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Lyric Opera Of Chicago Announces 2021/2022 Season & Joffrey Ballet Residency

This marks the first time the two companies will perform at the same venue, alternating productions.

Lyric Opera Of Chicago Announces 2021/2022 Season & Joffrey Ballet Residency

After the successful reimagining of its 2020/21 Season, Lyric Opera of Chicago greatly looks forward to welcoming audiences once again to the Lyric Opera House this fall for the start of the company's 67th Season.

"We're back!" declared Anthony Freud, Lyric's general director, president & CEO. "While Lyric continued to vigorously engage its audiences through virtual performances and events over the past year, and expanded our reach through globally accessible streaming concerts, we have also worked tirelessly to prepare our beautiful opera house so we can return safely to live, fully staged productions with audiences in attendance.

"New beginnings are cause for celebration, and we look forward to the joyful return of live performances in the 2021/22 Season," Freud said. "Under any circumstances, the prospect of being reunited to experience great music together would be exhilarating - and we're especially excited about all there is to anticipate in the upcoming season:

"We welcome the dynamic Maestro Enrique Mazzola as Lyric's new music director. Enrique is a consummate artist and a collaborative partner whose boundless energy and deep love for creative innovation have been behind many of our virtual programs during the reimagined 2020|21 Season. I look forward to the many ways that he will shape our company, our ensembles, and our community.

"Our beautiful Lyric Opera House is now more accessible than ever. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we were able to replace every seat in the house, reshaping the theater with widened aisles, improved sightlines and better ease of access throughout.

"We welcome The Joffrey Ballet as our resident ballet company at the Lyric Opera House, a genuine partnership that will bring new audiences to our beautiful, iconic home.

"We will present seven opera productions that have never before been seen in Chicago - from our completely new Macbeth to open the season, to our new coproduction of the riveting contemporary work Fire Shut Up in My Bones to close the season. The season also features Lyric's first mainstage opera sung in Spanish, Florencia en el Amazonas, and Missy Mazzoli's hauntingly beautiful chamber opera Proving Up, plus new-to-Chicago productions of The Elixir of Love, The Magic Flute, and Tosca.

"We stand firmly committed to the important principles of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA), and have done important work during the past year to strengthen every area of our company.

"As we boldly move forward from this uniquely challenging year, we find ourselves at a legacy moment for our company. We are profoundly grateful for our patrons' ongoing and generous support, which will continue to be more essential than ever as we work to adapt and recover. We can't wait to welcome everyone safely back to the Lyric Opera House for the shared community and the life-affirming power of live performance."

Freud emphasized that Lyric is "fully committed to the health and safety of our entire family - our audiences, artists, technicians, administrative staff, and all of the communities we serve throughout each season.

"Though there are still many unknowns around the fall season, we are committed to communicating with transparency about our plans for returning to live performance."

Here are Lyric's current plans:

The four operas from September through November will be reworked to have maximum performance running times of 2.5 hours.

Our hope is to provide patrons with their intended subscription seating as soon as possible. Until we receive guidance from health authorities on allowable theater capacity, however, we will send subscribers their tickets on a show-by-show basis to allow for flexibility in responding to evolving capacity allowances.

Lyric will offer virtual streams of the season's shows for ticket-holders only, as an alternative to attending in-person, should some audience members not yet feel comfortable returning to the theater. Access to these streams will be included in the price of the performance tickets.
At the theater, audiences can expect:

In compliance with state and local health guidelines, attendees will be required to wear mandatory face coverings.

Enhanced, hospital-grade cleaning practices that use high-performance disinfectants throughout our theater spaces and offices.

Ventilation systems have been thoroughly cleaned, including fogging of hard-to-reach surfaces.

Upgraded air filters have been installed, and airflow has been shifted to decrease recycled air and increase fresh air exchange.

Water systems have been regularly maintained.

Increased conversion to touchless fixtures in the theater is under way.

Hand-sanitizing stations are available in locations throughout the theater.

Dining and concessions will be operated in compliance with state and local health guidelines.

Daily health and safety checks are conducted for our onsite staff members.

Additional information may be found at

Freud noted that in the coming months, "we will continue to work closely with all state and local public health officials, as well as having ongoing consultations with an infectious disease expert, to ensure that all of our protocols promote personal health and safety, and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

"We greatly look forward to having you back in the Lyric Opera House for live performances! See you in September!" Freud added.

Subscriptions to Lyric's 2021/22 Season will be on sale starting at 5:30pm on Wednesday, May 19. The season comprises exciting new and familiar works, all in productions not previously seen in Chicago. Audiences can look forward to enjoying improved sightlines on the main floor, along with the new seats that have been installed throughout the Lyric Opera House over the past year.

Lyric Opera of Chicago's 67th Season

Macbeth (Verdi)

Enrique Mazzola, conductor; new production by Sir David McVicar

The Elixir of Love (Donizetti)

Enrique Mazzola, conductor; new-to-Chicago production by Daniel Slater

The Magic Flute (Mozart)

conductor TBA; new-to-Chicago production by Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade

Florencia en el Amazonas (Catán)

Jordan de Souza, conductor; Lyric premiere and new-to-Chicago production by Francesca Zambello

Proving Up (Mazzoli/Vavrek)

Enrique Mazzola, conductor; Lyric premiere and new-to-Chicago production by James Darrah

Tosca (Puccini)

Eun Sun Kim, conductor; new-to-Chicago production directed by Louisa Muller

Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Blanchard/Lemmons)

Daniela Candillari, conductor; Lyric premiere and new co-production by James Robinson and Camille A. Brown

Sir Andrew Davis Beethoven 9 Concert

Lyric premiere

Lyric's 67th Season is presented by Invesco QQQ. Invesco QQQ ETF is an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Nasdaq-100 Index™ and offers access to some of today's most innovative companies, all in one fund. Together with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Invesco QQQ will celebrate innovation in the operatic art form and bring forward unique experiences and moments to Lyric audiences.

Freud was joined by Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola to announce the repertoire and principal casting for the company's 2021/22 Season. "We are so excited to return to live in-person performances with these new and new-to-Chicago productions next season, with world-class casts and creative teams collaborating in several musical and dramatic styles," Mazzola said.

"To launch his inaugural season as our new music director, Enrique will conduct two Italian works in repertory in September and October - an exciting new production of Verdi's Macbeth that continues our Early Verdi Series; and a charmingly updated production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, providing us all with some welcome romantic comedy in an Italian seaside setting," said Freud. Mazzola will return to the podium in January, turning his attention to contemporary repertoire to lead performances of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek.

Lyric's new music director is renowned for his interpretations of Verdi and bel canto, but he has an extraordinarily broad repertoire, including a passionate commitment to contemporary work. "Earlier this year I conducted a short work by Missy Mazzoli with the London Philharmonic Orchestra," Mazzola said. "I love her music; it's full of emotion and rhythmic energy, and has huge immediacy and intensity. I am excited to share this recent opera of hers with Lyric audiences."

Mazzola noted that Lyric's 2021/22 Season will also include two operas whose music and stories "will be familiar to many in our audience, but will also be exciting discoveries for 'opera-curious' newcomers - Mozart's The Magic Flute and Puccini's Tosca."

Two works having Chicago premieres will complete Lyric's new season, Freud said. "Daniel Catán's captivating opera Florencia en el Amazonas will be the first Spanish-language opera presented here as part of the mainstage season. And Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the memoir by the New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow with libretto by Kasi Lemmons, will close the season with a riveting exploration of the Black experience in this country."

There will be important role debuts at Lyric next season, Freud noted. "We are excited that Sondra Radvanovsky will sing her first Lady Macbeth, and that Michelle Bradley will make her role debut and company debut in the title role of Tosca." Additional highly anticipated company debuts include baritone Luca Salsi in the title role of Macbeth, conductors Eun Sun Kim/Toscaand Jordan de Souza/Florencia en al Amazonas, and co-directors James Robinson and Camille A. Brown/Fire Shut Up in My Bones.

In April 2022, Lyric will celebrate Sir Andrew Davis's magnificent two-decade tenure as music director with one of his favorite works, never previously performed at the Lyric Opera House: Beethoven's enthralling Ninth Symphony. The concert will feature an outstanding vocal quartet (artists to be announced at a later date) joining forces with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The concert will begin with a new choral work by Sir Andrew's son, Ed Frazier Davis, an impressively gifted composer, commissioned specifically as a preface to this symphony.

One of the most important debuts of Lyric's 67th Season belongs to the new seats throughout the Lyric Opera House. While live performances were on hiatus during the past year, work in the Ardis Krainik Theatre continued under strict health and safety protocols, Freud noted. "When we open the season this fall, our audiences will experience a more accessible opera house."

Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor in support of Lyric's Patron Accessibility Initiative, the theater now has wider aisles to provide improved entrance and exit flow, and better wheelchair-accessible accommodations. The brand-new state-of-the-art seats also provide increased comfort and a uniform, staggered layout of rows throughout the theater for better sightlines.

The 2021/22 Season also marks the start of The Joffrey Ballet's residency at the Lyric Opera House. Lyric's productions will alternate with the Joffrey's productions.

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