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Articles tagged with: Lyric Opera of Chicago

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
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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
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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.★★★

Lyric Opera staging of Weinberg’s ‘Passenger’ casts intimate light on life, death at Auschwitz

Feb 26, 2015 – 1:22 pm
Amanda Majeski and Daveda Karanas in 'The Passenger,' by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, at Chicago Lyric Opera Feb. 2014. (Robert Kusel)

Review: The first impression of “The Passenger” by the Soviet composer Mieczysław Weinberg, whose Holocaust-inspired 1968 opera has been circulating the globe since its belated 2010 world premiere, is that of a major composer in his prime. Conducted with searing authority by Andrew Davis, the illuminating Lyric Opera of Chicago presentation of “The Passenger” seemed familiar right away. Weinberg was typically referred to as a lesser-known member of Shostakovich’s inner circle, but in fact he was on top of his world. ★★★★

Snatched from oblivion, post-Holocaust opera ‘The Passenger’ makes a rescue stop at Lyric

Feb 23, 2015 – 6:40 pm
The Passenger, Lyric Opera Chicago 2015 (Robert Kusel)

Report: “The Passenger,” a late-blooming 1968 opera by the Polish-born Soviet composer Mieczysław Weinberg, will have its Chicago Lyric Opera premiere as part of a whirlwind of introduction in Austria, Poland, England, the U.S. and Spain. Director David Pountney and author Zofia Posmysz talk about why. 

Sex and the single troubadour: Lyric Opera turns heat up in earthy take on Wagner’s ‘Tannhäuser’

Feb 11, 2015 – 5:08 pm

Review: It’s a bleak, war-torn world that greets Wagner’s prodigal troubadour in the Lyric Opera’s potent, sensual and yet strikingly unromanticized production of “Tannhäuser.” Typical of a current trend, the Lyric version – created by Covent Garden’s Royal Opera and now seen in Chicago for the first time – brings the story into a timeless present. Though generally dark, this treatment also energizes, and vibrantly colorizes, the prologue’s protracted sex romp at the Venusberg. ★★★★

From ‘Romeo’ to ‘Figaro,’ love rules as Lyric plans eight operas, ‘King and I’ for 2015-16

Feb 11, 2015 – 10:34 am
Thomas Hampson and Renee Fleming to star at Chicago Lyric Opera in Nov. -Dec. 2015.

Report: You know that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner when the romantic couplings planned for the Lyric Opera’s 2015-16 season are the stuff of headlines. The game of love becomes a delicious frenzy when lots of money and a very attractive widow are at stake: Soprano Renée Fleming will be playing her “Merry Widow” title role to the hilt with baritone Thomas Hampson beginning Nov. 14 and into the holiday season. We provide details.

Tatiana Serjan’s electrifying Tosca sparks supercharged new production at Lyric

Jan 25, 2015 – 10:25 pm
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Review: ★★★★ Rekindling the fire, even the sense of surprise, in an opera as frequently mounted as Puccini’s “Tosca” is no small trick. But that is precisely the triumph of the new production that opened Jan. 24 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago – a mesmerizing night of music theater imaginatively staged, perceptively conducted and gloriously sung. In her Lyric debut as Tosca, Russian soprano Tatiana Serjan displayed a voice of great beauty, flexibility and power, all marshalled to ringing drama effect.

Cue cameras: Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, come of age, is playing at a cinema near you

Dec 16, 2014 – 12:06 pm
Michael Volle, Hans Sachs in Wagner's 'Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.' (Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera)

Feature review: The Metropolitan Opera is the most international of houses, but there is something quintessentially American about the Saturday afternoon HD cinema broadcasts that are now part of its marketing arsenal. After attending a performance of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” at the Met, I caught the same production, broadcast live to cinemas on Dec. 13, starring German baritone Michael Volle as Hans Sachs, the master shoemaker, cobbler of poems and mender of hearts.

‘Porgy and Bess’ at the Lyric Opera: From plenty of nuttin’, a masterpiece rises on Catfish Row

Nov 19, 2014 – 4:50 pm
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Review: The Lyric Opera’s revival of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” is a thing of beauty not to be missed. More than that, it’s a ringing affirmation of this iconic American stage work as a great opera. Bass-baritone Eric Owens empowers Porgy with a voice larger than life yet scales this poor, crippled, yearning character to the credible proportions of a man. His woman, in a fragile union forged from convenience and necessity, is soprano Adina Aaron’s lithe and sexy Bess, vulnerable and gorgeously voiced. ★★★★★

Lyric’s ‘Capriccio’ embraces ensemble flair, patrician milieu of Strauss’ high-minded lark

Oct 17, 2014 – 7:46 am

Review: To watch Lyric Opera’s “Capriccio” is to put one’s mind inside a blissful dream of wealth and privilege, where the toughest choices facing a glamorous Parisian countess — played by Renée Fleming — concerned which adoring, handsome and talented young man to endow with her philanthropy, and her bed. ★★★★

Dark, funny, musically vibrant ‘Don Giovanni’ raises the curtain on new Lyric Opera season

Sep 29, 2014 – 5:06 pm
Mariusz Kwiecien and Marina Rebeka in 'Don Giovanni,' production by Robert Falls, Lyric Opera Chicago (Todd Rosenberg)

Review: A more appealing cast could hardly have been assembled for Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” than the vocally resplendent, good-looking singers who inhabit the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production and season opener. And for the most part, Mozart’s opera – dramatically dark and musically brilliant — is well served by director Robert Falls’ heated and funny approach to this tale of the world’s most infamous sex addict, whose recklessness and hubris finally bring him all the way down and then some. ★★★★

In Mozart’s Don Giovanni, director Robert Falls sees a complex figure worthy of Shakespeare

Sep 24, 2014 – 9:46 pm
Director Robert Falls watches a 'Don Giovanni' rehearsal from the audience perspective. (Andrew Cioffi)

Interview: Robert Falls knows a complicated stage character when he sees one, and standing in front of him at the moment is no less intricate a figure than Mozart’s lady killer, Don Giovanni. Actually, notes Falls, artistic director at Goodman Theatre and stage director for the Lyric Opera’s season-opening production of “Don Giovanni,” it’s a different sort of killing that brings this prince of philanderers to his horrific end. The show runs Sept. 27-Oct. 29.

After double exposure in Met Opera HD roles, Susanna Phillips ready for 2 more in Chicago

May 10, 2014 – 9:56 am
Soprano Susanna Phillips (Ken Howard)

Interview: Soprano Susanna Phillips, hot from back-to-back Metropolitan Opera HD simulcasts that reached a couple of hundred thousand international viewers each, is heading into a week-long and half-unplanned stint in Chicago, where many classical music enthusiasts doubtless think of her as the auspiciously talented soprano from the Ryan Opera Center, Lyric Opera’s professional artist development program. But that was 2005-07. How great it must now feel to be in the shoes of this pure-voiced, luxurious-sounding singer at the top of her game.

‘Sound of Music’ at Lyric: When opera meets B’way, the hills come alive – and hearts, too

Apr 28, 2014 – 10:52 pm
The Sound of Music Lyric Opera Chicago 2014 (Todd Rosenberg)

Review:x There’s nothing like practice to turn an opera company into a viable musical theater producer, as the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s third venture into Broadway’s golden oldies clearly shows. “The Sound of Music” is the Lyric’s best effort in the classic musical genre to date, after “Showboat” in 2012 and “Oklahoma!” in 2013. ★★★★

Fleming, Kaufmann offer Lyric Opera faithful festive tribute to love and the art of singing

Mar 20, 2014 – 6:35 pm

Review: Charting a memorable arc from the flustered panic of love’s first rush to the sorrowful tenderness of lovers whom death has parted, soprano Renée Fleming and tenor Jonas Kaufmann gave Chicago’s Lyric Opera loyalists quite the evening of music to treasure on March 19.

Maestro Davis, two stellar singers lead mixed Lyric Opera revival of Mozart’s ‘Clemenza’

Mar 7, 2014 – 3:37 pm
The emperor's extraordinary show of mercy is lauded in the opera, but director David McVicar suggests it may incite revolt. Lyric Opera Chicago 'La Clemenza di Tito' 3-2014.(© Todd Rosenberg)

Review: Mozart died in 1791 just months after writing “La Clemenza di Tito,” about the first-century Roman emperor Titus and his struggle to rule with generosity of spirit. Performances are still a rarity, and the most successful aspect of the production at the Lyric Opera of Chicago is the unmistakable fineness of the music itself. ★★★

Dvořák’s tragic fairy-tale opera ‘Rusalka’ proves magical masterpiece in ambitious Lyric staging

Feb 23, 2014 – 7:30 pm
Rusalka-Ana-Maria-Martinez-tells-her-father-Eric-Owens-she-wants-to-become-human.-Todd-Rosenberg

Review: The musical legacy of Antonín Dvořák has always held favor with the public and esteem among musicians. Until recently, however, few this side of Prague would have mentioned Dvorak’s opera “Rusalka” with his most important works, much less listed it with the greatest achievements in the operatic canon. But the Lyric Opera’s first-ever production of “Rusalka,” a musical fairy tale of consummate beauty and profound humanity, dictates acknowledgement of this opera in the first rank of music-dramas. ★★★★★

Joining revival of Soviet composer Weinberg, Lyric plans Holocaust opera ‘The Passenger’

Jan 20, 2014 – 6:45 pm
'The Passenger,' by Mieczysław Weinberg, Bregenz production, coming to Lyric Opera Chicago in 2015

Report: Mieczysław Weinberg, perhaps the best Soviet composer you never heard of, was the “other story” at a Lyric Opera of Chicago press conference Jan. 17 when a new Wagner “Ring” Cycle was announced. But Weinberg’s recently revived opera, “The Passenger,” inspired by a Holocaust novel, is making the international rounds and will arrive at the Chicago Lyric in early 2015, as excitement grows for this prolific composer and esteemed friend of Shostakovich.

Showing 2020 vision, Lyric Opera reveals plan for new production of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ Cycle

Jan 17, 2014 – 11:08 am

Report: With headliners Christine Goerke and Eric Owens — two breakthrough American Wagner singers that everyone is seeking – Lyric Opera of Chicago announced Friday that it will embark on a new David Pountney production of the “Ring” Cycle starring Owens as the great god Wotan and Goerke as Brünnhilde, his beloved Valkyrie daughter. The cycle’s four operas are to be unveiled one by one in consecutive seasons beginning in 2016-17, and then in total-immersion festival form, over the course of three weeks in April 2020.

Lyric’s snake-bitten ‘Otello’ loses its star tenor when ailing Botha cancels final 2 performances

Oct 28, 2013 – 11:11 am
Johan Botha as Otello in Verdi's 'Otello' at Lyric Opera of Chicago 10-2013 (Dan Rest)

Report: First, the German bass-baritone Falk Struckmann, singing the role of the evil Iago in Verdi’s “Otello,” lost his voice suddenly to an allergy flare-up during opening night of the Lyric Opera’s 59th season, causing a frantic search for the understudy. Now it’s the Otello’s turn. Johan Botha has dropped out of the production’s remaining performances. The South African heldentenor, plagued by severe back pain, has returned to Vienna for treatment. American heldentenor Clifton Forbis replaces him for performances Oct. 29 and Nov. 2.

Lyric Opera’s ‘Butterfly’ displays a fine frame, but the musical drama is a different picture

Oct 17, 2013 – 10:58 pm
'Madama Butterfly' Lyric Opera Chicago (Dan Rest)

Review: To behold the grand, airy set for “Madama Butterfly” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, with its curvaceous walkway and layered, mat-like proscenium framing – on display even as the audience assembled — was to sense one’s expectations peak toward something special, uncommon, fine. What ensued was largely unremarkable, even unattractive in various aspects from conducting and singing to basic on-stage movement. ★★