Here’s the press release from Lyric Opera:
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 55th season
begins Saturday, September 26, 2009, at 6:00 p.m.
with Sir Andrew Davis conducting Giacomo Puccini’s immortal
starring Deborah Voigt, Vladimir Galouzine, and James Morris
Faust, Ernani, Katya Kabanova, The Merry Widow, The Elixir of Love,
The Damnation of Faust, and The Marriage of Figaro
also to be presented this season, including three new Lyric productions
– one a Lyric Opera premiere – and one new-to-Chicago production
Renowned stage directors to make Lyric Opera debuts with new productions:
Stephen Langridge with The Damnation of Faust
and Gary Griffin with The Merry Widow
Opening nights for all operas of Lyric’s 2009/10 season to air live on
The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts on 98.7WFMT
77 opera performances in the 6-month season
4-opera series start at $96, 8-opera series start at $192
Season subscribers enjoy up to two operas free, depending on series they choose
In response to market demand, Lyric will offer a NEW 4-opera Friday matinee series
and two NEW 4-opera evening series
Subscriber benefits include unlimited free ticket exchanges for 8-opera subscribers, TradeOne option for 4, 5, 6, & 7-opera subscribers,
and NEW TradeOneWeekend option for O-series subscribers
Free 30-minute lectures for ticketholders start an hour before every performance
(except Opening Night)
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 55th Season – 2009/10
MAJOR PRINCIPAL SINGERS to INCLUDE:
Piotr Beczala*, Marco Berti*, Nicole Cabell, Alessandro Corbelli, Stephen Costello*,
Boaz Daniel, Danielle de Niese, Joyce DiDonato, Giuseppe Filianoti*, Judith Forst,
Elizabeth Futral, Lucio Gallo, Vladimir Galouzine, Susan Graham, Paul Groves, Roger Honeywell,
Brandon Jovanovich*, Joseph Kaiser, Kyle Ketelsen, Mariusz Kwiecien, Salvatore Licitra,
Frank Lopardo, Ana María Martínez, Karita Mattila, James Morris, René Pape, Susanna Phillips, Giacomo Prestia*, Sondra Radvanovsky, John Relyea*, Anne Schwanewilms, Violeta Urmana*, Deborah Voigt, and more!
Bruno Campanella, Sir Andrew Davis, Edward Gardner*, Stephen Lord*,
Renato Palumbo, Markus Stenz*, Emmanuel Villaume
Garnett Bruce, Giulio Chazalettes, José María Condemi, Frank Corsaro,
Gary Griffin*, Sir Peter Hall, Herbert Kellner, Stephen Langridge*,
Vincent Liotta, Jonathan Miller*, Paula Williams
Christine Binder, Mara Blumenfeld*, Jason Brown*, John Bury, Marcel Escoffier,
Wolfgang Göbbel*, Robert Israel, Scott Marr, Renzo Mongiardino, Daniel Ostling*,
Robert Perdziola, Ulisse Santicchi, Duane Schuler, George Souglides*
Philippe Giraudeau, Daniel Pelzig
WIGMASTER & MAKEUP DESIGNER:
*Lyric Opera debuts
William Mason, General Director
Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director
Bruno Bartoletti, Artistic Director Emeritus
William Mason, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, has announced the repertoire, principal singers, conductors, directors, and designers for Lyric’s 2009/10 season. Lyric’s 55th season offers 77 performances of eight different operas, including three new productions (one a Lyric premiere) and one new-to-Chicago production, beginning Saturday, September 26, 2009, and concluding Saturday, March 27, 2010.
Three operas will receive new productions at Lyric in 2009/10. The Damnation of Faust, the first work by Hector Berlioz to be heard at Lyric, will star Paul Groves, Susan Graham, and John Relyea (debut), conducted by Sir Andrew Davis in a new production by English stage director Stephen Langridge, George Souglides (designer), and Wolfgang Göbbel (lighting), the latter three in Lyric debuts. Gary Griffin, the renowned associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, will debut at Lyric as stage director of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, starring Elizabeth Futral, Roger Honeywell, and Stephen Costello (debut), conducted by Emmanuel Villaume (who triumphed with this season’s Manon), with set designer Daniel Ostling and costume designer Mara Blumenfeld both also debuting. Giuseppe Verdi’s Ernani, starring Salvatore Licitra, Sondra Radvanovsky, Boaz Daniel, and Giacomo Prestia (debut), returns to Lyric in a new production by José María Condemi and Scott Marr, conducted by Renato Palumbo
Also new to Chicago will be the Jonathan Miller (debut) production of Janáèek’s Katya Kabanova originally created for the Metropolitan Opera, starring Karita Mattila, Judith Forst, and Brandon Jovanovich (debut). Conductor Markus Stenz will make his Lyric debut, along with stage director Paula Williams. Production design is by Robert Israel, with lighting by Duane Schuler.
Lyric’s well-loved productions of Puccini’s Tosca, Gounod’s Faust, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro will be revived.
Music director Sir Andrew Davis will conduct Tosca (Sept.-Oct.), Faust, and The Damnation of Faust next season. Chorus master Donald Nally will prepare the Lyric Opera Chorus for all eight operas next season.
Mason notes that Lyric’s 55th season will be “exciting in its breadth and depth, with sparkling comedies, searing tragedies, and brilliant music in a variety of styles. And of course we have an exceptional roster of world-class singers, conductors, stage directors, and designers.” Having two operas explore Goethe’s Faust myth in one season, Mason adds, “offers our audiences a unique opportunity to compare and contrast between the relatively familiar Gounod and the less frequently staged Berlioz.”
In response to the current economic climate and to meet new market demand, Lyric will make a slight modification to its schedule. The number of subscription performances offered will be reduced to 77 from 79, and four performance slots formerly assigned to evenings will be converted to matinees. The new four-opera matinee series, called the “MC,” will take place on Friday afternoons at 2 pm.
“All three of our current matinee series are completely sold out. The demand for matinee performances is clearly increasing and we think the new Friday ‘MC’ series fits the bill,” Mason says.
In addition, two new four-opera evening series are being offered, one on Tuesday nights and one on Friday nights. Seating comes from existing inventory from the current 8-opera Tuesday and Friday series.
Also new this season for all subscribers is a 25% down payment plan, Mason notes. “Just 25% down secures your seats with a credit-card payment, with the remaining three payments automatically charged monthly.”
Depending on the series they choose, full-season subscribers can enjoy up to two operas free, Mason
says. He also notes that there is no increase in upper-balcony subscription prices for all series, and an increase of only about 4 percent for all subscriptions in other sections of the theater.
The general director says that “we’re pleased to once again offer the TradeOne option next season to those whose subscriptions include less than the full eight operas. We’re also very happy about the success of free ticket exchanges for our full-season subscribers. These are wonderful benefits that offer our subscribers increased scheduling flexibility.”
Continuing next season, eight-opera subscribers may exchange subscription tickets for another date of the same opera with no fee (weekend upgrades additional). Subscribers with 4-, 5-, 6-, or 7-opera series may exchange subscription tickets for another date of the same opera for just $4 per ticket (plus weekend upgrade if applicable).
With the TradeOne program, subscribers with 4-, 5-, 6-, or 7-opera series in 2009/10 may again trade one opera in their series for an opera not in their series should they wish to do so when they place their subscription orders. There is a $9-per-ticket TradeOne fee, with an additional $13-per-ticket fee if trading from a weekday to a weekend performance.
For the first time next season, “O Series” subscribers will have the option to TradeOne Weekend. Created especially for out-of-town subscribers, this series offers four operas in two weekends. Now subscribers will have the flexibility of trading one of those weekends for a third weekend option with two different operas and seating.
Subscribers to Lyric’s 55th season can choose from 23 different subscription series. Subscription brochures will be mailed in February. Weekday prices apply Monday through Friday matinees; weekend rates apply Friday evening through Sunday. (There are no Sunday evening performances scheduled.)
Free pre-performance lectures will once again be offered next season before every performance of every opera (except Sept. 26, opening night of the season) to enhance the operagoing experience, Mason says. “These wonderful 30-minute talks, presented by members of Lyric’s staff as well as experts from the community, have been a great success since we introduced them a few years ago.”
Lyric’s website has recently undergone a major redesign; continual updates and improvements are made year-round, Mason notes. Website features include the popular “Backstage at Lyric” podcast, comprised of informal interviews with the major artists of each production (available free on iTunes). Discovery Series lectures and panel discussions are also available as podcast episodes. “We’ve gotten great responses from people who appreciate the convenience of being able to download and enjoy our online content when and where they want,” Mason says. “The technology gives us the opportunity to make more information available to our audiences and enhances their experience in the opera house.” Current features that will be expanded include web videos about Lyric productions such as short “behind-the-scenes” features and performance highlights, Mason adds.
Projected English translations and titles will be used for every opera in Lyric’s 2009/10 season.
The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts on 98.7WFMT will air the opening night performance of each opera in Lyric’s 2009/10 season live locally, and will rebroadcast all eight operas internationally in May and June of 2010. The Matthew Bucksbaum Family is the generous sponsor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Bucksbaum Family Broadcasts through the 2011/12 season, with matching funding provided by The Crown Family, Richard P. and Susan Kiphart, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
THE WORKS BEING PRESENTED by LYRIC OPERA of CHICAGO
in the 2009/10 SEASON
and the ARTISTS WHO HAVE BEEN ENGAGED to DATE
TOSCA / Giacomo Puccini (in Italian with projected English translations)
12 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for opening night at 6:00 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Sept. 26, 30, Oct. 3, 7 (mat.), 10, 13; Jan. 10 (mat.), 15, 19, 22 (mat.), 25, 29
One of the Lyric audience’s favorite works, Puccini’s fiery melodrama Tosca, will return for two series of performances. For the September/October series, the title role of glamorous diva Floria Tosca will be sung by soprano Deborah Voigt, who will star opposite tenor Vladimir Galouzine as Tosca’s lover, the painter/revolutionary Mario Cavaradossi, and bass James Morris as the sadistic police chief, Baron Scarpia, who lusts after her. Tenor John Easterlin will play Scarpia’s henchman, Spoletta. For the January performances, soprano Violeta Urmana will debut as Tosca. Her stage partners will be tenor Marco Berti (debut) as Cavaradossi and baritone Lucio Gallo as Scarpia, with tenor David Cangelosi as Spoletta. The Sacristan will be portrayed at all performances by bass-baritone Dale Travis.
The first series will be conducted by music director Sir Andrew Davis, the second series by Stephen Lord (debut). Garnett Bruce is stage director. The production is designed by Renzo Mongiardino (sets), Marcel Escoffier (costumes), and Christine Binder (lighting).
The Lyric Opera revival of Tosca is generously made possible by the Abbott Fund, Mr. and Mrs. John V. Crowe, JPMorgan Chase, and Nancy W. Knowles.
Lyric Opera has presented Tosca in 16 previous seasons between 1954 and 2004-05 (when this production was first seen). “This historic Covent Garden production was created by Franco Zeffirelli for Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi,” notes Mason. “We’ve got a terrific trio of principals for the opening performances: the magnificent Deborah Voigt singing her first Puccini role here; Vladimir Galouzine, who had a great success in Turandot at Lyric and will do likewise in Pagliacci this season; and of course James Morris, today’s finest Scarpia. It’s a wonderful way to open our 55th season, especially with Sir Andrew on the podium!”
Mason adds that in January, “we’ll have the exciting debuts of Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana and Italian tenor Marco Berti as Tosca and Cavaradossi. In all the major opera houses, Ms. Urmana is one of today’s most thrilling exponents of many demanding dramatic-soprano roles. Mr. Berti, who has that classic Italian tenor sound Lyric audiences love, has rapidly developed a terrific international career. I’m delighted that our Scarpia in January will be Lucio Gallo, who gave stellar performances in his Lyric debut as Ford in Falstaff and then as Iago in Otello. The brilliant American conductor Stephen Lord, who’s earned a formidable reputation as music director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, will lead the January performances in his Lyric debut.”
FAUST / Charles François Gounod (in French with projected English translations)
10 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 5, 8 (mat.), 11 (mat.), 14, 17, 20, 23 (mat.), 30, Nov. 3, 7
Lyric’s production of Gounod’s Faust will commemorate the 150th anniversary of this universally popular work, which had its premiere in Paris in early 1859. The story is one of the most justly celebrated in opera. Tenors Piotr Beczala (debut) and Joseph Kaiser (Oct. 30, Nov. 3, 7) play the aged philosopher Faust, who – at the urging of Satan’s agent, Méphistophélès (bass René Pape/bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen, Oct. 30, Nov. 3, 7) – is made young again in exchange for his soul. The drama encompasses Faust’s encounter with the innocent Marguerite (soprano Ana María Martínez), his wooing and subsequent abandonment of her, the death of her brother Valentin (baritone Lucas Meachem) at Faust’s own hand, and Marguerite’s ensuing madness, death, and redemption. A comic element in Gounod’s opera is the presence of Marthe, Marguerite’s busybody neighbor, sung by mezzo-soprano Jane Bunnell (debut).
Sir Andrew Davis will conduct, with Frank Corsaro as stage director and sets and costumes by Robert Perdziola. Christine Binder is the lighting designer.
The Port, Washlow, and Errant Families Production. Revival generously made possible by an Anonymous Donor, Randy and Melvin Berlin, and Northern Trust.
Lyric Opera has previously presented Faust during five seasons, most recently in 2003-04, when this Frank Corsaro production was first seen. “We’re delighted about presenting Piotr Beczala, a Polish tenor new to Lyric Opera, in the title role,” says Mason. “He’s already taken the operatic world by storm, with triumphs at Salzburg, the Met, and Covent Garden. Piotr is a splendid lyric tenor – he’s going to be sensational here. We’re also pleased to have our own Joseph Kaiser singing the final three performances. A Ryan Opera Center alumnus, he’s at the onset of a distinguished career which has taken him to Salzburg, Covent Garden, and the Met. We’re having René Pape back for the first seven performances – the world’s leading bass at this point, in one of the great bass roles. The superb American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen will share the role of Méphistophélès – he last appeared with us as Masetto in Don Giovanni, and returns later this season as Figaro. The exquisite soprano Ana María Martínez debuts at Lyric this season as Nedda in Pagliacci, and we’ll happily welcome her back as Marguerite.”
ERNANI / Giuseppe Verdi (in Italian with projected English translations)
9 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 27, 31, Nov. 5 (mat.), 8 (mat.), 11, 14, 17, 20, 23
Based on a famous play by Victor Hugo, Ernani, one of the most stirring works of Verdi’s early years, was a triumph at its Venice world premiere in 1844. Audiences are invariably captivated by infectious energy of the music, which requires four principals boasting magnificent vocal beauty and technical prowess. The macho yet romantic hero of the title is a nobleman, Don Juan de Aragon, disguised as the bandit Ernani (tenor Salvatore Licitra) and the enemy of the King of Spain, Don Carlo (baritone Boaz Daniel). Ernani loves the young, nobly born Elvira (soprano Sondra Radvanovsky). She returns his love, but must also endure the attentions of both the king and Don Ruy Gomez de Silva (bass Giacomo Prestia, debut), her aged uncle, who hopes to marry her himself. Silva’s protection of Ernani from the angry King’s pursuit results in Ernani owing the old man a terrible debt, which precipitates the opera’s tragic dénouement.
Renato Palumbo will conduct the new production, José María Condemi is stage director, and Scott Marr set and costume designer. Lighting is by Duane Schuler.
Generous sponsors for this new production are The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust and The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust.
Lyric presented Ernani previously in the 1984 season. “It’s Verdi at his most stirring and passionate, and the work that first brought him fame outside of Italy,” says Mason. “It’s one of the major works of Verdi’s ‘galley years’ as he referred to them, during the 1840s, when he wrote 12-13 operas. We’re thrilled to have back with us two brilliant artists who debuted at Lyric in Verdi: Salvatore Licitra in the title role (he was with us as a stunning Radamès in Aida) and Boaz Daniel as the King, Don Carlo (he was a powerful Ford in Falstaff last season). Sondra Radvanovsky, who had a great triumph in our recent Trovatore, returns as Ernani’s lady love. In his Lyric debut, the much-acclaimed Italian bass Giacomo Prestia will be Silva. Renato Palumbo, one of today’s major conductors of Italian operatic repertoire, will return for Ernani after having led this season’s Cav/Pag. The new production is created by the rising young stage director José María Condemi, with Lyric’s own resident design director, Scott Marr, as the designer of the beautiful sets and costumes.”
KATYA KABANOVA / Leoš Janáèek (in Czech with projected English translations)
7 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinee at 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 22 (mat.), 25, 28, Dec. 1, 4, 7, 12
Janáèek’s supremely moving tragedy represents the lyrical peak of his career. The opera’s title role and protagonist is the lovesick Katya (soprano Karita Mattila), unhappily married to the ineffectual Tichon (tenor Jason Collins, debut), oppressed by his vicious mother, Kabanicha (mezzo-soprano Judith Forst), and stifled by an aimless existence in a narrow-minded, oppressive community. Katya falls in love with the dashing Boris (tenor Brandon Jovanovich, debut), whose future is unfortunately subject to the wishes of his overbearing uncle, Dikoj (bass-baritone Andrew Shore). There is a wonderful contrast between the tortured love of Katya and Boris and a young, effervescently carefree couple, Varvara (mezzo-soprano Liora Grodnikaite, debut) and Kudrjáš (tenor Garrett Sorenson, debut).
Markus Stenz (debut) will conduct the production by Jonathan Miller (debut), with Paula Williams as stage director. The set and costume designer is Robert Israel. Lighting designer is Duane Schuler.
Production originally created for the Metropolitan Opera. Lyric Opera presentation generously made possible by an Anonymous Donor, Julie and Roger Baskes, and Margot and Josef Lakonishok.
Lyric presented Katya Kabanova previously in 1986. “The great Karita Mattila returns in a role that she’s made uniquely her own, which she sings magnificently and portrays brilliantly,” says Mason. “We’re very pleased to present the Lyric debut of the dashing American tenor Brandon Jovanovich, who possesses a strong, virile sound. Mezzo-soprano Judith Forst, who was so compelling as Herodias in our 2006/07 Salome, will similarly command our attention as Kabanicha. We’re presenting the riveting Jonathan Miller production from the Metropolitan Opera, and we’re very pleased to have the Lyric debut of conductor Markus Stenz, who has been heard at the CSO previously.”
THE MERRY WIDOW / Franz Lehár (in English with projected English texts)
11 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Dec. 5, 9, 11, 14, 16 (mat.), 18, 20 (mat.), Jan. 5, 9, 14 (mat.), 16
Lehár’s masterpiece is rivaled only by Die Fledermaus as the most popular of all Viennese operettas. It boasts any number of beloved melodies, from the heroine’s “Vilja” to the hero’s “Maxim’s” and their exquisite duet, known as the “Merry Widow Waltz.” The operetta takes place in Paris, where the high life is being greatly enjoyed by the widow Hanna Glawari (soprano Elizabeth Futral), whose 20 million francs make her particularly attractive to Paris’s most eligible bachelors. Hanna is a native of Pontevedria, whose ambassador, Baron Zeta (bass-baritone Dale Travis), is desperate to have her marry a native Pontevedrian so that her fortune can remain in her own country. He tries to interest Hanna’s old flame, Count Danilo (tenor Roger Honeywell), in marrying her, but Danilo prefers to play the field with the girls from Maxim’s. The amorous intrigues also involve Zeta’s lovely young wife, Valencienne (soprano Andriana Chuchman) and the French nobleman who loves her, Camille de Rosillon (tenor Stephen Costello, debut).
Emmanuel Villaume is the conductor. Making Lyric debuts are Gary Griffin (stage director), Daniel Ostling (set designer), and Mara Blumenfeld (costume designer). Christine Binder is the lighting designer, and Daniel Pelzig is the choreographer.
Lyric Opera production generously made possible by Jim and Vicki Mills/Jon and Lois Mills, an Anonymous Donor, the Howard A. Stotler Estate, Donna Van Eekeren, and Bank of America.
The operetta The Merry Widow has been seen at Lyric during the 1981 and 1986/87 seasons. (A ballet version was presented in 1955 and 1962.) “We’re very enthusiastic about presenting a new production of Lehár’s delightful operetta, which is full of terrific melodies we all know and love,” Mason says. “The same pair who delighted us in The Pirates of Penzance will sparkle in The Merry Widow – the lovely Elizabeth Futral as the wealthy widow and the debonair Roger Honeywell as her reluctant suitor Danilo – both alumni of the Ryan Opera Center. It’s going to be so charming – especially for the holidays! The ingénue couple will be Andriana Chuchman, the extremely talented current member of the Ryan Opera Center, as Valencienne, and the up-and-coming young American tenor Stephen Costello, making his debut as Camille. Emmanuel Villaume returns to conduct after his triumph with Manon this season. And of course we’re very excited about the Lyric debut of acclaimed stage director Gary Griffin and the team of Chicago designers, Daniel Ostling and Mara Blumenfeld. I’ve admired Gary’s theatrical work for many years, and I’m thrilled that we can bring him to the stage at Lyric.”
THE ELIXIR OF LOVE / Gaetano Donizetti (in Italian with projected English translations)
10 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Jan. 23, 27 (mat.) 30, Feb. 2, 5 (mat.), 7 (mat.), 10, 13, 19, 22
Donizetti’s most enchanting comedy contains ravishing arias (such as the tenor’s celebrated “Una furtiva lagrima”), as well as delightful duets, ensembles, and choruses. Atypically of operas of the Romantic era, the hero is a simple country lad, Nemorino, who pines for a wealthy landowner, Adina. The fun begins when Nemorino buys a phony “elixir of love” from the quack, Dr. Dulcamara, hoping that it will help him win Adina’s love. For performances from January 23 through February 5, tenor Giuseppe Filianoti (debut) will sing Nemorino, opposite the Adina of soprano Nicole Cabell. For the remaining performances, these roles will be taken by tenor Frank Lopardo and soprano Susanna Phillips. At all performances, baritone Alessandro Corbelli will portray Dulcamara. Sergeant Belcore, Nemorino’s rival for Adina’s affections, will be baritone Gabriele Viviani (debut).
Bruno Campanella will conduct, with Vincent Liotta as stage director. The sets and costumes are by Ulisse Santicchi. Jason Brown (debut) is lighting designer.
The Mrs. Thomas B. Burke and the I. A. O’Shaugnessy Foundation Production. Revival made possible by Illinois Tool Works Inc., the NIB Foundation, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow.
Elixir has been presented at Lyric six times since 1955, most recently in the 1999/2000 season, when Frank Lopardo portrayed Nemorino. “This is one of the most delightful of all the Italian comic operas, containing some of the most beautiful music in the repertoire, most famously ‘Una furtiva lagrima,’” notes Mason. “We’ve got two terrific casts for the romantic couple: making his Lyric debut, Giuseppe Filianoti, who’s enchanted audiences at the Metropolitan – he’ll sing Nemorino opposite our own Nicole Cabell, who was so wonderful in The Pearl Fishers earlier this season. Then Frank Lopardo, this season’s marvelous Pinkerton, will return as Nemorino opposite Susanna Phillips. Like Nicole, Susanna is a brilliantly gifted alumna of the Ryan Opera Center who has enjoyed leading-role successes nationwide and is debuting as Puccini’s Musetta at the Met this season. Alessandro Corbelli, who’s internationally acknowledged as today’s greatest master of the Italian comic style, is returning as the cunning Dr. Dulcamara, and Sgt. Belcore will be the vehicle for another outstanding debut, that of the Italian baritone Gabriele Viviani. Bel canto specialist Bruno Campanella conducts and Vincent Liotta returns to stage the delightful Giulio Chazalettes production.”
Lyric Premiere / New Production
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST / Hector Berlioz (in French with projected English translations)
7 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinee at 2:00 p.m.
Feb. 20, 24, March 2, 5, 8, 13 (mat.), 17
La damnation de Faust (premiere Paris, 1846) is Lyric’s first production of any Berlioz work. Classified by the composer as a “dramatic legend,” Damnation has often been heard in concert form, and in that guise has always been hugely successful with major orchestras worldwide. In recent decades some major operatic venues have staged it with enormous success internationally. The familiar dramatic events of the work – the disillusion of Faust (tenor Paul Groves) and his contemplation of suicide, his encounter with the devil in the person of Méphistophélès (bass-baritone John Relyea, debut), the exuberance of the student Brander (bass-baritone Christian Van Horn), Faust’s initial encounter with the innocent Marguerite (mezzo-soprano Susan Graham) and the catastrophic results of their romance – are given incomparable freshness by Berlioz, with episode after episode that enchants the ear: the world-famous “Hungarian March”; the devil’s brilliant solos; Faust’s ravishing invocation to nature; and Marguerite’s heartfelt “King of Thulé” ballad and devastating song of longing for Faust (“D’amour, l’ardente flamme,” one of the supreme achievements of Berlioz’s entire career). There are also immensely challenging roles for chorus members, who play peasants, students, gnomes, sylphs, and heavenly spirits.
Sir Andrew Davis will conduct the production directed by Stephen Langridge (debut). Sets and costumes are by George Souglides (debut), lighting by Wolfgang Göbbel (debut), and choreography by Philippe Giraudeau. The Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago under the direction of Emily Ellsworth will make their Lyric Opera debut in the new production.
Lyric Opera production generously made possible by Mr. and Mrs. William C. Vance, Edgar Foster Daniels, the Mazza Foundation, Mrs. A. Watson Armour, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“We are really terrifically excited about Lyric’s first Berlioz opera,” Mason says. “While it’s often heard in concert form, it’s enormously compelling and lends itself very well to the operatic stage if it’s well directed and designed. We have a stellar cast: Paul Groves, John Relyea making his company debut, and the incomparable Susan Graham ensure that these will be splendid performances. It also presents a marvelous opportunity for Lyric’s world-class chorus, and for the excellent Anima Young Singers, as well. Sir Andrew Davis will conduct a composer whose work he loves, with the renowned British director Stephen Langridge debuting at Lyric.”
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (in Italian with projected English translations)
11 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 (mat.), March 3 (mat.), 6, 9, 12 (mat.), 15, 18 (mat.), 20, 22, 24, 27
“La folle journée” (“The Crazy Day”) was the subtitle of Beaumarchais’ comedy on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart based his opera, one of the greatest creations in the entire repertoire. It centers on a single frantic day in the life of Aguas Frescas, the castle of Count Almaviva (baritone Mariusz Kwiecien). The Count has designs on Susanna (soprano Danielle de Niese), maid of the Countess (soprano Anne Schwanewilms). Susanna is to be married this very day to the count’s valet, Figaro (bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen), which doesn’t stand in the way of the Count’s keeping an assignation with her. But he reckons without Figaro and Susanna who – aided by the Countess – conspire to teach the philandering Count a lesson. Others figuring prominently in the plot are the amorous young page, Cherubino (mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato); an older couple, Dr. Bartolo (bass Andrea Silvestrelli) and Marcellina (mezzo-soprano Diana Montague, debut), who turn out to be Figaro’s parents, to his amazement; Susanna’s devious music master, Basilio (tenor Keith Jameson); and Antonio, the Count’s gardener (baritone Philip Kraus).
The production will be conducted by Edward Gardner (debut). The original production is by Sir Peter Hall, and Herbert Kellner is stage director, with sets and costumes by John Bury and lighting by Duane Schuler.
The Dr. and Mrs. Edwin J. DeCosta and the Walter E. Heller Foundation Production. Revival made possible by Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross.
Lyric Opera has presented Le nozze di Figaro eight times previously since 1957, most recently during the 2003-04 season. “Mozart’s sublimely human comedy will return in our witty and elegant Sir Peter Hall production,” says Mason. “We’re thrilled by this season’s truly all-star cast, headed by Mariusz Kwiecien, who triumphed as Eugene Onegin here last year; Danielle de Niese, our dazzling Cleopatra last season; Anne Schwanewilms, luminous as Strauss’s Marschallin a few seasons ago; the vibrant young bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen; and of course, Joyce DiDonato, one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos – what a marvelous way to end the season!”
BIOGRAPHIES OF DEBUTING PRINCIPAL ARTISTS, 2009/10 SEASON
VIOLETA URMANA (Tosca/January) – Lithuanian soprano; has starred as Tosca at Covent Garden, also Vienna, Florence, Los Angeles; internationally celebrated in many demanding dramatic-soprano roles; had a highly successful international career in mezzo repertoire before making the transition to soprano as Sieglinde/Die Walküre at Bayreuth (2001), followed by the title role/Iphigénie en Aulide at La Scala (2002); has triumphed since then as Maddalena/Andrea Chénier (Vienna, Met), Lady Macbeth/Macbeth (La Scala), Kundry/Parsifal (Munich), Isolde (Rome, later on tour to Japan with the Opéra National de Paris), Gioconda (Covent Garden, Met), Ariadne (Met), Norma (Dresden), Aida (La Scala), Amelia/Un ballo in maschera (Florence, Madrid), Leonora/La forza del destino (Florence, Covent Garden), Elisabetta/Don Carlo ( Turin, Florence); among her many recordings are La Gioconda, Oberto, Il trovatore, Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre, song cycles of Mahler, and the Verdi Requiem, with conductors including Pappano, Marriner, Abbado, Conlon, and Boulez; appears on DVD in Cavalleria rusticana (Madrid), Don Carlo (Amsterdam), Aida (La Scala); 2002 recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award; future plans include Ariadne (Berlin), Lady Macbeth (Paris), and Aida (Vienna).
MARCO BERTI (Cavaradossi/January) – Italian tenor; has sung this opera at the Vienna Staatsoper; stars in leading roles of the Italian and French repertoire in many of the world’s most prestigious houses; Metropolitan Opera debut in Madama Butterfly (2004), appeared in the company’s 2005 season-opening gala singing Cavaradossi opposite Gheorghiu and Terfel; made his international breakthrough in Macbeth at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival; subsequently debuted at Covent Garden in Simon Boccanegra, returned for a new Madama Butterfly and his role debut as Manrico/Il trovatore; has earned great successes at the Verona Arena, including Don José/Carmen (DVD), Manrico, Ismaele/Nabucco, and role debuts as Enzo/La Gioconda (CD) and Radamès/Aida; other major engagements include his Chinese debut (2006 New Year Concert at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People) and appearances with the opera companies of Houston, Los Angeles, Berlin, Parma, and Athens.
STEPHEN LORD (Conductor/January) – American; recently chosen by Opera News as one of four conductors cited among the “25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera”; has led more than 20 works at both Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (where he is currently music director) and Boston Lyric Opera (where he formerly held the same title); current season includes La traviata (Portland), Madama Butterfly (Denver), Macbeth (Montreal), The Elixir of Love (Detroit); last season conducted works of Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, and Offenbach, at Opera Colorado, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Boston Lyric Opera, while also leading the Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals concert; last summer led a concert Candide for Wolf Trap Opera; other recent highlights include debuts with San Francisco Opera (Rigoletto) and The Dallas Opera (La rondine), Un ballo in maschera and Le nozze di Figaro in Boston, and I Puritani in St. Louis; future plans include The Merry Widow (London’s English National Opera); has also appeared at the New York City Opera and the major companies of Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Cleveland; has conducted “Rising Stars in Concert” for the Ryan Opera center at Lyric Opera.
PIOTR BECZALA (Faust) – Polish tenor; earned much praise in 2008 role debuts at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin (Riccardo/Un ballo in maschera) and the Salzburg Festival (Prince/Rusalka); has scored notable successes in company debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper; has also been heard at the Vienna Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Covent Garden, the Zurich Opera House, and San Francisco Opera, singing leading-tenor roles of Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Gounod, Massenet, and Tchaikovsky; the current season’s highlights include his return to the Met (Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, Eugene Onegin), San Francisco (La bohème), Berlin (Ballo), Zurich (Rigoletto, Traviata); will also make his role and company debut in La damnation de Faust at Madrid’s Teatro Real; has also been heard with the opera companies of Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Hamburg, Geneva, and Warsaw, as well as the Vienna, Graz, Bad Kissingen, Lucerne, and Montpellier festivals; most recent addition to his large discography, “Salut” (recital of French and Italian arias), was released in 2008; appears in seven operas on DVD from productions originating in Zurich, Salzburg, and Paris.
JANE BUNNELL (Marthe) – American mezzo-soprano; beginning with Annio/La clemenza di Tito (1991), has sung more than 30 roles at the Metropolitan Opera, among them Cherubino and Dorabella, also Rosina, Nicklausse (opposite Plácido Domingo’s Hoffmann), Hansel, Emilia/Otello (live PBS telecast), and Hermia/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (company premiere); numerous major appearances abroad, including the title role/Der Rosenkavalier (Bonn, Toulouse), Rosina (Vienna), Ramiro/La finta giardiniera (Cologne), Lucilla/La scala di seta (Schwetzingen Festival, released on video), Auntie/Peter Grimes (Florence’s Teatro Comunale, Japan’s Saito Kinen Festival); appearances with major orchestras include Mary/Der fliegende Holländer with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine; has appeared at Houston Grand Opera (Hansel and Gretel, Smeaton/Anna Bolena with Dame Joan Sutherland), New York City Opera, Opera Pacific, and the major companies of Dallas, the Twin Cities, Seattle, Kansas City, and Miami; has been a guest artist for Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and with the Baltimore, Houston, Minnesota, and Atlanta symphony orchestras; can be heard with Met forces on DVD in Otello and on CD in Don Carlo and Parsifal.
GIACOMO PRESTIA (Silva) – Italian bass; has also sung this role at Turin’s Teatro Regio; began his career by winning several prestigious international competitions, including the Concorso Internazionale Voci Verdiane in Busseto and the Pavarotti Competition in Philadelphia; has appeared in leading bass roles at La Scala and the major houses of Bologna, Florence, Naples, Paris, Vienna, Zurich, Madrid, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires; has also performed with the Berlin Philharmonic; has worked with such prominent conductors as Abbado, Mehta, Muti, Prêtre, and Gatti; recent highlights include Don Carlos (original French version), Lucia di Lammermoor, and Norma (all in Barcelona), Anna Bolena (Palermo), La forza del destino (Genoa), Nabucco (Vienna, Munich), and the Requiems of Verdi (Bologna, Cagliari) and Dvoøák (Berlin Philharmonic); future plans include Norma in Trieste, Ernani in Piacenza, Aida in Munich; can be heard on CD in Ernani (Parma) and seen on DVD as Fiesco/Simon Boccanegra (Bologna).
BRANDON JOVANOVICH (Boris) – American tenor; winner of the 2007 Richard Tucker Award and 2004 ARIA Award; made highly successful U.K. debut last summer at Glyndebourne as Don José/Carmen; current season includes company debuts in Cavalleria rusticana (Houston Grand Opera), Carmen (Washington National Opera), and Walter Braunfels’s Die Vögel (Los Angeles Opera), as well as role debut as Peter Grimes (Naples’s Teatro San Carlo); this season also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (St. Louis Symphony); recent successes include Tosca (Bregenz Festival, Seattle, Bordeaux), Macbeth (Dallas), Cavalleria rusticana (Dallas, New York City Opera), Levin/Anna Karenina (world premiere in Miami, reprised in St. Louis), his first Prince/Rusalka (Minnesota Opera), critically acclaimed San Francisco Opera debut as Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly (also heard in Stuttgart), Sergei/Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Austin), and title roles/Candide (Naples), Werther (Lille), and Les contes d’Hoffmann (La Scala); can be heard on CD as Boconnion/Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur, Gaussin/Massenet’s Sapho, and Phillippe l’Entendu/Romberg’s The New Moon; can be heard as Cavaradossi/Tosca in the lastest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
LIORA GRODNIKAITE (Varvara) – Lithuanian mezzo-soprano; graduated from the Lithuanian Music Academy and the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (Ohio); following her participation in major young-artist programs in America (those of The Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Opera North), returned to Europe to join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House/Covent Garden; returned for another season as a Jette Parker Principal Artist; since concluding her tenure with the program, her repertoire has expanded to include Flosshilde/Götterdämmerung (BBC Symphony Orchestra), Carmen (Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, Latvian National Opera, Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro Municipal), Jocasta/ Oedipus Rex (Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira), title role/Holst’s Savitri (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil), Second Lady/Die Zauberflöte and the Fiancée/Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness (both at the Royal Opera), Fox/ The Little Prince (Lithuanian National Opera), and the title role/Cendrillon (London’s Chelsea Opera Group); future engagements include Isaura/Tancredi (Theater an der Wien), Siébel/Faust and Pauline/The Queen of Spades (New Israeli Opera), Charlotte/Werther and Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” (Bologna’s Teatro Comunale).
GARRETT SORENSON (Kudrjas) – American tenor; recent successes include Alfredo/La traviata at Boston Lyric Opera, Leukippos/Daphne at Santa Fe Opera, the Singer/Der Rosenkavalier at Los Angeles Opera, and Sam/Street Scene and title role/Les contes d’Hoffmann , both at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program; Met debut in 2002 as Itulbo/Bellini’s Il pirata (company premiere) in a new production with Renée Fleming and Marcello Giordani; current season includes his 12th role with the Met, Froh/Das Rheingold under James Levine, also his first Duke/Rigoletto (Arizona Opera), title role/Werther (Kentucky Opera), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, including concert at Carnegie Hall, also same work with Pacific Symphony), concert version of Simon Boccanegra (Boston Symphony Orchestra under Levine), and Handel’s Messsiah (Omaha Symphony); has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra, and in recital under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation; winner of the George London Foundation Competition, Sara Tucker Study Grant, and Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant.
JASON COLLINS (Tichon) – American tenor; recent debuts include San Francisco Opera (Froh/Das Rheingold), Canadian Opera Company (Comte de Lerme/Don Carlos), Seattle Opera (Steersman/Der fliegende Holländer), Arizona Opera (Erik/Der fliegende Holländer), Kentucky Opera (Lensky/Eugene Onegin), and Austin Lyric Opera (Zinovy/Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk); has also appeared with Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the Bard Festival; recent successes in concert include Das Lied von der Erde with Sir Andrew Davis and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; has sung Narraboth/Salome with the National Symphony Orchestra, Schubert’s Tantum ergo and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Pacific Symphony, Das Paradies und die Peri with the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Handel’s Messiah with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and concerts at New York’s State Theater and Alice Tully Hall; can be heard on CD in Robert Kurka’s The Good Soldier Schweik (Chicago Opera Theater production, Cedille Records); recipient of the 2007 Richard Tucker Career Grant; alumnus of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and Pittsburgh Opera Center.
MARKUS STENZ (Conductor) – German; general music director of the Cologne Opera; has led productions at the Teatro La Fenice, La Monnaie (Brussels), English National Opera, the Salzburg and Glyndebourne festivals, San Francisco Opera, and Los Angeles Opera; work in contemporary opera encompasses works by Hans Werner Henze, including Das verratene Meer (world premiere in Berlin, Italian premiere at La Scala, American premiere at San Francisco Opera) and Venus und Adonis (world premiere, Munich); formerly served as music director of the Montepulciano Festival, principal conductor of London Sinfonietta, principal conductor and artistic director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; in Germany has appeared with the leading orchestras and with the Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt opera companies; closely associated with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; has led the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and several important Scandinavian ensembles, the BBC Symphony and Hallé orchestras, and the major orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Houston; recordings include Kurt Weill’s Der Silbersee (BMG label).
JONATHAN MILLER (Original Production) – English; initial career was as a doctor and neurologist, has since made a significant impact as an author, lecturer, television producer and presenter, and director of opera, theater, and film; gained early fame as performer and co-author (with Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, and Dudley Moore) of Beyond the Fringe , the now-legendary satirical revue that triumphed in Edinburgh, London, and on Broadway; has directed for every important British theater company; former artistic director of the Old Vic; longtime contributor to the BBC and independent television; operatic debut with Alexander Goehr’s Arden Must Die (1974, British premiere); then spent several seasons working closely with Kent Opera, subsequently with English National Opera, where his most enduring successes include The Marriage of Figaro, The Turn of the Screw, Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, The Mikado, and Rigoletto; has directed at Covent Garden, La Scala, and the major houses of Florence, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Stockholm, also the Salzburg and Mostly Mozart festivals; recent productions include Jenùfa (Glimmerglass Opera), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Brooklyn Academy of Music), The Elixir of Love (New York City Opera), Don Giovanni (Valencia), Der Rosenkavalier (Tokyo), and Fidelio (Aarhus, Denmark).
The Merry Widow
STEPHEN COSTELLO (Camille de Rosillon) – American tenor; has also sung this role at The Dallas Opera; attracted international attention in the Met’s 2007-08 opening-night production of Lucia di Lammermoor, debuting as Arturo and later singing the leading role of Edgardo; has recently been heard as the Duke/Rigoletto (Deutsche Oper Berlin), Cassio/Otello (Salzburg Festival under Muti); 2007-08 engagements also included his return to London for a recital (with soprano Ailyn Pérez for the prestigious Rosenblatt Series), Christian/David DiChiera’s Cyrano (Opera Company of Philadelphia), Roméo/Roméo et Juliette (Baltimore Opera); future plans include his Covent Garden debut, return engagements at the Met and the Deutsche Oper, the title role/Roberto Devereux at The Dallas Opera, and Edgardo with the Opéra de Montréal; will star as Ishmael/Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick (world premiere, Dallas, 2010); made professional stage debut as Rodolfo/La bohème with Fort Worth Opera (2006), his European debut the same year with the Opéra National de Bordeaux as Nemorino/The Elixir of Love; shortly thereafter debuted at The Dallas Opera (Leicester/Maria Stuarda ) and Opera Orchestra of New York (Fisherman/Guillaume Tell).
GARY GRIFFIN (Stage Director) – American; associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where he has directed Passion, A Flea in Her Ear, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, The Herbal Bed, Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet; Broadway directing credits include The Color Purple (11 Tony nominations, including Best Musical – also directed this production’s national tour) and The Apple Tree (Tony nomination for Best Musical Revival); off-Broadway credits include Saved (Playwrights Horizons), The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English, The New Moon (all for the Encores series), and Beautiful Thing; London credits include Pacific Overtures at Donmar Warehouse (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production, Olivier Award nomination for Best Director); regional credits include work with the Old Globe, Alliance Theatre, Signature Theatre, and Hartford Stage; Chicago credits include work with Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Pegasus Players, and Famous Door Theatre; has received eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing.
The Elixir of Love
GIUSEPPE FILIANOTI (Nemorino/Jan. 23-Feb. 5) – Italian tenor; has sung this role at the Metropolitan Opera (where he also starred as Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor), Barcelona, Toulouse, and Vienna; Edgardo has also been a success for him in Turin, Barcelona, Palermo, and San Francisco; appears regularly at La Scala and has won acclaim in Rome, Florence, London (Covent Garden), and at Pesaro’s Rossini Opera Festival; among his most memorable roles are Alfredo/La traviata (Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona, Zurich, Tokyo), title role/Faust (Berlin), Duke/Rigoletto (Barcelona, Lausanne), Fernand/La favorite (Bologna, Genoa, Las Palmas), Flamand/Capriccio (Cagliari), tenor soloist/Verdi’s Requiem (London’s Royal Albert Hall), Federico/L’arlesiana (Carnegie Hall), title role/Werther (Genoa, Las Palmas), Ruggero/La rondine (Paris’s Châtelet), title roles/Idomeneo and Les contes d’Hoffmann (Hamburg), title role/La clemenza di Tito (Turin), and title role/The Rake’s Progress (Palermo); discography includes such rarities as Giuseppe Sarti’s Giulio Sabino, Rossini’s Tancredi (live from Pesaro), and Donizetti’s Dom Sébastien; appears on DVD in La traviata, Mefistofele, and Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon; winner of coveted Abbiati Italian Critics’ Prize as Best Singer of the Year (2004).
GABRIELE VIVIANI (Belcore) – Italian baritone; has previously sung this role at the Teatro Comunale (Bologna); first attracted attention as winner of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari Mozart Competition and the Mascagni Prize of the Cascina Lirica Competition; as a result of winning a special prize and scholarship at Treviso’s Toti dal Monte Competition, he debuted as Valentin/Faust under the baton of Peter Maag; since then he has developed an impressive international career in many leading roles of the Italian and French repertoire as Enrico/Lucia di Lammermoor (San Francisco, Rome, Palermo, Cagliari, Tokyo, Lausanne), Marcello/La bohème (Vienna, Genoa, Verona Arena, Torre del Lago Puccini Festival), Paolo/Simon Boccanegra (Genoa), Sharpless/Madama Butterfly (La Scala, Genoa, Tokyo), Alphonse/La favorite (Genoa), Riccardo/I puritani (Vienna); future plans include The Elixir of Love (La Scala), La bohème (Covent Garden), Falstaff (Buenos Aires), Faust (Valencia), and Lucia di Lammemoor (Parma).
The Damnation of Faust
JOHN RELYEA (Méphistophélès) – Canadian bass-baritone; his current season includes this role in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera, where he also sings Alidoro/La Cenerentola; recent Met successes also include I Puritani (DVD) and new productions of Macbeth, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rodelinda; this season marks his return to Seattle Opera (Bluebeard’s Castle); has also appeared at Covent Garden (The Rake’s Progress), with the Paris, Munich, and Vienna opera companies, and at San Francisco Opera, where he is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program and a former Adler Fellow; has been featured in concerts with the major orchestras of Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Montreal, London, and Berlin, among many others – and at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Blossom, Vail, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Lanaudière, and Mostly Mozart festivals, as well as at the BBC Proms; has recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 under Sir Simon Rattle and Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras, both for EMI; other DVD appearances include the Met’s Don Giovanni and Die Meistersinger; winner of the 2003 Richard Tucker Award.
STEPHEN LANGRIDGE (Stage Director) – English; spent several years as assistant director for the cutting-edge company, Opera Factory, while developing his own work, often in unconventional spaces; spends time each year creating new work with integrated groups of disabled and non-disabled people, and also directing opera at some of the most prestigious European houses; recent work includes Otello (Salzburg Festival, Rome Opera), Birtwistle’s The Minotaur (world premiere, Covent Garden), Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie (National Reisopera in The Netherlands); among other productions are Salome (Malmö), Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice (Athens), Offenbach’s Bluebeard (Bregenz Festival), John Lunn’s Tangier Tattoo (Glyndebourne), Birtwistle’s The Io Passion (Aldeburgh Festival, Almeida Opera, Bregenz Festival), Handel’s Semele (Buxton Festival) and Giulio Cesare (Opéra National de Bordeaux); well known for his education, development, and training work (projects in France, Spain, Germany, Finland, Holland, Sweden, Senegal, South Africa, and throughout the UK), and for productions in unusual settings, including Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) and West Side Story cast with prisoners in British high-security prisons, and Ngoma, a multi-racial music and theater project in South African townships.
The Marriage of Figaro
DIANA MONTAGUE (Marcellina) – English mezzo-soprano; has recorded this opera and earned critical praise for it at Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, and English National Opera; one of Britain’s most distinguished singers, has performed major roles at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals, La Monnaie (Brussels), and Opéra National de Paris; has triumphed especially in works of Gluck, Mozart, Rossini, Berlioz, Strauss, and Britten; among her greatest successes have been Benvenuto Cellini (Rome), Iphigénie en Tauride (Madrid, Lyon, Welsh National Opera), Albert Herring, Le nozze di Figaro, Ermione, and The Bartered Bride (all at Glyndebourne), Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Amsterdam), La clemenza di Tito (Madrid, Athens), La Damnation de Faust (Geneva), Handel’s Susannah (with Sir Andrew Davis and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment), Der Rosenkavalier (English National Opera), and Eugene Onegin (Covent Garden); her large discography includes the title role/Iphigénie en Tauride and Romeo/I Capuleti e i Montecchi, also Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Cunning Little Vixen, Idomeneo, Le Comte Ory, Der Rosenkavalier, and two aria recitals for the Chandos label.
EDWARD GARDNER (Conductor) – British; widely regarded as one of the most gifted British musicians of his generation; music director of English National Opera, where his highly successful first season (2007/08) earned him the Royal Philharmonic Society Conductor Award; has led performances at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (he is also former music director of Glyndebourne On Tour) and the Opéra National de Paris (where he has returned each season since his 2004/05 debut); debuted with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the 2005 Aldeburgh Festival, and has reappeared with that ensemble each season, including his recent “Proms Concerts” debut; debuted at the Edinburgh International Festival with the UK premiere of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer; a regular guest conductor at the Hállé, Philharmonia, and City of Birmingham orchestras; future plans include debuts at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera, and Milan’s La Scala, as well as with the Bamberg, Gothenburg, St. Louis, NHK, and Houston symphony orchestras; has recorded for EMI with trumpeter Alison Balsom (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra) and soprano Kate Royal (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields).
Evening performances of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2009/10 season begin at 7:30 p.m. sharp except for Opening Night (6 p.m.). Matinee performances begin at 2:00 p.m. sharp. Latecomers will not be seated until intermission.
Call 312-332-2244, ext. 5600 to purchase tickets, or go to www.lyricopera.org. Also available on Lyric’s website is a 15-minute season preview with commentary and musical excerpts from each opera, which can be downloaded.