Opera is Magical

It enraptures our eyes and ears with a beauty, a power, and a splendor that can't be duplicated anywhere else.

This season you can enjoy the best in opera at Lyric, with longtime company favorites as well as four Lyric premieres. From an unforgettable new production of La bohème and the thrilling new Siegfried to the long-awaited return of Idomeneo and our first-ever Ariodante, this opera season will be exciting, moving, and entertaining.

Join us for our eight mainstage opera productions, and a masterwork of American musical theater—Bernstein and Sondheim's incomparable West Side Story. We'll also bring you the much-anticipated Chicago premiere of Jack Perla's An American Dream, plus special events featuring two of the most glorious sopranos in the world: Anna Netrebko and Renée Fleming.

All of us at Lyric look forward to welcoming you to our performances throughout the year. Here's to an unforgettable 2018/19 Season!

Giacomo Puccini

La bohème

Why have audiences been falling in love with La bohème for more than 100 years?

Because, in the most captivating music Puccini ever composed, he shows us exactly what love is about. Mimì and Rodolfo are young lovers we all understand, and when they suffer, our hearts break for them. Their romance ultimately leads to tragedy, but along the way are treasured moments of pure ecstasy. We get to know this endearing pair and their Bohemian friends, and we totally connect with their feelings. La bohème remains forever youthful, eternally fresh.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


One of Mozart's noblest characters, King Idomeneo of Crete is also the most loving of operatic fathers.

Shipwrecked, he gets safely to shore only after promising Neptune to sacrifice the first person he sees—but it's his son, Idamante. As Idomeneo agonizes over the catastrophe facing him, Idamante woos one princess, the lovely Ilia, and is madly pursued by another, the jealous Elettra. Through all their sorrows and joys, the constant is Mozart's heavenly music—ravishing in its beauty, stirring in its eloquence, and reaching deeply into the soul of every character.

Richard Wagner


Siegfried is fearless. follow him on his valiant, adventerous path through opera.

Watch as he vanquishes the dragon Fafner and gets the better of his own wickedly devious guardian, Mime. Will our hero heed the warnings of his wise grandfather, Wotan, disguised as The Wanderer? And what happens when he braves the magic fire, awakens the sleeping Brünnhilde, and is enraptured by love for the very first time? In this epic Wagnerian saga, the characters are unforgettable, the music utterly exhilarating.

Giuseppe Verdi

Il trovatore

For this hot-blooded tale of love, jealousy, and retribution, Verdi created music that truly bursts with excitement!

And what wonderful characters—bold and courageous Manrico, his beloved Leonora, the vengeful Count di Luna, and the wild, obsessed gypsy Azucena. Each has thrilling music to sing as the drama unfolds in the smoldering atmosphere of darkly mysterious 15th-century Spain. The "Anvil Chorus," Leonora's "Miserere," Manrico's stirring call to arms—these are just a few of the fabulous highlights that make Il trovatore a feast of sumptuous singing.

Jules Massenet

Cendrillon (Cinderella)

"Blissful" and "enchanting" aptly describe this version of everyone's favorite fairytale.

Massenet adapted Cinderella with an irresistible blend of wit, sensitivity, and elegance. The love duets are the very essence of romance, but there's hilarity, too, thanks to the most outrageous of all stepmothers. And if you want to hear glittering top notes sail into the stratosphere, there's the vocally high-flying fairy godmother. At the heart of Cendrillon is the delectable heroine—and when she sings to her beloved, "You are my Prince Charming," it's truly magical!

Richard Strauss


There's no operatic tour de force to surpass Elektra, with a title role that demands a truly great singing actress.

It's a stunning vocal marathon, with riveting intensity. You owe it to yourself to experience the vocal grandeur and blazing drama of this passionate heroine. She's the Mycenaean princess whose father, Agamemnon, was murdered by her mother, Klytemnestra, leaving Elektra hell-bent on revenge. As Richard Strauss's staggeringly powerful orchestra moves inexorably toward the opera's hair-raising finale, the music gives you a composer at his zenith—magnificently theatrical and devastatingly moving.

Giuseppe Verdi

La traviata

Verdi's music is incomparable, with one heartstoppingly beautiful melody after another,  in this exquisitely romantic story. Within the social whirl of sophisticated Paris, the courtesan Violetta lives purely for pleasure but longs for true love. She finds the right man in Alfredo, but their happiness is cut short: at his father's insistence, Violetta leaves Alfredo for the sake of his family. Her spirit broken, her health shattered, Violetta now lives only with the hope that Alfredo will return to her. La traviata gives us one of opera's most glorious heroines, a woman of boundless humanity and emotional depth.

George Frideric Handel


Villainous Polinesso lusts after Ginevra, but she loves noble Ariodante, who loves her in return.

What happens when someone your town trusts is actually the villain? For Ginevra and her beloved Ariodante, things may never be the same. Lyric is proud to produce the company premiere of this important Baroque masterpiece from the composer of Messiah which marries stunning vocalism and riveting drama.

West Side Story

This iconic, Tony-winning Broadway musical transplants Romeo and Juliet to the backstreets of New York, creating a timeless masterpiece that comes to life with nearly 100 artists on Chicago's biggest stage.

Tony and Maria are two wide-eyed teenagers from opposing gangs who fall in love. As their friends and family battle with one another, Tony and Maria long for "a place for us...somewhere." Their songs illuminate every scene and permeate our culture, from the romance of "Maria" and "Tonight" to the exuberance of "America" and the humor of "Gee, Officer Krupke." Add to that the bold, sexy, iconic dances of Jerome Robbins that smolder and sizzle with energy, and you have a musical-theater experience you'll never forget.

An American Dream

Treasured possessions become symbols of home in this contemporary opera inspired by true stories from American history.

Set during World War II, this opera explores the lives of two women: a Japanese American forced to leave her home, and a German-Jewish immigrant preoccupied by those she left behind. In its Seattle Opera world premiere, it was called "a heart-wrenching opera... eloquent and moving" by The Seattle Times. Join us for the Lyric premiere of a contemporary American chamber opera.

Anna Netrebko in Recital: Day and Night

Her dazzling star power has lit up the world's most prestigious stages. She's been featured in Time magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people, and Musical America has called her "a genuine superstar for the 21st century." Of her current recital Day and Night, which debuted in Graz, Austria, the press raved, "Netrebko's voice is a real miracle, but above all, she makes her staging a total work of art." (Kronen Zeitung)

Renée Fleming 25th Anniversary Concert & Gala

Lyric Opera of Chicago audiences first experienced the incomparable artistry of world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming in the title role of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah in 1993.

Since that debut, this cultural icon and international star has continued to make headlines wherever she goes. Whether it has been in leading roles on the most celebrated stages, receiving a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, or singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in front of more than 100 million viewers, Renée Fleming has become known as "The People's Diva."

Photo: Todd Rosenberg, Kyle Flubacker, Cory Weaver