The last time Verdi's
opened a Lyric season was back in 2001, when Peter Hall's production was seen here for the first time. This time around, the moor of Venice will be sung by Johan Botha, on view here this month and next as Walther in Wagner's “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.” Desdemona is Ana Maria Martinez, Mimi in this month's performances of Puccini's “La Boheme.” Iago will be sung by Falk Struckmann. French conductor Bertrand de Billy will make his house debut in the pit, with Ashley Dean directing the revival. Eight performances,
Oct. 5-Nov. 2.
English director Michael Grandage's production of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" hails from the Houston Grand Opera, where it was commissioned by Freud during his tenure there as general director. The leading roles will be double-cast, with Amanda Echalaz (debut) and Patricia Racette sharing the role of Cio-Cio-San, and James Valenti and Stefano Secco alternating, in house debuts, as Pinkerton. The conductor will be another Lyric first-timer, Marco Armiliato, with Louisa Muller directing. The production, with sets and costumes by Christopher Oram, runs for 11 performances, Oct. 15-30 and Jan. 11-26.
Lyric's final contribution to this year's Wagner celebration will be "Parsifal," the German master's final stage work The new production by director John Caird (debut) will be designed by Johan Engels (debut). Paul Groves will assume the title role, with Thomas Hampson as Amfortas, and Daveda Karanas and Kwangchoul Youn making company debuts as Kundry and Gurnemanz, respectively. Tomas Tomasson will portray Klingsor. Andrew Davis is the conductor. Six performances, Nov. 9-29.
Another new production will be Verdi's “La Traviata,” to be staged by Arin Arbus, associate artistic director of New York's Theatre for a New Audience, in her Lyric debut. Violetta is to be sung by the Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka, also new to the roster. Germont pere et fils will be portrayed by Quinn Kelsey and Joseph Calleja, respectively. Massimo Zanetti conducts. Lyric is sharing production costs with Houston Grand Opera and Canadian Opera. Ten performances, Nov. 20-Dec. 20.
Lyric will bridge the December holidays and start of the new year with Johann Strauss Jr.'s most popular operetta, "Die Fledermaus." Ward Stare will pace the San Francisco Opera production, with staging by E. Loren Meeker (debut). The international roster includes Bo Skovhus and Juliane Banse (debut) as the Eisensteins, Daniela Fally (debut) as Adele, Michael Spyres as Alfred, and Emily Fons as Orlovsky. The show will be sung in the original German. Nine performances, Dec. 10-Jan. 18.
Rossini's evergreen comedy, "The Barber of Seville," returns to the Lyric in a new production marking the house debuts of Isabel Leonard as Rosina, conductor Michele Mariotti and Broadway choreographer-turned-director Rob Ashford. Other principal singers are Nathan Gunn as Figaro, Alek Shrader as Almaviva, Alessandro Corbelli as Bartolo and Kyle Ketelsen as Basilio. Ten performances, Feb. 1-28.
New to the Lyric repertory will be Dvorak's “Rusalka,” a musically ravishing tale of a water nymph (Ana Maria Martinez, in her second role of the season) who falls in love with a mortal prince (Brandon Jovanovich), to the peril of both. Jill Grove,
David McVicar doubles as director and set designer for Mozart's “La Clemenza di Tito,” a new-to-Chicago production from