Jeanine Tesori's Blue, Patti LuPone, More, in Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2024-25 Season | Playbill

Classic Arts News Jeanine Tesori's Blue, Patti LuPone, More, in Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2024-25 Season

The season will also include Lileana Blain-Cruz's production of Missy Mazzoli's The Listeners.

Patti LuPone

Lyric Opera of Chicago has unveiled its 2024-25 season, which features six operas and three concerts, including an appearance by three-time Tony winner Patti LuPone.

The season will open September 14 with a revival of Verdi's Rigoletto, starring baritone Igor Golovatenko as the court jester who will go to any extremes to protect his daughter, played by soprano Mané Galoyan in her company debut. Tenor Javier Camarena also makes his company debut as the Duke of Mantua, Rigoletto's employer, and bass Soloman Howard plays the assassin-for-hire Sparafucile. Lyric Music Director Enrique Mazzola will conduct the production directed by Mary Birnbaum.

Next in the season is Matthew Ozawa's production of Beethoven's Fidelio, also conducted by Mazzola. The only opera by the famed symphonic composer, Fidelio follows Leonore as she tracks down her unjustly-imprisoned husband Florestan, and disguises herself as man, using the name Fidelio, to enter the employ of the jailer and break her husband out of prison. Soprano Elza van den Heever and tenor Russell Thomas will play Leonore and Florestan, with bass Mika Kares as the jailer Rocco, and bairtone Brian Mulligan as Don Pizarro, the nobleman who orders Florestan's imprisonment.

Patti LuPone will make her Lyric debut when her latest concert act, the currently touring A Life in Notes, will come to the Chicago company October 4, with musical direction by Joseph Thalken. The concert is conceived and directed by Scott Wittman, and written by Jeffrey Richman.

Back to the operatic season, Mozart's comic masterpiece Le Nozze di Figaro will be revived, conducted by Erina Yashima in her company debut. The production by Barbara Gaines will star bass-baritone Peter Kellner as Figaro and soprano Ying Fang as his bride-to-be Susanna. Bass-baritone Gordon Bintner and soprano Federica Lombardi play the pair's employers, the Count and Countess Almaviva, with mezzo-soprano Keyleigh Decker as the page Cherubino. This production marks a reunion for Fang and Lombardi, who played these roles together at the Metropolitan Opera in 2022. Since then, they have also starred together in Idomeneo and Don Giovanni, making them something of a Mozart power duo.

Jeanine Tesori's Blue, which had been planned for Lyric's 2019-20 season before being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will finally make its long-awaited Chicago premiere in a production directed by Tazewell Thompson, who also penned the opera's libretto, and conducted by Joseph Young, both making their Lyric debuts. Blue follows a Black family whose son is killed by a white police officer. Bass Kenneth Kellogg and mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams play the Father and Mother, with baritone Norman Garrett as the Reverend.

The beloved Puccini staple La Bohème will be revived in March, in a new-to-Chicago production by Melanie Bacaling, and conducted by Jordan de Souza. Soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Pene Pati star as Mimi and Rodolfo, with soprano Gabriella Reyes as Musetta, baritone Will Liverman as Marcello, and bass Peixin Chen as Colline.

The final opera in the season will be Missy Mazzoli's The Listeners, directed by Tony nominee Lileana Blain-Cruz. With a libretto by Royce Vavrek, The Listeners is about a mysterious “hum” that only a few people, known as the Listeners, can hear. The opera is a co-commission with Norwegian National Opera, where it had its world premiere in 2022, and Opera Philadelphia, where it will have its American premiere this fall, before coming to Chicago in March 2025. Mezzo-soprano Nicole Heaston stars as Claire Devon, a middle-class mother in the southwestern U.S., who hears the “hum,” alongside soprano Lindsey Reynolds as Claire's daughter, Ashley, and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen as Howard Bard, the leader of the Listeners. Enrique Mazzola will conduct.

The season will also include two concerts. In February, Sondra Radvanovsky will sing The Puccini Heroines, a program including excerpts from each of Puccini's 12 operas. In April, Enrique Mazzola will lead the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus and Orchestra in A Wondrous Sound, featuring a selection of orchestral and choral numbers from across the operatic repertoire.

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