Experiencing Lyric for the First Time—Reviewing Our Operatic Journey

Lyric Opera of Chicago at the Civic Opera House

My husband and I have considered subscribing to Lyric Opera of Chicago for years and this year we took the plunge. To say that we did not know what to expect is quite the understatement. We’re delighted and astonished at all the ways Lyric welcomes and informs us. As a service to those of you who are still hesitating to subscribe, I’ll share with you our experiences in a three-part series covering the educational background provided and the magic of the live performances of some the finest opera in the world. Join us on our operatic journey!

Marlis Petersen as "Lulu" (Photo:Stefanos)

To help initiate us, Lyric has invited us to a reception and preview concert featuring a musical preview of the upcoming season performed by members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and a season overview by Roger Pines, Lyric’s dramaturg. Additional donor benefits include (depending on the level of giving): a priority individual-ticket brochure, a subscription to Lyric Opera News, and an invitation for two to The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center’s Rising Stars in Concert,…the very long, impressive list goes on and on.

"Pagliacci" with Vladimir Galouzine (Photo: Javier del Real)

Moreover, Lyric produces a book, the Lyric Season Companion, that enables subscribers, new and seasoned, to:
  • Explore the plots in all their details—and the musical highpoints
  • Immerse themselves in fascinating articles about each opera’s historical, dramatic and compositional underpinnings
  • Gain insights into the motivations and personalities of the composers and librettists, and learn about their lives
  • Learn the ins and outs of each production—the sets, the costumes, directors and designers
  • Discover the vocal challenges of the major roles
  • Look up the cast lists and production histories
  • Receive recommendations for CDs and DVDs and suggestions for further reading
  • Brush up on our pronunciation
  • Check performance schedules and running times.

"The Abduction of the Seraglio" (Photo:Dan Rest)

As if that’s not enough, to provide subscribers with insider information on the season, the Lyric Opera Discovery Series presents discussions of each of the operas  (downloadable from Backstage At Lyric podcast:  www.lyricopera.org\podcast) and a symposium on Porgy and Bess. Backstage at Lyric podcast also has interviews with singers, directors, and conductors throughout the season. The series gets us up close with the stars of the 2008-9 season. We’ll have a chance to learn from Marlis Petersen what it’s like to portray Lulu. Director Chas Rader-Schieber will share some of his insights into his new production of The Abduction from the Seraglio. Lyric Opera dramaturg and opera expert, Roger Pines, moderates seven of the Discovery Series sessions while renowned music critic Wynne Delacoma moderates the Porgy and Bess Symposium. What a marvelous way to make opera as accessible as possible. It’s no wonder Lyric grows in popularity every year.

"Porgy and Bess" with Morenike Fadayomi (Photo:Robert Millard/LA Opera)

We have subscribed to a four-opera series— P orgy and Bess, Lulu, Cavalleria Rusticana /Pagliacci, and The Abduction from the Seraglio. We look forward  to those projected Englsh translations, even for Porgy and Bess. These operas are scheduled together on two separate weekends, so we’ll have two “Opera Weekends.” We just received a brochure from Lyric detailing eight downtown hotels which offer a Lyric Opera rate, so we may just stay downtown and make it an operatic staycation.

Will the magic work for us? Are we too unfamiliar with opera for this to be an enjoyable experience for us? We’ll have to wait and see.

For more information go to:www.lyricopera.org or call 312.332.2244, ext 5600

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