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September 2014
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Lyric Opera of Chicago

Stars of Lyric Opera Shine Over Millennium Park

Millennium Park in downtown Chicago

On Saturday, Lyric Opera of Chicago gives its annual free concert beneath the lattice of the Pritzker Pavilion. Stars of Lyric Opera will showcase several of the season’s productions.

With the Don Giovanni principals already in rehearsal – opening night is September 27 – the stars will make the short commute to Millennium Park to perform the opera’s finale.

Passings: Licia Albanese, Carlo Bergonzi

Licia Albanese as Cio-Cio-San in "Madama Butterfly"

He gave more than 300 performances at the Metropolitan Opera. She exceeded 400. Two Italian-born, 20th century opera stars passed away in recent weeks: tenor Carlo Bergonzi and soprano Licia Albanese. Bergonzi in particular had a long performance history in Chicago, making his American debut at Lyric Opera in 1955; while Albanese worked primarily in New York

Butterfly: “Not to Be Missed”

Stefano Secco and Patricia Racette, c.Dan Rest

At least, that’s what The New York Times said of Patricia Racette’s Madama Butterfly in 2008. In the aftermath, it’s not surprising Lyric Opera would engage her for their production, even if she could only do half the run. It’s one of those cases of an artist forming a union with a part that transcends everything one knew about the opera; like peering into a precious gem, giving it a quarter turn, and seeing something

Backstage Exclusive: Lyric’s Butterfly, Patricia Racette

Patricia Racette as Madama Butterfly

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Madama Butterfly opens (again) on Saturday night starring Patricia Racette and Stefano Secco. Listen to an exclusive interview with Ms. Racette who laughs about the challenges of live performance.

Long Live Champagne

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Strauss waltzes were the ultimate party mix; the kind of song set one would imagine for Cinderella in glittering gemstones and long, white gloves. It was a hundred years later in 1939 (and a dark time in Vienna) when Clemens Krauss started a tradition: an annual concert of these 19th century dances to celebrate

Video Exclusive: Conductor Talks Kids and Music

Ward Stare, photo by Suzy Gorman

Most careers take twists and turns; Ward Stare’s career has been more like Formula 1 auto racing. He went from playing principal trombone in the Lyric Opera Orchestra to being one of the company’s go-to conductors (debuting in last season’s production of Hansel and Gretel), all before the age of 30

Video Exclusive: Lyric’s Violetta Goes Searching for Callas

Maria Callas

Some of the most zealous opera fans are the ones using the stage entrance. Recently, Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka stopped by the office of Lucy Lindquist at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Lindquist is wardrobe mistress; Rebeka was seeing about her costumes for Violetta, as the lead in Verdi’s La traviata. Rebeka recalls her jaw hitting the floor when she noticed the headpiece. Lindquist explained, “It was worn by Maria Callas

Video Exclusive: An American Prince Charming

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[LIVE Broadcast, Tuesday at 7:15] Johann Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus has a fairy tale quality (although it’s most decidedly adult). Set in the perfumed world of Imperial Vienna, the maestro in the middle for Lyric’s production is the dashing, young American Ward Stare.

No Abridged Verdi

Party scene from "La traviata"; photo by Todd Rosenberg

When Lyric Opera of Chicago opens its production of La traviata on Wednesday evening, there will be music that has never been heard in that opera house before. In its thirteen previous runs at Lyric Opera, starting with the inaugural season in 1954, La traviata has always been staged with cuts to the score. There’s been a resurgence of interest

Lavish Parties, Sex, and Booze – What Could Go Wrong?

Marina Rebeka as Violetta; photo by Todd Rosenberg

Giuseppe Verdi writes so eloquently about being human, one can wallow in Lyric Opera’s La traviata, and go home feeling completely satisfied. It’s a great “first opera” for your friends. It’s also one of those tales that nags at your subconscious, and keeps you googling