THE KING AND I, Renee Fleming & More Set for Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2015-16 Season

Lyric Opera of Chicago will begin a new chapter in its history with its 61st season - the first to be fully planned by general director Anthony Freud and music director Sir Andrew Davis. Lyric's two artistic leaders announced the repertoire and casting for the 2015-16 season today.

"In designing a new Lyric season, our aim is to enthrall, entertain, excite, and stimulate, and to invite audiences to experience the unique magic of our art form," said Freud. "Our 61st season offers the opportunity to be swept away by nine sensational productions, all of which are new to Chicago. Three of these productions are original new Lyric productions, including our eagerly anticipated world premiere Bel Canto."

Lyric's 61st season will present stellar international artists, Freud noted. "You'll see a tremendous complement of big stars returning to Lyric next season, including (in chronological order) Amanda Majeski, Luca Pisaroni, Isabel Leonard, Alessandro Corbelli, Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Elizabeth Futral, Danielle de Niese, William Burden, Željko Lu?i?, Tatiana Serjan, Sophie Koch, Alice Coote, Joseph Calleja, Susanna Phillips, Eric Cutler, and more, plus special concert appearances by Lyric favorites Ana María Martínez, Plácido Domingo, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

"It's also thrilling to offer our audiences many artists making Lyric debuts, including (again in chronological order) Adam Plachetka, Christiane Karg, Lawrence Brownlee, Tomasz Konieczny, Angela Denoke, Heidi Stober, Jacques Imbrailo, Anthony Roth Constanzo, Dmitry Belosselskiy, Matthew Rose,and Christina Landshamer," Freud said.

Music Director Sir Andrew Davis will be on the podium for four operas next season, with Henrik Nánási (The Marriage of Figaro) and Edward Gardner (Der Rosenkavalier) debuting and Carlo Rizzi (Nabucco) and Emmanuel Villaume (Romeo and Juliet) returning for one opera each.

"I'm thrilled to be conducting the world-premiere performances of Bel Canto, and my first-ever performances of Wozzeck (finally!)," Davis said. "And for something completely different, I'm delighted to lead this production of The Merry Widow directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, which I just conducted when it premiered at the Metropolitan Opera last month with Renée Fleming - it's a lavish and charming production! And I also get to conduct Cenerentola [Cinderella] for the first time in a fun production out of Houston!"

Davis noted that Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, returns to Lyric to direct the new production of The Marriage of Figaro that opens the 2015-16 season. Debuting directors next season include Daniele Abbado (Nabucco) and Bartlett Sher (Romeo and Juliet).

Two special performances will showcase the talents of internationally acclaimed and beloved Lyric artists: frequent musical partners Ana María Martínez and Plácido Domingo will reunite in concert with Sir Andrew Davis and the Lyric Opera Orchestra, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky will return in recital with pianist Ivari Ilja.

The King and I, the fourth installment in Lyric's American Musical Theater Initiative, will receive its Lyric premiere April 29-May 22 in a sumptuous production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic with Broadway panache and Lyric style.

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