- Andrew Cioffi/Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Lyric’s Anthony Freud, Andrew Davis, and via Skype, Renee Fleming, who’s about to debut at the Super Bowl
Earlier this week Lyric Opera revealed its 2014-2015 “Diamond Anniversary” season of eight operas, a musical, and other special events. General director Anthony Freud and music director Andrew Davis presided over the announcement at the Civic Opera House in the flesh, flanked, at various points, by a slightly pixilated version of creative consultant Renee Fleming on twin screens, via Skype.
Fleming said we should wish her luck at the Super Bowl, where she’ll be singing the national anthem. It’s the first time an opera singer has been asked to do it at the big event, she said, and it’s harder than she thought it would be. Besides the two-octave spread, there’s the text that nobody who learned it by rote as a child has ever really thought about.
Fleming’s on tap for Richard Strauss’s Capriccio at Lyric next October, but before that, on September 27, the season will open with Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which was also the season opener when Lyric launched, in 1954. This one will have Ana Maria Martinez as Donna Elvira, but here’s what caught my eye: Goodman Theatre’s Robert Falls will direct.
Outstanding Ryan Training Center alum Amber Wagner will return in two operas: Verdi’s Il Trovatore, which will also feature opera-world powerhouse Stephanie Blythe (what an abundance of riches that promises to be), and Wagner’s Tannhäuser.
Tatiana Serjan, brought to Chicago last fall by Riccardo Muti for a knock-’em-dead performance with the CSO in Verdi’s Macbeth, will have the title role in a new production of Puccini’s Tosca.
Polish-born Soviet composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s suppressed Holocaust opera The Passenger— written in 1968 but not performed until 2010—will have its Lyric premiere, with a cast that includes Daveda Karanas and Brandon Jovanovich.
The divine Denyce Graves will be Nettie Fowler in the postseason musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel.
And best of all: the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess—which Freud said sold more tickets when Lyric did it five years ago than any other regular-season production in the company’s history—is being remounted with a mostly new cast, including Eric Owens as Porgy, Adina Aaron as Bess, and Eric Greene as Crown.
There’s also a family opera for kids ages five to ten, The Magic Victrola; and a new mariachi opera, José “Pepe” Martínez’s El Pasado Nunca Se Termina. Check out the rest of what looks to me like a very good season here.