Lyric Opera of Chicago

Sir Andrew Davis to conduct Ryan Opera Center and Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sir Andrew Davis to conduct first collaboration of
Ryan Opera Center and Civic Orchestra of Chicago
in concert of opera favorites Monday, May 7, 2012 –
Act Two of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and
Act Four of Puccini’s La bohème
at Symphony Center
Debut collaboration concert sponsored by Roger and Julies Baskes

On Monday, May 7, 2012, at 8 p.m., ensemble members from The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago will be presented by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the pre-professional training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for a special, first-time-ever collaboration conducted by Lyric’s music director, Sir Andrew Davis. The concert marks Maestro Davis’s first engagement with the orchestra since 2003.

The program will feature excerpts from two beloved operas: Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (Act Two) and Puccini’s La bohème (Act Four). Maestro Davis will play continuo for the Mozart. This concert offers a chance to see the next generation of stars from the orchestral and operatic worlds together onstage at Symphony Center.

Preconcert conversations are given before all Civic Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center, beginning 90 minutes before the performance, in Grainger Ballroom. Tickets for all Civic Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center are free but required. Seating is general admission, and there is a non-refundable $2 per-ticket service fee. Tickets for this concert can be reserved by calling 312-294-3000.

About Sir Andrew Davis

Sir Andrew Davis is music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is conductor laureate of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (formerly principal conductor), conductor laureate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (following the longest tenure as chief conductor since BBCSO founder Sir Adrian Boult) and former music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Sir Andrew serves as artistic advisor to the Besançon International Music Festival and is president of the jury for that festival’s 52nd International Competition for Young Conductors.

This season Maestro Davis conducts Boris Godunov, Ariadne auf Naxos, and The Magic Flute at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other engagements include the Besançon Festival, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera (Don Giovanni), BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company (Eine florentinische Tragödie and Gianni Schicchi), Bergen Festival (Le damnation de Faust), and the opening of the Edinburgh Festival. In addition, Sir Andrew will spend several weeks recording for Chandos Records with various orchestras.

With the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Davis has led concerts at the Proms and on tour to Hong Kong, Japan, the U.S., and Europe. He has conducted all of the world’s major orchestras, from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw, as well as at opera houses and festivals throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the Bayreuth Festival.

Maestro Davis has a massive discography on the Chandos, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics International, Capriccio, EMI, and CBS labels, among others. He currently records exclusively for Chandos Records. In 2008, Sir Andrew released Elgar’s Violin Concertos, featuring violinist James Ehnes and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra (Onyx Classics), which won Gramophone’s coveted “Best of Category – Concerto” Award. His recording of operatic favorites sung by soprano Nicole Cabell with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Decca) won the Solti Prize from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique in 2008.

In 1992, Maestro Davis was created a Commander of the British Empire for his services to British music, and in 1999 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. In 1991, he received the Royal Philharmonic Society/Charles Heidsieck Music Award.

Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Maestro Davis studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he began as an organ scholar. His diverse repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary, and his vast conducting credits span the symphonic, operatic, and choral worlds. Maestro Davis and his wife, soprano Gianna Rolandi, reside in Chicago where she is the director of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

About The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Each year The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist-development program of Lyric Opera of Chicago, selects gifted young singers from some 400 applicants. Soon after arriving at Lyric in May, incoming Ryan Opera Center members begin an intensive full-year residency under the guidance of director Gianna Rolandi and numerous other opera professionals. Coaching sessions and master classes are augmented by performance and understudy experience in productions mounted by Lyric Opera of Chicago, including the eight operas of Lyric’s regular season. (Until September 2006, the program was known as the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists.) Ensemble members are also frequently engaged by other opera companies and festivals, and participate in numerous prestigious competitions. 

About the Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Founded in 1919 by CSO Music Director Frederick Stock, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago is the only training orchestra affiliated with a major American orchestra. It is a signature program of The Institute for Learning, Access and Training at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which offers a comprehensive sequence of programs intended to transform the lives of young people through active participation in music. The principal goal of the Civic Orchestra is to recruit a diverse group of gifted pre-professional musicians, train them at the highest level as orchestral players and further develop skills of advocacy and mentoring, which are essential to the role of orchestral musicians in communities, now and in the future.

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago attracts the most talented young musicians from across the country. More than half of Civic’s players have completed graduate degrees—many are alumni from the top-tier music schools in the nation. Civic Orchestra musicians go on to perform with many of the most prestigious orchestras in the United States and around the world. Fifteen current Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians are Civic alumni, and since the Civic’s founding, more than 75 alumni have become CSO members. Over 700 Civic alumni are currently active in professional orchestras. In recent years, members of the Civic Orchestra have won positions with the New York, Mexico City and Hong Kong philharmonics; the major orchestras of Boston, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Oregon, San Diego, St. Louis and Toronto; and the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, among others.

In addition to intensive rehearsals with Principal Conductor Cliff Colnot, Civic members are coached by musicians of the CSO and participate in various educational and family programs of the Institute for Learning, Access and Training to enhance their professional development experience. The Civic Orchestra made its highly praised Carnegie Hall debut under the direction of Daniel Barenboim in March 2000.