Lyric embraces the old and new
By Andrew Patner For Sun-Times Media January 27, 2014 11:04AM
Renée Fleming sings as the Countess in Strauss’ “Capriccio" at the Metropolitan Opera in 2011. She'll return to the role at Lyric Opera of Chicago in October. | Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
2014-15 LYRIC OPERA SEASON
» Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” with Mariusz Kwiecien, Marina Rebeka, Ana Maria Martinez, Kyle Ketelsen, Andriana Chuchman, Antonio Poli, Michael Sumuel and Andrea Silvestrelli. Performances begin Sept. 27.
» Richard Strauss’ “Capriccio,” with Renee Fleming, Anne Sofie von Otter, Bo Skovhus, William Burden, Audun Iversen and Peter Rose. Performances begin Oct. 6.
» Verdi’s “Il trovatore with Yonghoon Lee, Amber Wagner, Stephanie Blythe, Quinn Kelsey and Andrea Silvestrelli. Performances begin Oct. 27.
» George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward’s “Porgy and Bess” with Eric Owens, Adina Aaron, Jermaine Smith, Eric Greene, Angel Blue, Karen Slack, Norman Garrett, Gwendolyn Brown. Performances begin Nov. 17.
» Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” with Sondra Radvanovsky, Jamie Barton, Bryan Hymel, John Relyea and Kelley O’Connor. Performances begin Dec. 6.
» Puccini’s “Tosca” with with double casts of Tatiana Serjan/Hui He, Misha Didyk/Jorge de Leon, Evgeny Nikitin/Mark Delavan. Performances begin Jan. 2015.
» Wagner’s “Tannhaeuser” with Johan Botha, Amber Wagner, Michaela Schuster, Gerald Finley and John Relyea. Begins in February 2015.
» Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s “The Passenger” with Amanda Majeski, Daveda Karanas, Brandon Jovanovich, Joshua Hopkins, Kelly Kaduce, Judith Forst. Performances begin Feb. 2015.
» Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Carousel” with Denyce Graves. Performances begin April 2015.
Updated: January 28, 2014 7:18AM
Lyric Opera of Chicago marks its 60th anniversary season with a varied program that still reflects past planning as well as new ideas.
Although three new productions — and three productions new to Chicago — will be presented, only the previously announced rediscovered Holocaust-related opera “The Passenger” will be new to the repertoire at the Civic Opera House.
At a Monday morning press conference, Lyric general director Anthony Freud said that all but one of next season’s operas already had been chosen, although he and music director Andrew Davis had some flexibility on productions and casting.
Three Italian works, three German/Austrian (though one with an Italian libretto), one American and one from Eastern Europe and Russia comprise the eight-opera season. A new production of Mozart’s popular “Don Giovanni” by Goodman Theatre artistic director Robert Falls opens the season.
Four very different 19th century works — Verdi’s “Il trovatore” with an all-star cast of mostly younger singers, a rare revival of Donizetti’s bel canto “Anna Bolena,” Wagner’s “Tannhaeuser” and Puccini’s turn-of-the-century favorite “Tosca” also are on the schedule.
Three 20th century compositions — the 1942 “Capriccio” by Richard Strauss with a make-good Chicago operatic return by Lyric creative consultant and Super Bowl diva Renee Fleming, “Porgy and Bess” this time with Lyric’s future Wotan Eric Owens as Porgy, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s “The Passenger,” completed in 1968 but not produced until 2010 — also are set. Davis will conduct four operas including the opening Mozart, the Strauss and Wagner and the Weinberg premiere. Chorus master Michael Black will lead the Lyric chorus in all performances except “Capriccio,” which has no chorus.
Speaking from New York City via Skype, Fleming said she has never “been so inundated with congratulations and recommendations” as she has for Sunday’s Super Bowl gig. “People are glad that I won’t ‘embellish’ the national anthem, but how could I except with Baroque ornamentation?” she asked.
There is no operetta this year, but the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical“Carousel” will star Denyce Graves. In other audience development news, an all-new mariachi opera is being commissioned for March 2015, a gala 60th anniversary concert and the Diamond Ballare set for Nov. 1, a new children’s operatic collage, “The Magic Victrola,” premieres in Jan. 2015 and pianist Lang Lang returns in May of next year for a recital complete with video projection screens.
Among those singers making debuts or important returns Andriana Chuchman, Anna Sofie von Otter, Yonghoon Lee, Amber Wagner (in two major roles), Quinn Kelsey, Gwendolyn Brown, Sondra Radvanovsky, Jamie Barton, Bryan Hymel, John Relyea (twice), Tatiana Serjan, Hui He, Evgeny Nikitin and Gerald Finley. Local rising star soprano Amanda Majeski joins Daveda Karanas, Brandon Jovanovich, Joshua Hopkins, Kelly Kaduce and Judith Forst in “The Passenger.”
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