CHICAGO – On Saturday, September 26, elegantly dressed guests will make their red-carpet entrances amidst the paparazzi and onlookers at the Civic Opera House. It’s the opening night of Mozart’s comic masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro, which launches Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 61st season. Doors open at 4pm and the performance begins at 5pm, concluding after 8:30pm, with Opera Ball immediately following performance at 9pm.
“The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer will be beautifully transformed for the Opening Night Gala,” says William P. Heffernan, creative director of the event design firm Heffernan Morgan Ronsley. “The towering space will be filled with enormous displays of magnolia foliage in the grand tradition. The decor of the Graham Room will feature large creations of magnificently displayed green boxwood.”
Mrs. A. Steven Crown (Nancy/Winnetka) and Mrs. King Harris (Caryn/Chicago) are co-chairs for the Opening Night Gala Performance and Opera Ball. The Opening Night Gala is sponsored by Aon Corporation for the 31st consecutive year.
Mozart’s wise and witty comedy, The Marriage of Figaro, will be conducted by Henrik Nánási (debut) in a brand new production by renowned director Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Adam Plachetka and Christiane Karg (both Lyric debuts) are the determined newlyweds Figaro and Susanna, with Luca Pisaroni as the restless, rakish Count Almaviva, Amanda Majeski as his heartsick Countess, Rachel Frenkel (debut) as the love struck teenager Cherubino, Katharine Goeldner asMarcellina, the housekeeper who thinks she should marry Figaro, Brindley Sherratt (debut) as Dr. Bartolo, still seething that Figaro thwarted his plan to marry Rosina (now the Countess), and Keith Jameson as meddlesome music teacher Basilio. Production designers are James Noone (sets), Susan Mickey (costumes/Lyric debut), and Robert Wierzel (lighting). Michael Black is chorus master, and Harrison McEldowney is choreographer. Nine performances Sept. 26-Oct. 24, in Italian with projected English texts.
The new Lyric Opera production of The Marriage of Figaro is generously made possible by The Negaunee Foundation,,the Abbott Fund, Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, Exelon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.,and Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel.
The opening-night performance of The Marriage of Figaro can be heard live locally on 98.7WFMT and globally on wfmt.com, beginning at 4:45pm. The Lyric Opera of Chicago Broadcasts are generously sponsored by The Hurvis Family Foundation with matching funding provided by The Matthew Bucksbaum Family, The John and Jackie Bucksbaum Family,and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart.
“Barbara is the perfect director for Figaro – she has the lightness of touch and sense of fun, and through comedy she’ll really get to the humanity of the piece,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “She has created a whimsical 18th-century world that isn’t historically accurate in every way but is rooted in the 18th century with lightness, wit, and imagination. This will be a very glamorous production, with a sexy cast of impressive artists.”
Tickets for all performances of The Marriage of Figaro including Opening Nightstartat $20 for children and $49 for adults. For reservations and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to lyricopera.org. New this year is, individual Opera Ball reservations for $500. Individual Gala reservations, which include prime seating at the performance and a reservation for the Opera Ball, are $1,250.
The evening’s ultimate experience is available through the Count and Countess Premium Package, featuring round-trip transportation between the Civic Opera House and Hilton Chicago, pre-opera reception in the beautiful William B. and Catherine Graham Room, premier seating for the performance, premium wine and table service at the Opera Ball, and an opportunity to host an artist or production team member at your Opera Ball table. Other premium package levels are available, as well. For information and to make reservations please call the Women’s Board Office at 312-827-5681.
The Opera Ball will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue.
The Opera Ball is generously cosponsored by ITW for the thirteenth consecutive year and by Northern Trust for the seventeenth consecutive year.
Complimentary transportation will convey Opera Ball guests from the Civic Opera House to the Hilton Chicago following the opening-night performance. The expected 500+ Opera Ball guests will make their red-carpet entrances and ascend the grand staircase to the welcoming strains of a brass fanfare. The Opera Ball Reception is sponsored by Liz Stiffel, a longtime member of the Women’s Board.
For the Opera Ball, “the decor takes the theme to further heights of opulence with magnolia towering above each table and accented with crystal bowls of mounded fruit in the European style,” says Hefferman. “All this is atop sumptuous golden damask linens and gold ballroom chairs. The center stage of the Grand Ballroom will be highlighted by a golden theatrical drape and giant arrangements of magnolia branches.”
When dinner begins in this exquisitely decorated space, guests will be welcomed by Lyric President and CEO David Ormesher. The opening-night artists will then be presented by Lyric General Director Anthony Freud in the traditional Grand March. The Stu Hirsh Orchestra will provide music for dinner and dancing.
About Lyric Opera of Chicago
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.