LOHENGRIN opens February 11 at Lyric Opera of Chicago - Lyric Opera of Chicago

LOHENGRIN opens February 11 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Medieval pageantry and THE most famous wedding march
at the Civic Opera House – but don’t ask the groom his name!
LOHENGRIN opens February 11 at Lyric Opera of Chicago –
Wagnerian Holy Grail tale makes its first return in 31 years
starring Johan Botha, Emily Magee, Greer Grimsley,
Michaela Schuster, Georg Zeppenfeld, and Lester Lynch
Sir Andrew Davis conducts Covent Garden production, Elijah Moshinsky dir.
Tickets from $33 – www.lyricopera.org or 312-332-2244
Opening-night broadcast live on 98.7WFMT and www.wfmt.com 


DISCOVERY SERIES with Emily Magee, Greer Grimsley,
Sir Andrew Davis, and Roger Pines (moderator)
Tues., Feb. 8, 6-7 p.m. at UBS Tower, 1 N. Wacker Dr.
$16 at door or call 312-827-5912 to reserve


Talk about wedding-bell blues!  A young woman in peril is rescued by a mysterious knight who arrives in a swan-drawn boat, no less. Gratefully, she agrees to marry him – but she must never ask his name or where he’s from – easier said than done, especially when doubts are planted in her mind by a scheming pair of rivals.


Some see Lohengrin as Richard Wagner’s first masterpiece. Others say it was his stepping-stone to the Ring cycle. Either way, it’s the perfect melding of vocal and orchestral forces and a dramatic tour de force not to be missed, especially with Lyric’s top-of-the-line international cast.


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 German Romantic 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 original movement director is Eleanor Fazan.

Lohengrin  has been produced by Lyric Opera only once previously, in 1980, Lyric’s general director William 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. We’re also delighted that Ryan Opera Center alumna Amber Wagner will assume the role for the final two performances. 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 a few seasons back.”

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




Tuesday, February 8, 6 – 7 p.m.  

Join Emily Magee (Elsa), Greer Grimsley (Telramund), and conductor Sir Andrew Davis in an exploration of this magnificent work. UBS Tower Ballroom, 1 N. Wacker Dr. (directly across from the Civic Opera House). Individual tickets $16. Call the Education Department for more information: 312- 332-2244.



Friday, February 11 through Tuesday, March 8 at 5 p.m.

Lohengrin lectures by music critic Wynne Delacoma before performances Feb. 11, 16, 20, 25*, Mar. 1, 5, 8. *Pre-matinee lecture starts at 12 p.m. Free 30-minutes lectures in the 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.


The opening-night performance of Lohengrin on Fri., Feb. 11 will air live on 98.7WFMT and www.wfmt.com beginning at 5:45 p.m., with WFMT’s George Preston as host and Lyric dramaturg Roger Pines as commentator. The Matthew Bucksbaum Family is the generous sponsor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Bucksbaum Family Broadcasts, with matching funding provided by The Crown Family and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart.


For production photos, please contact Carrie Napolilli after Feb. 7:  312-827-5923 or cnapolilli@lyricopera.org