Category: lyric

Lyric Treats Show Boat like an Opera, Wins

There’s this awkward conversational pas-de-deux that happens between me and musical theater people. We’re all musicians but have very little shared repertoire to talk about. It’s an age-old “high art” versus “low art” rift that forces every work to one side or the other, allowing audiences to self-segregate themselves by the  highness of their brow.... Read more »

Every Opera is a Love Story: Lyric wins with Aida

The architectonic forces of the world drift unwittingly as people get crushed down below. In Verdi’s Aida, those forces are two nations’ armies whose geopolitical maneuverings trap and [spoiler alert] entomb Aida and her lover Radames in a love triangle of doom. Lyric Opera’s current production continues this season’s conservative direction: classic, sure-fire operas done... Read more »

rvw: Bewitching 'Magic Flute' at Lyric

Like Shakespeare and Disney, Mozart operas always manage to walk the line between high-brow sophistication and juvenile comedy. The Magic Flute is a prime example. A fairy tale of a plot, the opera imparts wisdom and noble truths while tickling the funny bone of young and old. Summary: feminine irrationality is the darkness into which... Read more »
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rvw: Ariadne at Lyric

Sometimes the play within a play is the play. Or, in the case of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, the opera within the opera. Let’s start with the play. Strauss’s 1912 opera was originally conceived as the postlude to a play, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière. It’s a play in which a middle class guy, the... Read more »

rvw: Glorious Boris at Lyric

While the serfs suffered and the boyars bayed, Boris Fyodorovich Godunov, the Czar of Russia, wallowed in grief. Pushkin dramatized this moment in Russian history into a play, Borris Godunov, which Modest Mussorgsky turned into an opera, currently in production at the Lyric Opera. The dazzling spectacle transports the audience back 400 years to a turbulent... Read more »

Rvw: Lyric's Hoffmann: Comme Ci, Comme Ça

I went into Tales of Hoffmann with low expectations and was not disappointed. Pessimistically comical and misogynistic, Lyric Opera chose the final opera from German/French operetta (and Can Can) composer Jacques Offenbach to open their season; If I were God I might have buried it somewhere in the middle. A Prologue introduces Hoffmann, a poet,... Read more »
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Lohengrin at Lyric: Over the Top of the Top

Just when you thought all opera was epic and over-the-top, there’s Wagner: epically epic and over the top of the top. He’s like the Kanye West of opera. While Puccini chose contemporary subjects, elevating the mundane to legend, Wanger goes right for the jugular, choosing subjects that are so ancient that they almost seem to... Read more »

Culling the Reviews: Girl of the Golden West

Andrew Patner (Sun Times): “Highly Recommended” ; “When given the cast and production of Saturday night’s opening at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the fervent and penetrating performance that Andrew Davis led from the Lyric Orchestra, the result is a not-to-be-missed presentation at the Civic Opera House.”  Full review. Chicago Classical Review (Lawrence A Johnson):... Read more »

Golden Girl at Lyric - review

Stravinsky said that we should not learn to respect music but to love it.  So far, the current season at the Lyric Opera has induced more of the former in me: I’m glad I saw Verdi’s Macbeth but don’t need to see it again.  Their current production, The Girl of the Golden West, however, I... Read more »
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rvw: Ballo at Lyric

photos by Dan Rest
Passion, betrayal, and hubris abound in Lyric‘s production of Un ballo in maschera, effectively mixed and stewed by conductor Asher Fisch into a potent cocktail. After last season’s production of Ernani (1844), I swore off Verdi’s early operas.  And, yet I was coaxed back to see Macbeth (1847) at the beginning of this season, which was more musically... Read more »