Patrick Stewart Joins Renee Fleming to Host Second City Guide to the Opera

Patrick Stewart Joins Renee Fleming to Host Second City Guide to the Opera

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces that respected stage, film and television actor, Patrick Stewart, will co-host The Second City Guide to the Opera on Saturday, January 5, with internationally renowned soprano and Lyric Opera creative consultant, Renée Fleming.

Tickets are now on sale for The Second City Guide to the Opera ($25 to $95) and can be purchased by phone (312) 332-2244, at the Lyric Opera box office, or through the website (lyricopera.org). Benefit tickets are also available ($250) and include a post-performance reception with the artists. The performance will take place in the 3,500-seat theater of the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. More than 70% of the tickets have already been sold.

Patrick Stewart is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the venerable television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and its subsequent films, and as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series. Stewart’s successful film and television career also includes such films as Jeffrey, Dune, Excalibur, LA Story, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Conspiracy Theory. On television he has had memorable roles in Extras (Emmy nomination), Frasier, and The Simpsons. Stewart is currently providing voices for several recurring characters on American Dad! and Family Guy. He also narrated last summer’s hit movie comedy, Ted, which starred Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, and Mark Wahlberg.

During his successful stage career, Stewart has appeared in more than 60 productions throughout his association with The Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2008 he played the title role of Macbeth in London and then on Broadway, earning an Evening Standard Award and a Tony Award nomination; that year he also portrayed Claudius in Hamlet (Olivier Award). Both productions were filmed and broadcast on BBC1 in the UK and as part of PBS’s “Great Performances” series in the US. In his universally acclaimed solo production of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Stewart portrayed more than 40 characters, relying on just a few props and his wealth of dramatic nuance. The solo show garnered several awards and recorded the highest single-week sales for any play in Broadway history.

In the 2001 New Year Honours list, Her Majesty The Queen appointed Stewart an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) and in 2010 Stewart received a knighthood for his services to drama.

The Second City Guide to the Opera is the brainchild of Renée Fleming. Her idea was to bring together the world-renowned comedy troupe and opera company, both legendary Chicago institutions, to see what kinds of creative sparks might fly. The resulting revue-style show will feature ensemble members of The Second City in opera-themed comedic sketches. Fleming will perform with live musical accompaniment, and both she and Stewart will share emcee duties and appear in satirical vignettes. Mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges and tenor Bernard Holcomb from The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center will also perform. The Second City’s Kelly Leonard is executive producer, Jesse Case is musical director, and Kate James, Tim Sniffen, and Jesse Case are writers for The Second City Guide to the Opera.

The not-to-be-missed opera-themed comedy-variety show will take place Saturday, January 5 at 8 p.m. in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive at Madison Street.

The Second City, the world's premier comedy theatre and largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009. The world-renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago is in its 58th season.

The Second City Guide to the Operais a project of Lyric Unlimited, a new, multifaceted program of expanded community engagement and artistic initiatives that includes Lyric's longstanding education programs.

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