Lyric Opera of Chicago's Opening Night Gala Set for 10/5

On Saturday, October 5, elegantly dressed guests will make their red-carpet entrances amidst the paparazzi and onlookers at the Civic Opera House. It's the opening night of Giuseppe Verdi'sOtello, which launches Lyric Opera of Chicago's 59th season. Doors open at 4pm and the performance begins at 5pm, concluding shortly after 8pm.

"The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer will be majestically transformed for the Opening Night Gala," according to William P. Heffernan, creative director of the event design firm HefferNan Morgan Ronsley. "Reflecting the essence of the opera Otello, opera-house décor leans heavily upon the presentation of giant red and gold Renaissance-style banners surrounding the main foyer and highlighted by magnificent and enormous globes of eighteen-carat gold camellia foliage," Heffernan said.

Jewell Events Cateringwill servean array of delectable savories. During the pre-opera reception, 4-5pm, guests throughout the opera housewill enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvre. A full array of spirits as well as still and sparkling wines, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

Corinne Wood (Lake Forest) is Opening Night chairman. The Opening Night Benefit is sponsored byAon Corporation for the 29th consecutive year.

Giuseppe Verdi's interpretation of Shakespeare's tragic tale of deadly jealousy, Otello,stars Johan Botha, Ana María Martínez, Falk Struckmann, and Antonio Poli (American operatic debut) in a revival of the Sir Peter Hall production conducted by Bertrand de Billy and staged by Ashley Dean (both Lyric debuts), with set and costume designs by John Gunter, and lighting by Duane Schuler. Chorus master is Michael Black, and choreographer is August Tye. Eight performances Oct. 5-Nov. 2, in Italian with projectEd English texts. Generous sponsors for this revival are Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, an Anonymous Donor, the Abbott Fund, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Mazza Foundation.

The opening-night performance of Otello can be heard live locally on radio 98.7WFMT and globally on, beginning at 4:45pm. The Lyric Opera of Chicago Broadcasts are generously sponsored by The Hurvis Family Foundation with matching funding provided byThe Matthew Bucksbaum Family, The John and Jackie Bucksbaum Family, and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart.

Tickets for the Opening Night Gala Benefit performance of Otello, including the receptions prior to the performance and during intermission, range from $79 to $425 (not including Opera Ball). For reservations and more information, please call 312-332-2244 or go to

The evening's ultimate experience is available through the Grand Gala Package, featuring luxury round-trip transportation between the Civic Opera House and Hilton Chicago, pre-opera reception in the newly renovated William B. and Catherine Graham Room, premier seating for the performance, premium wine and table service at the Opera Ball, and an opportunity to host an artist or production team member at your Ball table. Premium Package guests may attend the exclusive reception in the Graham Room before Otello begins, luxury transportation to the Opera Ball, and premier seating at both the performance and Ball.

The Opera Ball will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue.

Mrs. William A. Osborn (Cathy/Winnetka) is Opera Ball chairman. The Opera Ball is generously cosponsored by ITW for the twelfth consecutive year and by Northern Trust for the sixteenth consecutive year.

Complimentary transportation will convey Opera Ball guests from the Civic Opera House to the Hilton Chicago following the opening-night performance. The expected 500+ Opera Ball guests will make their red-carpet entrances and ascend the grand staircase to the welcoming strains of a brass fanfare.

When dinner begins in the elegantly decorated Grand Ballroom, guests will be welcomed by Lyric President and CEO Kenneth G. Pigott. The opening-night artists will then be presented by Lyric General Director Anthony Freud in the traditional Grand March, which is sponsored by Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP. The Stu Hirsh Orchestra will provide music for dinner and dancing.

Tickets for the Opera Ball are $575 (not including performance), and may be reserved by calling the Women's Board office: 312-827-5681.

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