Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces 2020-2021 Season

By Michael San Gabino |

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Renée Fleming (Photo: Decca/Andrew Eccles)

Today, Lyric Opera of Chicago general director Anthony Freud and music director Sir Andrew Davis announced the 2020-2021 season.

At a press event held backstage at the Lyric Opera House, Freud and Sir Andrew unveiled the repertory and artists for the company’s 66th season. Freud remarked that the upcoming season is particularly “remarkable” because it is Sir Andrew’s last as music director. Since his 1987 debut, Sir Andrew has conducted 690 performances of 60 operas at Lyric, including ten concerts.

Opening night will not coincide with a main stage opera like in the past; rather, a concert on Saturday, September 12 featuring soprano and Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming will begin the season.

The first staged production is a double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Operas that will be presented in fall 2020 include Puccini’s Tosca featuring Sondra Radvanovsky and Joseph Calleja, as well as Verdi’s Attila, conducted by Lyric music director designate Enrique Mazzola.

The North American premiere of Lessons in Love and Violence by Sir George Benjamin will also be presented in fall 2020. The 90-minute “contemporary political thriller,” as Freud called it, is a Lyric co-commission and co-production with a consortium of opera houses around the world.

In January 2021, Lyric will present the Midwest premiere of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli. Enrique Mazzola will conduct the chamber opera, which will be staged at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

More 2021 productions include Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah with Clémentine Margaine and Brandon Jovanovich, and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Alex Esposito and Federica Lombardi in their Lyric debuts.

Conductor Eun Sun Kim, the recently appointed music director of San Francisco Opera, will also make her Lyric debut in 2021. Kim will conduct Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love featuring Rosa Feola and Matthew Polenzani.

In addition to Lessons in Love and Violence and The Marriage of Figaro, Sir Andrew Davis will conduct Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress featuring Andrew Staples, Janai Brugger, Luca Pisaroni, and Alice Coote.

Special concerts throughout the season include a recital featuring soprano Christine Goerke. A concert with the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra titled “A Knight to Remember” takes place in April 2021, which will honor Sir Andrew Davis’ tenure as music director. Sir Andrew’s son, Ed Frazier Davis, has been commissioned to compose an a cappella choral work that will precede a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Rounding out the season is Lyric’s annual musical production, which will be Singin’ in the Rain.

The 2020-2021 season also marks the first year that the Joffrey Ballet will be in-residence at the Lyric Opera House. The seven-year rental agreement was announced in 2017, and Freud has called the partnership “a win-win for Joffrey, Lyric, and the city of Chicago.”

For more information about Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020-2021 season, visit