World Premiere Bel Canto

By Jimmy López & Nilo Cruz

  • Language - In Spanish, English, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Latin, and Quechua, with projected English titles
  • Running Time - Performance running time: 3 hours including 1 intermission

Ann Patchett's best-selling novel Bel Canto took the literary world by storm. Now, in a new work curated by Lyric's creative consultant, Renée Fleming, this riveting story inspired by a real-life event becomes a powerful opera.

Superstar American diva Roxane Coss has flown to Peru to sing at the vice president's home for a visiting Japanese mogul who is an opera buff. Dignitaries of every nationality are there — but an international crisis explodes when terrorists storm the mansion and take everyone hostage. Isolated for months, unlikely alliances form between captors and captives as fear and anger mingle uneasily with desire and even love. Music is the one universal language — but can it draw forth the humanity that exists in us all?

The extraordinary international cast of Bel Canto is led by Danielle de Niese, who caused a sensation as Lyric's Cleopatra in 2007. Sir Andrew Davis teams up with Kevin Newbury(Anna Bolena) for this world premiere with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz and music by Jimmy López, a native of Peru and "one of the most interesting young composers anywhere today." Chicago Sun-Times


Composed by Jimmy López
Libretto by Nilo Cruz
Based on the novel by Ann Patchett

Upcoming Dates
Full Calendar

The world premiere of Bel Canto was presented at Lyric December 7, 2015 – January 17, 2016. View our calendar to see what's currently on stage.

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Bel canto

by Jimmy López

Features the symphonic music of composer Jimmy López, available on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Interview with composer Jimmy López*
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Bel Canto

Composed by Jimmy López 
Libretto by Nilo Cruz 
Based on the novel by Ann Patchett

commentary by Jesse Gram, Audience Education Manager
0:00 /0:00

Bel Canto Opera Synopsis

TIME: 1996 
PLACE: A mansion in Lima, Peru

Program Book

Go inside this production of Bel Canto with engaging articles, notes from the director, a complete plot synopsis, artist bios, and more.

View Digital Program Book

Meet The Artists

Danielle de Niese

Roxane Coss

J’nai Bridges


Jeongcheol Cha


Andrew Stenson


Rafael Davila

General Alfredo

Jacques Imbrailo


William Burden

Ruben Iglesias

Anthony Roth Costanzo


Runi Brattaberg


John Irvin


Anthony Clark Evans

Simon Thibault

Takaoki Onishi

Father Arguedas

Bradley Smoak

General Benjamin

Alec Carlson


Annie Rosen

Edith Thibault

Diana Newman


Sir Andrew Davis


Kevin Newbury


David Korins

Set Designer

Constance Hoffman

Costume Designer

Duane Schuler

Lighting Designer

Greg Emetaz

Projection Designer

Michael Black

Chorus Master

Renée Fleming

Curator of Lyric’s new commission of Bel Canto

Jimmy López


Nilo Cruz


Lyric Opera world premiere generously made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Helen and Sam Zell, Ethel and William Gofen, Ada and Whitney Addington, the Walter E. Heller Foundation, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Prince Charitable Trusts.

Bel Canto was created with funds from the Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work, which was awarded to Jimmy López and Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2013.

Steingraeber & Söhne is the Official Piano of Lyric’s new production of Bel Canto, in partnership with the Grand Piano Haus, Skokie, Illinois.
Steingraeber & Söhne Grand Piano Haus