Florian Opera Bistro opens at the Civic Opera House - Lyric Opera of Chicago

Florian Opera Bistro opens at the Civic Opera House

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, August 13, 2009


Florian Opera Bistro
opens at the Civic Opera House September 30
One of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s two new restaurants is named for Sonia Florian,
Lyric board member and production sponsor


Florian Opera Bistro is one of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s two new restaurants debuting on Weds., Sept. 30. It will enable Lyric ticketholders to enjoy affordable, casually sophisticated meals in a convivial, operatic atmosphere on a first-come first-served basis – no reservations.

Florian Opera Bistro is named for Sonia and William C. Florian in gratitude for their generous contribution to Lyric, general director William Mason announced today. Sonia Florian is a valued member of Lyric’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The Florians are longtime subscribers to and generous supporters of Lyric Opera of Chicago as individuals and through the WNIB Foundation.

The atmosphere of the Florian Opera Bistro is convivial and inviting, with chic and comfortably elegant décor. An exceptional collection of beautifully framed photos from Lyric’s storied past and exciting present sets the perfect tone for an enjoyable repast before or after a performance.

“Sonia and Bill Florian and NIB Foundation are generous supporters of Lyric productions and campaigns,” says Mason. “The NIB Foundation has cosponsored eight productions since the 2002/03 season, including the coming season’s The Elixir of Love; and has provided major support to the Campaign for Excellence. Sonia was a Diamond-Tier sponsor of the 50th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2005. We are deeply grateful that the Florians and NIB Foundation have given Lyric this extremely generous gift at the start of the company’s 55th season, which is also the 80th anniversary of the Civic Opera House.”

Sonia and William C. Florian founded and managed classical music station WNIB-FM for 45 years (beginning in 1955). They sold the station in 2001 and created the NIB Foundation, which supports the arts and environmental causes. Mrs. Florian joined Lyric’s Board of Directors in 2003 and is also a member of the Executive Committee. A native of the Chicago area, she studied music and voice, and considered a career in opera before launching the radio station with her husband. After they sold the station they donated many of WNIB’s vocal and operatic recordings to Lyric’s Education Library, helping to make it one of the most extensive collections of its kind in the country.

The NIB Foundation has generously cosponsored the following Lyric productions: La traviata (2002/03), Lucia di Lammermoor (2003/04), Tosca (2004/05), Rigoletto (2005/06), Il trovatore (2006/07), La bohème (2007/08), Madama Butterfly (2008/09), and The Elixir of Love (2009/10). A significant and much-appreciated contribution to Lyric’s endowment established The NIB Foundation Italian Opera Endowed Chair.

“The Florians are pleased in this small way to provide a relaxing and enjoyable setting  for food and spirits both before and after the opera,”  says Sonia Florian.

Florian Opera Bistro will accommodate up to 136 people at any one time in an attractive new space on the Dress-Circle level (third floor) of the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr. A full à la carte menu will be offered before all Lyric Opera performances (evening and matinee), with light refreshments and full bar service available during all intermissions and for an hour following evening performances. The full bistro menu will also be served following matinee performances.

Both of Lyric’s new restaurants – Florian Opera Bistro and The Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room – will be open for beverage service during the Lyric’s Opening Night Gala Benefit on Sat., Sept. 26.

A press release about both new restaurants, with full menu details, is being sent separately.


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