CHICAGO – Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, today issued the following statement regarding the death of renowned stage designer Johan Engels:
“We are shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic passing of Johan Engels. We mourn with the rest of the international performing arts community, which has lost one of its brightest lights, and send our sincerest sympathies to his family.
“Johan was an incredible artist who made a tremendous impact at Lyric in just a few short seasons. His designs for last season’s Parsifal took our breath away. His complete commitment to Weinberg’s The Passenger, which will have its Chicago premiere in February, helped bring that work to vivid life. We will dedicate our upcoming performances of this work to his memory.
“Johan recently completed the set designs for our upcoming Ring cycle. Despite this devastating loss, our plans to produce Wagner’s Ring cycle, starting in the 2016-17 season, remain in place.”
Founded in 1954, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.
Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.
Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become the great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.