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Strike settled, Lyric Opera set to raise curtain on Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’ and Part 3 of ‘Ring’

Submitted by on Oct 15, 2018 – 4:20 pm

Spectacle and Mozart’s music combine in the classic opera seria “Idomeneo,” which opens Oct. 18 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Report: Deferred opening of ‘Idomeneo’ will be Oct. 18; Wagner’s ‘Siegfried’ to follow Nov. 3. Run of ‘La bohème’ resumes Oct. 17.
By Lawrence B. Johnson and Nancy Malitz

After the brief, harrowing intermission of a strike by its orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago is back in business. Members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians ratified a new contract Oct. 14, ending a five-day walkout and clearing the way for the Lyric to declare Oct. 18 as the deferred opening night of Mozart’s “Idomeneo.”

The Lyric Opera House actually re-opens its doors Oct. 17 with a performance of Puccini’s “La bohème,” which launched the current season Oct. 6.

The new orchestra contract extends through the Lyric’s 2020-21 season.

Fafner, turned into a dragon, is a grumbly presence in Wagner’s “Siegfried,” opening Nov. 3 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Just ahead, on Nov. 3, is the opening of Wagner’s “Siegfried,” a new production that marks the third installment in the Lyric’s complete “Ring” cycle. In the title role will be tenor Burkhard Fritz, with soprano Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde and bass-baritone Eric Owens as the Wanderer.

David Pountney directs the production designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, and Andrew Davis conducts.

Mozart’s “Idomeneo, King of Crete,” a classic opera seria that precedes the composer’s string of Italianate comedies, is a post-war tale – that is, the Trojan War – with quite a twist. Talk about how quickly we forget.

Ilia, the daughter of Troy’s King Priam (slain by the Greeks as they burned those topless towers to the ground, and this after a devastating 10-year siege), is against all her better instincts in love with a Greek – Idamante, son of the Cretan King Idomeneo. If that were not enough, Idamante is affianced to none other than Electra, daughter of Agamemnon, king of Argos and commander of the Greek expeditionary force, murdered upon his homecoming by her own mother. Electra now finds herself on Crete, where things will not end well for her.

But the gods smile on the union of Ilia and Idamante, who – rather like Pamina and Tamino in “The Magic Flute” – end up ruling the island. And everyone gets to sing Mozart’s music.

Tenor Matthew Polenzani heads the cast as Idomeneo, with Janai Brugger as Ilia, Erin Wall as Elettra (Electra) and Angela Brower in the trouser role of Idamante. Andrew Davis conducts.

“Idomeneo” will be given five performances through Nov. 2.

The remaining productions in the Lyric’s 2018-19 season include Verdi’s “Il trovatore” (Nov. 17-Dec. 9), Massenet’s “Cendrillon” (Dec. 1-Jan. 20, 2019), a second run of “La bohème” (Jan. 10-25, 2019), Strauss’ “Elektra” (Feb. 2-22, 2019), Verdi’s “La traviata” (Feb. 16-March 22, 2019) and Handel’s “Ariodante” (March 2-17, 2019).

The Lyric’s spring musical will be Bernstein’s “West Side Story” (May 3-June 2, 2019).

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