Lyric Opera of Chicago

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, September 8

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lyric Opera’s annual gift to Chicago!
“Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert
Performance begins 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 8  

Program features Act One/Verdi’s La traviata & Act Four/Bizet’s Carmen,
plus highlights from Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Verdi’s Don Carlos and Nabucco,
and Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana  

Featured artists include René Barbera, J’nai Bridges, Christine Goerke,
Brandon Jovanovich, Susanna Phillips, Amber Wagner, and members of
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center,
with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Lyric Opera Chorus
Stephen Lord, conductor and Martin Wright, chorus master 

Lead Sponsor: closerlook, inc.

Cosponsors: an Anonymous Donor, AT&T, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP,
James N. and Laurie Bay, Christine and Paul Branstad Family Foundation,
Rhoda L. and Henry S. Frank, Greg and Ann Jones & Family,
and by the Music Performance and Film Funds

Presented in cooperation with the City of Chicago and Millennium Park  

The Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert will be heard live
on 98.7WFMT and as part of the Lyric Opera of Chicago
, which are generously sponsored by 
The Hurvis Charitable Foundation
with matching funding provided by
The Matthew Bucksbaum Family and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart 

Check Lyric’s Facebook and Twitter pages
for live behind-the-scenes and audience video and photos
throughout the evening of September 8  

On Saturday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m., Lyric Opera of Chicago will present its annual gift to the city, a free outdoor concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The concert annually attracts capacity crowds of 11,000+.

American conductor Stephen Lord will lead the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus and an array of outstanding soloists. These include sopranos Christine Goerke, Susanna Phillips, and Amber Wagner; mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges; and tenors René Barbera and Brandon Jovanovich. Also performing will be ensemble members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center: sopranos Tracy Cantin and Kiri Deonarine, mezzo-soprano Cecelia Hall, tenor Bernard Holcomb, baritones Joseph Lim and Will Liverman, and bass-baritone David Govertsen.

Goerke makes her Lyric debut starring in the title role of the season opener, Elektra. Phillips will costar as Stella in the season closer, A Streetcar Named Desire (with Lyric’s creative consultant Renée Fleming as her sister Blanche). Bridges will appear in Elektra (debut), Simon Boccanegra, and Rigoletto. Barbera will portray Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Wagner sang the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos last season, and Jovanovich portrayed Don José/Carmen in 2010-11.

The Lyric Opera Chorus returns to The Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert for the first time since 2007, prepared by the company’s new chorus master, Martin Wright. The chorus plays a central role in the portions of La traviata and Carmen being performed, and will also feature prominently in several other highlights of the concert.

“I’m delighted that our magnificent chorus can be so prominently featured in this concert after a five-year absence,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “Along with our exceptional orchestra and soloists they will be heard by an enormous and appreciative audience, both in the beautiful Pritzker Pavilion and Millennium Park grounds and on the radio broadcast.”

The evening will open with the complete Act One of La traviata, featuring Susanna Phillips/Violetta, René Barbera/Alfredo, Cecelia Hall/Flora, Bernard Holcomb/Gastone, Will Liverman/Douphol, David Goversten/d’Obigny, and the chorus.

Following intermission, the chorus will perform the Entrance of the Guests from Act Two of Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Portraying Princess Eboli in Act Four of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Christine Goerke will sing the aria “O don fatal et détesté.” The chorus will then sing the famously inspiring “Va pensiero” from Verdi’s Nabucco. Amber Wagner as Santuzza will join the chorus for the Easter Hymn scene from Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana.

The complete Act Four of Bizet’s Carmen will close the concert, featuring J’nai Bridges/ Carmen, Brandon Jovanovich/Don José, Joseph Lim/Escamillo, Kiri Deonarine/Frasquita, Cecelia Hall/Mercédès, David Govertsen/Zuniga, Tracy Cantin/A Girl, Will Liverman/A Gypsy, and the chorus.

The September 8 free outdoor concert is Lyric’s twelfth. It will take place in Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry.

The Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park free concert will be carried live on 98.7WFMT and George Preston, 98.7WFMT’s afternoon drive-time program host, and Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg, will host the Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert broadcast beginning at 7:15 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 8.

Additionally, Lyric will post live photos and video clips of the audience and the artists behind the scenes via Facebook and Twitter throughout the evening – and #LyricOpera.

Lyric Opera of Chicago opens its 58th season on Saturday, October 6. The season continues through April 6, 2013, with 68 performances of nine operas: R. Strauss’s Elektra (Oct. 6-30),Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (Oct. 15-Nov. 9), Massenet’s Werther (Nov. 11-26), Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (Nov. 25-Dec. 15), Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel (Dec. 7-Jan. 19), Puccini’s La bohème (Jan. 21-Feb. 7 and Mar. 9-28),  Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Feb. 8-March 3), Verdi’s Rigoletto (Feb. 25-Mar. 30), and Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire (Feb. 29-April 6).

All of Lyric’s regular-season performances take place at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive at Madison Street in Chicago. There are projected English texts for every opera. Subscriptions are still available, as are tickets for individual performances. Discounts are available for group tickets. For information on specific performance dates and ticket availability, please call (312) 332-2244 or go to

Photos available on request: call or email Digital/Media Assets Specialist Carrie Krol: 312-827-5923 or