Lyric Unlimited presents Lawrence Brownlee in Chicago premiere of ‘Cycles of My Being’
This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Lyric Unlimited, a division of Lyric Opera of Chicago, is excited to present Cycles of My Being, a song cycle exploring the realities of life as a black man in America.
Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes, the Chicago-premiere event will star celebrated tenor Lawrence Brownlee in a solo recital with pianist Myra Huang on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Cycles of My Being is a co-commission with Opera Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall. Tickets are $15 ($10 for DuSable Museum members) and are available now at lyricopera.org/cycles or by calling (312) 827-5600.
Immediately following its world premiere at Opera Philadelphia on Feb. 20, 2018, Cycles of My Being will have its Chicago premiere in a one-night-only performance, presented during Black History Month at the DuSable Museum, 740 E 56th Pl. Carnegie Hall will be the setting for its New York premiere on April 24, where the song cycle will be presented as part of the venue’s 125 Commissions Project in Zankel Hall.
The new work is the creation of a dynamic trio linked through classical music and jazz: composer Tyshawn Sorey, a “prodigious multi-instrumentalist and composer” who “transcends the borders of jazz, classical, and experimental music” (The New Yorker); lyricist Terrance Hayes, “a vital voice that explores race and art and the roving power of language” (NPR); and Lawrence Brownlee, one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors” (The Associated Press).
Named 2017 Male Singer of the Year by the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack, Brownlee made his triumphant Lyric Opera debut in 2016 portraying Prince Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella). He received rave reviews and was described as a “sensation” (Chicago On the Aisle) who “resplendently brought down the house” (Chicago Tribune). In March 2017, Brownlee again wowed Chicagoans as the “stunningly voiced Parker” (Opera News) in Daniel Schnyder’s jazz-inspired Charlie Parker’s Yardbird in a Lyric Unlimited presentation at the Harris Theater. This season at Lyric, Brownlee will take on the blazing bel canto role of Arturo in Bellini’s I Puritani (Feb. 4 – 28).
“I’m honored to be working with the extraordinary talents of Tyshawn and Terrance on this new song cycle, and I’m grateful to Opera Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall, and Lyric Unlimited for making it possible,” said Brownlee. “In these divided times, we hope to create something that brings people together with mutual respect, understanding, and communication across races and generations.”
“I feel unbelievably lucky to be collaborating with Lawrence Brownlee and Tyshawn Sorey,” said Terrance Hayes. “They are two amazing beings and artists. They’ve given me a means to explore the kinships between poetry and music, song and storytelling. I hope our results expand notions of operatic and poetic expression, and most vitally, notions and expressions of black male subjectivity.”
“Lyric Unlimited strives to collaborate with organizations across Chicago, commission and present new works exploring relevant issues and stories, and introduce opera and singing to new audiences,” says Vice President for Lyric Unlimited, Cayenne Harris. “This exciting new song cycle allows us to do all of these things. We are thrilled to be partnering with the DuSable Museum to present Lawrence Brownlee this February.”