Home » Archive by Tags

Articles tagged with: Lyric Opera of Chicago

From Lyric Opera stage, pair of stars launch into a swinging orbit around the world of song

Apr 12, 2017 – 10:09 am
Feature 2

Review: Musical artistry at 360º was on display April 9 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a joint recital by tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Eric Owens, with the marvelously adroit Craig Terry at the piano. Through a rousing program, the two singers showed their vast, enthusiastic and refreshingly diverse audience a broad and deeply felt repertoire of spirituals, traditional songs and Broadway favorites as well as the opera for which they are celebrated.

‘Carmen’ (redux) at the Lyric: Leads change, young conductor steps in – and the heat’s on

Mar 20, 2017 – 9:24 pm
Feature 1

Review: Lest any insatiable lover of Bizet’s opera “Carmen” be put off by the idea of a “second cast,” as the Lyric Opera of Chicago has now changed the leads in its continuing production, let me put this as plainly as possible: The mid-run advent of mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili in the title role, with tenor Brandon Jovanovich now portraying the tragically smitten Don José, isn’t just hot stuff; it is scorched earth. ★★★★

Placido Domingo’s gala return to Lyric Opera rekindles long love affair across the footlights

Mar 12, 2017 – 10:49 pm
A

Review: There was palpable energy at the Civic Opera House on March 9 when the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented “Celebrating Placido,” an evening of music and mirth with the remarkable Placido Domingo, who at age 76 still engenders that singular frisson felt upon hearing his first phrases as only the greatest vocalists are able to do.

‘Eugene Onegin’ at Lyric Opera: As anti-hero, Mariusz Kwiecień summons a tragic elegance

Mar 4, 2017 – 11:09 am

Review: Love took a glorious beating in the final grand opera of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s season, but then it has been pretty much that way since October. Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina lived happily ever after, but otherwise things ended badly for the aspiring lovers of 2016-17. Now the Lyric gives us Tchaikovsky’s cynical anti-hero Eugene Onegin, brought to life in a devastating package of elegance and self-deluding condescension by baritone Mariusz Kwiecień. ★★★★

‘Carmen’ at Lyric Opera: Allure’s everywhere, then bizarre finale lets the tragic line fall slack

Feb 15, 2017 – 9:08 am
Feature 2

Review: There is much to recommend the new Lyric Opera production of Bizet’s “Carmen,” a joint venture with the Houston Grand Opera. Topping the list is mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova’s scorching performance in her role debut as the Gypsy femme fatale. But in the final act, where amid much splendor one anticipates a hair-raising pay-off, director-choreographer Rob Ashford loses his way. ★★★

‘Norma’ at Lyric Opera: Radvanovsky’s fiery priestess sets the tone for blazing melodrama

Feb 1, 2017 – 2:36 pm
Sondra Radvanovksy NORMA Chicago Lyric 037A4590 crop (Cory Weaver)

Review: There is no Verdi at the Lyric Opera of Chicago this season, but there is plenty of Italian spectacle from the generation prior. Donizetti’s crazed “Lucia di Lammermoor” bowed earlier this season, and now comes Bellini’s “Norma,” the bel canto saga of a Druid high priestess betrayed in love. Sondra Radvanovsky stars in a majestic turn. ★★★★

Lyric’s ‘Flute’ is a time-bending gift from ’50s, backyard fun boxed in spirit of Disney magic

Dec 19, 2016 – 10:51 am
magic-flute-chicago-lyric-2016-andrew-cioffi

Review: The ultimate holiday gift for arts lovers this season is Lyric Opera of Chicago’s rambunctiously retro world premiere production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” set triumphantly in the world headquarters of the baby boom. Which is to say, a backyard of the ’50s and ’60s, as seen through the eyes of a child. This nostalgic feat is an exceptional musical delight and a fine show for families of all ages. What makes this show giftable is its extended January run. ★★★★

In season of grandeur and magic, Lyric Opera scores with simple charm of ‘Don Quichotte’

Nov 22, 2016 – 6:30 pm
ferruccio-furlanetto-in-massenet-don-quichotte-chicago-lyric-andrew-cioffi

Review: Ambitious out of the gate, the 2016-17 Lyric Opera of Chicago season gave us Part I of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, with Rhinemaidens, giants and a dragon. In December the company will offer Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” with trials of fire and water, a feathered bird-catcher and another dragon. In between we have seen high-flying coloratura (“Lucia di Lammermoor”) and a new high-tech stage toy in Berlioz’ “Les Troyens.” Time now for some simple old-school tradition? Whyever not? The Lyric’s presentation of Massenet’s “Don Quichotte” is pure operatic comfort food. ★★★★

‘Les Troyens’ at Lyric Opera: An epic romance told in vibrant music (against a bleak setting)

Nov 15, 2016 – 3:29 pm

Review: Berlioz’s grandiose opera “Les Troyens” is a tale of two cities. The ambitious new production mounted by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the company’s first presentation of this prodigiously demanding work, is an epic venture with two outcomes. Musically, it is resplendent, a huge success by a stellar cast under the leadership of Andrew Davis; conceptually, which is really to say visually, this “Troyens” – The Trojans — struggles to bear its own leaden weight. ★★★

Second City and Lyric Opera send up Wagner with ‘Longer, Louder’ (funnier) take on ‘Ring’

Oct 28, 2016 – 2:58 pm
A

Review: The setting is Transylvania. Oh, wait a minute. I mean Schaumburg, and Bayreuth. I was confusing “Longer, Louder Wagner!,” the wild and crazy Second City-Lyric Opera of Chicago send-up of Wagner’s “Ring” operas, with the Mel Brooks-Gene Wilder film “Young Frankenstein.” Silly me. And yet…he is alive! ★★★

Amid tragic power of Lyric Opera’s ‘Lucia,’ Shagimuratova touches the soul of bel canto

Oct 17, 2016 – 12:08 pm

Review: For Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece “Lucia di Lammermoor,” the Lyric Opera of Chicago has chosen well to wrap the dazzling young Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova in the vintage production of British director Graham Vick. Despite its age, there’s something very modern about Lucia’s murderous disintegration in Vick’s not-to-miss installment at the Lyric. The role of the innocent and doomed Scottish lass Lucia features one of the greatest mad scenes in all of opera. ★★★★

‘Das Rheingold’ at Lyric Opera: A new ‘Ring’ venture begins with sly winks, great singing

Oct 4, 2016 – 11:19 pm
9/28/16 2:03:18 PM - Lyric Opera Chicago's dress rehearsal of Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner  

Featuring 

Eric Owens
Wotan

Samuel Youn
Alberich

Stefan Margita
Loge

Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Fricka

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016

Review: If the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s enchanting production of “Das Rheingold” proves to be, like the opera itself, an augury of things to come, we’re in for a magical ride across the company’s four-year project to re-create Wagner’s epic tetralogy “The Ring of the Nibelung.” ★★★★

As Lyric prepares to launch its ‘Ring’ cycle, maestro pledges characters as gold standard

Sep 29, 2016 – 10:40 pm
feature-2

Review: Andrew Davis, music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and conductor of the company’s new four-year “Ring” cycle, which gets underway Oct. 1 with “Das Rheingold,” speaks with resolute pride about the focus of this prodigious enterprise. “We all wanted very much to make sure the characters were the most important thing,” says the maestro.

Lyric Opera singers sparkle in summer finale, casting auspicious light on coming season

Sep 12, 2016 – 10:54 pm
9/9/16 9:12:31 PM -- The 2016 Stars of Lyric Concert and Cast party at Millennium Park in Chicago, IL, USA © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016

Review: A concert exhibition of “Stars of the Lyric Opera,” which brought down the curtain on this summer’s Grant Park Music Festival on Sept. 9, offered a promising augury of the Lyric’s impending season, which opens Oct. 1 with Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” – herald of the company’s planned “Ring” cycle.

‘The King and I’ at Lyric Opera: Royal treat, princely delight, courtly jewel, etc., etc., etc.

May 4, 2016 – 8:33 am
sub feature

Review: Even amid the multi-year run of successes the Lyric Opera of Chicago has enjoyed in its annual spring offerings of great American musicals, the current production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is exceptional, a theatrical experience as visually and musically resplendent as it is emotionally true. ★★★★★

Baritone Hvorostovsky, in poignant recital, rewards ardent fans with profound singing

Feb 29, 2016 – 3:53 pm
Feature 1

Review: The excitement surrounding Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s solo recital presented by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, on Feb. 26, was palpable even blocks away from the opera house, in an enormous din of anticipatory chatter in the parking garage elevator – much of it in Russian as that sizable Chicago community turned out in droves. The celebrated Siberian baritone did not disappoint.

‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Lyric Opera: Raising tragedy quotient in fusion of music, theater

Feb 26, 2016 – 9:48 am
A

Review: For the authentic meaning of music-drama, as an ideal melding of theater with the emotional accentuation of words buoyed by music, look no further than the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s riveting and vocally splendid production of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet.” ★★★★

‘Rosenkavalier’ at the Lyric: Fleeting youth meets ardent love on high plane of singing

Feb 10, 2016 – 6:31 pm
Amanda Majeski in Der Rosenkavalier at the Chicago Lyric Opera (Cory Weaver)

Review: There was a palpable sense of past, present and future in the Civic Opera House on Feb. 8, when the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented Richard Strauss’ exquisite 1911 opera “Der Rosenkavalier,” his domestic comedy of love and loss in the Mozartean vein. The tale swirls around the gentle crisis of a beautiful but lonely Viennese countess who feels her youth slipping away, sung by Illinois soprano Amanda Majeski, a promising singer at the threshold of a significant career. ★★★★

‘Nabucco’ at Lyric Opera: The youthful Verdi’s future on display in a grand night of singing

Jan 25, 2016 – 11:18 am
Nabucco (Andrew Cioffi, Lyric Opera Chicago)

Review: The best way to experience a performance of Verdi’s “Nabucco” is to think like an actor thinks. Stay in the moment completely. Don’t overthink the logic, the plot complications, the evidence of history. Avoid those traps and the musical impact of “Nabucco” — which is currently on the boards at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where several mighty singing actors are doing terrific work – will thrill you to your bones.★★★★

In a grand flourish, Lyric will match Wagner ‘Ring’ launch with Berlioz spectacle ‘Troyens’

Jan 19, 2016 – 4:57 pm
'Das Rheingold'  maquette (LyricOpera.org)

Season Preview: Not many people can put a ten-year life plan on a single piece of paper. But Anthony Freud, general director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, has got his drill down when it comes to the properly balanced life of a grand opera company. Merrily goaded on Jan. 14 by music director Andrew Davis, who was clearly amused, Freud pulled from his pocket, in a tantalizingly brief “reveal,” a carefully folded, well-worn document crammed with the titles of dozens of operas on a grid. Here are the highlights.

Broadening stream of virtual performances ranges from master classes to masterworks

Jan 11, 2016 – 4:14 pm
Watch DiDonato teach at Carnegie Hall alternate feature image

Digital Preview: With another Artic blast on the way, it’s a good time to check out the world’s top fine arts events available live or on-demand — Joyce DiDonato’s master classes at Carnegie Hall, a “Ring” in Vienna, a new cello concerto in Detroit. And the Lyric Opera of Chicago has just finished recording its new “Bel Canto” for a future PBS broadcast.

‘Bel Canto’ premiere at Lyric Opera delivers tragic image of humanity at unbridgeable gulf

Dec 9, 2015 – 8:00 am
Bel Canto Feature

Review: The true measure of Peruvian composer Jimmy López’s new opera “Bel Canto,” which received its world premiere Dec. 7 by the commissioning Lyric Opera of Chicago, transcends its check-list of merits as a skillfully wrought and thoroughly engaging work. It is a compelling tragedy expressive of humanity at its best and most aspiring, and at its most grievously imperfect. ★★★★★

‘The Merry Widow’ at Lyric Opera: Slow start, then Pop! – bubbles and, mais oui, grisettes

Nov 23, 2015 – 2:53 pm
11/11/15 1:21:27 PM -- 
The Lyric Opera of Chicago Presents
"The Merry Widow"
Renée Fleming, 
Nicole Cabell, 
and Thomas Hampson

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Review: If it had been opening night for the Lyric Opera production of Franz Lehár’s “The Merry Widow,” one might have understood the stark contrast between the dismal walk-through of the first act and the sustained vivacity suddenly on display post-intermission. One might have chalked it up to a calming of collective nerves. But as this was the second performance, the first-night excuse hardly applies. I daresay the show is what it seemed to be: egregiously uneven. ★★★

Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago: Stark expressionism draped in musical riches

Nov 3, 2015 – 10:43 am
Tomasz-Konieczny-is-Wozzeck-at-the-Lyric-Opera-of-Chicago-11-2015-Andrew-Cioffi

Review: Tomasz Konieczny is Wozzeck, the low-ranking soldier who sinks into madness as he is subjected to scientific experiments, betrayed in love and persistently harrassed. As envisioned by director David McVicar and conductor Andrew Davis, the 1925 opera is as deeply unsettling visually as it is musically rich. Berg’s account of Wozzeck’s grotesque travails has a way of suddenly panning wide, as if to embrace us all in our human dissonance and complexity.★★★★

Berg’s high-intensity opera ‘Wozzeck’ dual firsts for veteran conductor Davis, director McVicar

Oct 30, 2015 – 9:54 am
Wozzeck preview feature image

Preview: He could be talking about Puccini’s “La boheme” or Verdi’s “La traviata” or Bizet’s “Carmen,” but when Anthony Freud, general director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, says, “I would encourage anyone who has never experienced opera to give it a try,” he’s referring to none of the above. Freud means Alban Berg’s harrowing Expressionist music-drama “Wozzeck.”

Rossini’s ‘Cinderella’ at the Lyric: Bright voices and colors and wit (plus a Greek chorus of rats)

Oct 5, 2015 – 5:37 pm
10/1/154:10:43 PM Chicago, IL
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Sir Anthony Davis, Conductor

Cinderella Dress Rehearsal 
Isabel Leonard, Cinderella 
Lawrence Brownlee,  Prince Ramiro, Alessandro Corbelli,  Don Magnifico, 
Vito Priante (debut)  Dandini, 

 © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Review: With its blindingly bright colors and brilliant musical hijinks, the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current production of Rossini’s “Cinderella” plays out like a surreal dream that might possess one in the wee hours of the night. It makes perfect sense while it’s happening, zany and hypnotic at the same time. Rossini’s music is wrapped in a fanciful production that goes well beyond the boring rules of logic. ★★★★★

‘Marriage of Figaro’ at Lyric Opera: Stellar voices prevail in a farcical take on Mozart’s comic gem

Sep 29, 2015 – 3:17 pm
Feature 1

Review: If Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” is inherently and effectively a bittersweet comedy that edges into farce, the new production directed by Barbara Gaines that opens the Lyric Opera of Chicago season reframes it as farce that edges into cartoon. This “Figaro,” conducted by the Hungarian Henrik Nánási in his American debut, fares best where a uniformly strong cast of singers is allowed to stand and deliver Mozart’s witty, touching, brilliant and wise arias and ensemble numbers. ★★★★

Shakespeare director Barbara Gaines modulates to Mozart at Lyric Opera, and sees second Bard

Sep 23, 2015 – 12:10 pm
Barbaraa Gaines directs Figaro

Interview: The first venture for the Lyric Opera of Chicago this season is also the first Mozart ever taken on by Barbara Gaines, artistic director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. And in the poignancy – and the comedy – of “The Marriage of Figaro,” Gaines finds the Bard’s own sensibility, his empathy and his compassion.

Piano wizardry rules as Chinese star Lang Lang mixes Chopin, calendar’s worth of Tchaikovsky

May 11, 2015 – 11:56 am
sub feature

Review: Pianist Lang Lang’s recital May 9 at the Civic Opera House was, at its best, a display of brilliance of a high order. Taken end to end, it was also a curious affair. To say this lionized, still infectiously youthful Chinese pianist – he turns 33 on June 14 — is a technical wizard may be understatement. Lang Lang is one demonic virtuoso for whom the most daunting technical demands seem more like expressive opportunities than hazards of execution.

Klezmer opera ‘The Property’ melds nostalgia, renewal in music awash with Old-World charm

Mar 1, 2015 – 12:19 pm
Regina (Jill Grove) sits alone in Warsaw,  contemplates making contact with someone from the past in The Property. (Robert Kusel)

Feature Review: “The Property,” a new vest-pocket opera that burst onto the Chicago scene Feb. 25, is the sweet-spirited musical brainchild of a 28-year-old Minsk-born Polish composer Wlad Marhulets, who makes a living these days tooling music for films in L.A. Marhuletz came to the Lyric Opera by way of klezmer madness — not a disease, rather an exhilarating state of mind. Through March 5.★★★