Yet another summer is nearing its end. Though the end of vacations and the approaching winter may be a disappointment, opera fans have yet another exciting season just around the corner. Chicagoans, in particular, can anticipate the many intriguing new developments at the Lyric Opera.
The Lyric’s 2012-2013 season begins with its free Stars of Millennium Park Concert at 7:30PM on Sat., Sept. 8, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Unlike previous concerts which featured an eclectic selection of pieces from the then-current season’s offerings and other popular operas, this year’s repertoire is more streamlined. Soloists and the Lyric chorus will perform a smaller selection of favorites – including Verdi’s “Va pensiero” from Nabucco – , but the centerpiece of the concert is the complete fourth act of Bizet’s Carmen.
Those who cannot attend the concert can listen on WFMT, 98.7 FM or www.wfmt.com.
Fans of choral works should also note the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s free Millennium Park performance of Orf’s Carmina Burana at 6:30PM on Fri., Sept. 21.
But there is even more than the Lyric’s regular programming to anticipate this season. In July, general manager Anthony Freud announced both the Lyric Unlimited outreach program and receipt of a $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the endeavor. As former general manager of Houston Grand Opera, Freud championed a successful outreach initiative which included live simulcasts and commissioned works. Part of the grant will go to the first commission of Freud’s Lyric tenure: a dramatization of Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto set to debut in the 2015-2016 season. Hopefully, Lyric will announce more accessible programming or commissions during this season.