Patrick Stewart Joins Renee Fleming for Lyric Opera of Chicago's THE SECOND CITY GUIDE TO THE OPERA, 1/5

Patrick Stewart Joins Renee Fleming for Lyric Opera of Chicago's THE SECOND CITY GUIDE TO THE OPERA, 1/5

Lyric Opera of Chicago announced today that the 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. The opera-themed comedy-variety show will take place at 8 p.m. in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Civic Opera House, N. Wacker Drive and Madison Street.

Perhaps best known for his portrayal of Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent films, as well as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series, Patrick Stewart has appeared in more than 60 productions during his long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2008 he played the title role in Macbeth in London and then on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination and an Evening Standard Award; that year he also portrayed Claudius in Hamlet (Olivier Award). Both productions were filmed and broadcast both 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 the history of Broadway.

Stewart’s successful film and television career includes appearances in films such as Jeffrey, Dune, Excalibur, L.A. Story, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Conspiracy Theory. He has had memorable roles in Extras, for which he earned an Emmy nomination; Frasier; and The Simpsons. Stewart is currently providing voices for several recurring characters on American Dad! and Family Guy, and narrated last summer’s hit movie comedy Ted, which starred Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, and Mark Wahlberg. In the 2001 New Year Honours list, Her Majesty The Queen appointed Stewart an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), 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 the opera company, both legendary Chicago institutions, to see what kind 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 Second City, the world's premier comedy theatre and largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. The world-renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago is in its 58th season.

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

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 ( 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.

Photo Credit: RD / Orchon / Retna Digital

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