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October 2014
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Lyric Opera of Chicago

Chicago’s Incubator for Opera Singers

Ryan Opera Center bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba as "Don Giovanni"

Richard Ollarsaba, who was the “cover” for Don Giovanni star Mariusz Kwiecien, got the call at 10:00 am: “Mr. Kwiecien will not be able to sing today. You’re on.” He had four hours until curtain.

“The instant I got the call, adrenaline shot through my system, but after the initial shock I immediately went into work mode and the only thing I could tell myself was ‘Just do your job’

Renée Fleming on Her Way to WFMT

Renee Fleming with Impromptu Producer Louise Frank and host Lisa Flynn at WFMT; photo by Noel Morris

Renée Fleming is stopping by WFMT’s studios Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 pm to speak with Lisa Flynn about her new CD, Christmas in New York. With dozens of recordings to her credit, this is her first holiday record. The popular diva used the project as an opportunity to reach across genres to some of her favorite artists. Chris Botti, Kurt Elling

Next Up at Lyric: Capriccio

Renee Fleming as the Countess in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Capriccio," c. Ken Howard

Two rivals, a poet and a musician, clamor for the affections of a capricious Countess in Richard Strauss’s 1942 opera “Capriccio.”

Each according to his talents, the suitors offer gestures of undying love (a Sonnet and the opening String Sextet); which Strauss parlays into a heated debate

Lyric Opera Opening Night

Mariusz Kwiecien as Don Giovanni, Metropolitan Opera

The 60th season at Lyric Opera of Chicago begins on Saturday with a bit of nostalgia: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the same opera that launched the company 60 years ago.

Lyric Opera’s new production won’t look much like the original, however. It is directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls, who is putting a more modern spin on the classic tale.

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: Patricia Racette as Butterfly

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