Lyric Opera of Chicago announces 2018/19 season

By Stephen Raskauskas |

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Today, Lyric Opera of Chicago announced its 2018/19 season of performances, with 8 mainstage opera performances, including two company premieres, as well as a presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, also a company premiere. The season also includes the presentation of a new opera at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance through Lyric’s outreach and community engagement initiative, Lyric Unlimited, as well as other special performances. In December 2018, internationally acclaimed soprano Anna Netrebko comes to Lyric to offer a solo recital with collaborative pianist Malcolm Matineau. In March 2019, Renée Fleming performs with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and guest artists for a special concert and gala.

The season opens October 6 with Puccini’s La bohème in a new co-production with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Teatro Real Madrid. The cast includes Maria Agresta as Mimi, Danielle de Niese as Musetta, Zachary Nelson as Marcello, and Michael Fabiano making his Lyric debut as Rodolfo. Domingo Hindoyan conducts. Richard Jones directs.

Soprano Anna Netrebko performs a recital with pianist Malcolm Martineau at Lyric Opera of Chicago in December 2018 (Photo: Dario Acosta)

Later in October, Lyric brings Mozart’s Idomeneo to Chicago with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s classic production originally created for the Metropolitan Opera in 1982. Chicago area natives Matthew Polenzani and Janai Brugger perform the roles of Idomeneo and Ilia, and are joined by Erin Wall as Elettra and Angela Bower as Idamante. David Portillo, an alumnus of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center for young artists, performs the role of Arbace. Sir Andrew Davis conducts. David Kneuss directs the revival.

In November, Lyric continues its four-season rollout of a new Ring Cycle with the third installment in the tetralogy: Wagner’s Siegfried. Several of the singers cast in previous segments of director David Poutney’s new Ring return for Siefried, including Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Eric Owens as Wotan, and Samuel Youn as Alberich. Burkhard Fritz makes his Lyric debut in the title role. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.

Also in November, Lyric revives David McVicar’s production of Verdi’s Il trovatore. Soprano Jamie Barton, winner of the 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award and 2015 Richard Tucker Award, performs the role of Azucena. The cast also includes Tamara Wilson as Leonora, George Petean as Count di Luna, and Roberto Tagliavini as Ferrando – all making their Lyric debuts – and Russell Thomas as Manrico. Marco Armilitao conducts. Roy Rallo directs the revival.

Massenet’s Cendrillon, an adaptation of Cinderella, comes to Lyric for the first time in the company’s history in December. Siobhan Stagg makes both her company and American debut in the title role. Renowned mezzo-soprano Alice Coote stars as Prince Charming. Sir Andrew Davis conducts all performances except one, led by Francesco Milioto, making his Lyric debut. Laurent Pelly directs.

In February 2019, Lyric revives David McVicar’s production of Strauss’s tragic Elektra, created originally for the company in 2012. The cast includes powerhouse soprano Nina Stemme making her Lyric debut in the title role. She stars alongside Elza van den Heever as Chrysothemis, and Michaela Martens as Klytemnestra. Iain Paterson and Robert Brubaker make their Lyric debuts as Orest and Aegisth. Donald Runnicles conducts. Nicolas Sandys directs the revival.

The season continues with Verdi’s La traviata, performed most recently at Lyric during the 2012/13 season. This season’s cast includes Albina Shagimuratova as Violetta and Zeljko Lučić as Germont. Giorgio Berrugi makes his company debut as Alfredo. Michael Christie, making his Lyric debut, conducts. Arin Arbus directs.

Handel’s Ariodante receives its first Lyric performances in March 2019 featuring some of today’s most sought-after Handelian singers. Alice Coote stars in the title role along with Heidi Stober as Dalinda, Iestyn Davies as Polinesso, and Kyle Ketelsen as the King of Scotland. Brenda Rae makes her Lyric debut as Ginevra. Harry Bicket, known for his interpretations of Handel, conducts. Richard Jones directs this co-production from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Also in March, Lyric presents An American Dream, a new work by composer Jack Perla and librettist Jessica Murphy Moo at the Harris Theater. The opera was commissioned by Seattle Opera and premiered with the company in 2015.

Lyric concludes its 2018/19 season with performances of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, marking the work’s company premiere. Francesca Zambello directs this coproduction with Glimmerglass Opera and Houston Grand Opera that features the original choreography by Jerome Robbins. The conductor and cast have not yet been announced.

WFMT will broadcast opening night opera performances live from the Lyric Opera House throughout the 2018/19 season. Click here for information about 2017/18 Lyric Opera Broadcasts. For more information about Lyric’s 2018/19, visit its website.