Two favorites return to Lyric Opera of Chicago in the New Year
By Raymond Ward
Lyric Opera of Chicago kicks off 2019 with two acclaimed productions—the captivating and tragic love story La bohème by Puccini returns as a new production and the Midwest premiere of a beloved production of Cendrillon, based on the Cinderella story.
La bohème is a quintessentially Italian opera and the plot is forever youthful and eternally fresh. Cendrillon features an intelligent blend of wit, sensitivity, and elegance against the backdrop of a familiar storybook kingdom.
La bohème opened on October 6, 2018 to critical and audience acclaim and reopens on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 7 p.m. for eight performances at the Lyric Opera House (20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago) through January 31. Single tickets start at $39 and are available now at lyricopera.org/laboheme or by calling 312-827-5600.
Cendrillon premiered at Lyric on December 1, 2018 to the delight of audiences and critics alike, and retakes the stage on Friday, January 11 at 7 p.m. with three performances through January 20. Single tickets start at $49 and are available now at lyricopera.org/cendrillon or by calling 312-827-5600.
Special pricing is available for children’s tickets for all opera performances at Lyric when purchased with adult tickets. Children’s tickets ($20-$50) are available by calling Audience Services at 312-827-5600. Full-time college students may register for Lyric’s NEXT student discount tickets ($20) for select performances at lyricopera.org/next.
One of the most popular – and most performed – operas in the world, La bohème inspired the hit musical Rent and follows six relatable young-adult Bohemians experiencing the highs and lows of 1830s Paris. The cast stars Italian soprano Maria Agresta as Mimì, American tenor Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo this past October 2018, Australian soprano and Emmy Award winner Danielle de Niese as Musetta, American baritone Zachary Nelson as Marcello, and Romanian bass Adrian Sâmpetrean as Colline. Rounding out the principal roles are Puerto Rican baritone Ricardo José Rivera as Schaunard and American bass-baritone Jake Gardner as Benoît & Alcindoro.
The cast for the January performances of La bohème is the same as for the October performances. Venezuelan-Swiss conductor Domingo Hindoyan will lead all but the Jan. 31 performance, which will be conducted by Stefano Sarzani in his Lyric debut. British director Richard Jones created the new production, with set and costume designs by Stewart Laing and lighting designed by Mimi Jordan Sherin. Michael Black is chorus master.
Lyric’s Cendrillon (Cinderella) cast includes several artists who made triumphant company debuts in December. Australian soprano Siobhan Staggportrays Cendrillon, and Prince Charming is played by British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, who returns to Lyric in the title role of Handel’s Ariodante in March. Canadian coloratura soprano Marie-Eve Munger is the Fairy Godmother, American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop is Cendrillon’s stepmother Madame de la Haltière, and Australian bass-baritone Derek Welton is Cendrillon’s father Pandolfe. Ryan Opera Center ensemble members soprano Emily Pogorelc and mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Dec- ker are Cendrillon’s stepsisters.
Lyric’s music director Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Cendrillon performances January 17 and 20. Canadian-Italian conductor Francesco Milioto makes his company debut leading the January 11 performance. French director Laurent Pelly created the production and designed the whimsical costumes, with scenery by Belgian designer Barbara de Limburg and lighting designed by Duane Schuler. Choreography is by Laura Scozzi, revived for Lyric by Karine Girard. Michael Black is chorus master.
New Lyric Opera coproduction of Puccini’s La bohème generously made possible by the Julius Frankel Foundation, Abbott Fund, Liz Stiffel, The Michael and Susan Avramovich Charitable Trust, Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara G. Greis, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow.
Lyric’s premiere presentation of Massenet’s Cendrillon generously made possible by the NIB Foundation and Invesco QQQ.