Bel Canto

December 07. 2015 - January 17. 2016

Upcoming Dates

December 07. 2015 - January 17. 2016

World Premiere Bel Canto

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

  • 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
  • Location: Lyric Opera House

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

Lyric Opera Commentaries are sponsored by the Patrick G. and Shirley Welsh Ryan Foundation in memory of their parents.

© 2015/16 Lyric Opera Commentaries
All rights reserved. Recording & Production services provided by Mark Travis.
A project of the Women's Board.

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

* Lyric debut
** Ryan Opera Center alumni
*** Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

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