CHICAGO (3/14/2023) Lyric Opera of Chicago, led by General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud and Music Director Enrique Mazzola, today announces the company's 2023/24 Season, which takes audiences on a global tour of opera featuring a richly curated slate of musical events in six different languages.
The company's 69th season opens with Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola, who leads his first Wagner opera at Lyric. Directed by Christopher Alden, the production stars Tomasz Konieczny in the title role, Lyric favorite Tamara Wilson as Senta, and Robert Watson in his Lyric debut as Erik.
The season continues with a pair of operas offering contrasting emotional approaches to experiencing Lyric's signature world-class vocalism. One of opera's most delightful comedies, Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment back on the Lyric stage for the first time in 50 years features the return of Lawrence Brownlee to Lyric as Tonio and the long-awaited Lyric debut of Lisette Oropesa as Marie. The iconic Laurent Pelly production is revived by Christian Rath and conducted by Speranza Scappucci both in their Lyric debut.
In repertory with the lighthearted Donizetti is one of opera's most intense dramas, Janacek's Jenufa, starring two of the world's most sensational sopranos: Lise Davidsen in the title role for her Lyric debut and Nina Stemme in her return to Lyric as the Kostelnicka, Jenufa's stepmother. The production is conducted by Jakub Hrusa, the celebrated music director designate of London's Royal Opera House and one of the world's foremost experts in the Czech repertoire, and is directed by Claus Guth, both in their Lyric debuts.
Winter brings another diverse pairing of operas to the Lyric stage. The witty and heartwarming comedy of Rossini's Cinderella features the Lyric debuts of Vasilisa Berzhanskaya as Angelina and Jack Swanson as Ramiro, alongside returning favorites Alessandro Corbelli as Don Magnifico and Joshua Hopkins as Dandini. Conductor Yi-Chen Lin makes her Lyric debut, and the classic production of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle is revived by Crystal Manich, also in her Lyric debut.
In repertory with Cinderella is Champion, the "opera in jazz" who composed Terence Blanchard (last season's hit Fire Shut Up in My Bones) and librettist Michael Cristofer. Champion tells the true story of Emile Griffith, a professional boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands who threw a fatal punch in the boxing ring in 1962 after being taunted for his sexuality by his rival. Eric Owens is the older Emile, Justin Austin is Young Emile, and Whitney Morrison, an alumna of Lyric's Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center artist-development program, co-stars as Emelda Griffith, Emile's mother. Music Director Enrique Mazzola conducts his first contemporary opera at Lyric, and James Robinson directs this new Lyric coproduction with the Metropolitan Opera.
The season continues with Verdi's majestically scaled but intimate love story Aida, conducted by Music Director Enrique Mazzola. Michelle Bradley and Russell Thomas, the star-crossed lovers of last season's Tosca, reunite as Aida and Radamès, another of opera's famously doomed couples. Aida also heralds the return to Lyric of Jamie Barton as Amneris. The production, directed by Francesca Zambello, has designs by the contemporary visual artist RETNA, whose work uses calligraphy, hieroglyphics, and bold colors to evoke a mythic past with a contemporary edge. RETNA's mural work can be seen locally in Chicago on the south wall of 33 East Congress, part of the Wabash Arts Corridor. Aida also features the Lyric debut of renowned modern dance choreographer Jessica Lang.
Within his run of Aida performances, Music Director Enrique Mazzola also leads two special performances of Mozart's Requiem, a beloved masterpiece that puts the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra center stage. The soloists for these performances will be announced in the coming months.
To commemorate the 2023/24 Season, musical theater's biggest star will headline Lyric's Season Opening Gala: An Evening with Audra McDonald on Friday, October 6, 2023. Andy Einhorn conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra in an evening celebrating McDonald's unique interpretive talents in a variety of song styles.
"Opera is at a very challenging moment, and I am proud of how our entire company is rising to that challenge every day. Despite the painful new economic realities of producing grand opera, Lyric will present a varied and compelling 2023/24 Season that keeps our main pillars front and center: presenting the best singers in the world, bringing exciting and thought-provoking large-scale productions to the stage, and offering fresh contemporary perspectives that point to the future of our beloved art form," says Freud. "We are keeping our carefully built pipelines strong both in terms of the artists we continue to mentor in our recently expanded Ryan Opera Center, and the new operas by new creators we continue to commission, workshop, and produce. We have a robust and responsible growth plan in place, and as evidenced by our 2023/34 Season artistic excellence will continue to be our guiding principle as we work to find the right balance between market demand and diversity of productions and the number of them on offer in each season."
"I am excited to be conducting such a profoundly diverse repertoire at Lyric next season: Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, and the brilliant Terence Blanchard, whose opera Champion is part of Lyric's ongoing commitment to new works," says Mazzola. "Stay tuned for ongoing news about the other new and recent operas Lyric will be commissioning and producing across future seasons. This is constant, essential work for the company and includes important pieces like Omar by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, The Listeners and Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, and the world premieres of the Lyric commissions of Safronia by avery r. young and H of H Playbook by Bryce Dessner and Anne Carson. Lyric is committed to remaining at the center of exploration and innovation in opera for many years to come."
For more information on Lyric's 2023/24 Season, visit lyricopera.org/newseason .
Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2023/24 Season Schedule
The Flying Dutchman, September 23October 7, 2023
Season Opening Gala: An Evening with Audra McDonald, October 6, 2023
The Daughter of the Regiment, November 425, 2023
Jenufa, November 1226, 2023
Cinderella, January 21February 10, 2024
Champion, January 27February 11, 2024
Aida, March 9April 7, 2024
Mozart's Requiem, March 22 & 24, 2024