay, Christine and Paul Branstad Family Foundation, Rhoda and Henry Frank, Greg and Ann Jones & Family, Music Performance and Film Funds.

Opening Night Gala Benefit 2012 sponsored by Aon Corporation.

The Opera Ball sponsored by ITW and Northern Trust. Opera Ball Reception sponsored by GRAFF.

OPERATHON 2012 sponsor: Booz & Company.

Popcorn & Pasquale presenting sponsor: Chicago Tribune.

Renée Fleming & Susan Graham in Recital exclusive sponsor: BMO Harris Bank.

Fantasy of the Opera 2013 cosponsored by Anonymous (3), closerlook, inc., Eisen Family Foundation, Richard P. and Susan Kiphart, Mayer Brown LLP, Allan and Elaine Muchin, Blythe Jaski McGarvie, Alan Schriesheim and Kay Torshen, Spencer Stuart, and the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation.

Guild Board Backstage Tours sponsored by Robert W. Baird & Company, Inc.

Lyric Opera Discovery Series made possible by support from the Katherine A. Abelson Educational Endowment Fund.

Pre-Opera Lectures sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Edward O. Boshell, Jr., Kip Kelley, Robert and Ellen Vladem, and James and Michelle Young.