Press Room

21C now represents Lyric Opera of Chicago

21C Media Group is proud to announce that it now represents Lyric Opera of Chicago for national and international media and public relations. Founded in 1954, Lyric is one of the world’s great opera companies, renowned internationally for its artistic excellence and financial strength. In December 2010, Lyric announced the appointment of acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming as creative consultant, the first in the company’s history. 21C is collaborating with Lyric to publicize its Renée Fleming Initiative and new era of leadership under incoming general director Anthony Freud. Freud’s appointment, effective October 1, provides the company with an impressive artistic team that includes Sir Andrew Davis and Ms. Fleming. 
Anthony Freud has been widely recognized as general director of both Houston Grand Opera (2006-June 15, 2011) and Welsh National Opera (1994-2005). In both positions Freud has been hailed for spearheading important artistic initiatives, impressive increases in attendance and fundraising, and visionary community-engagement programs to reach diverse new audiences. Current chairman of OPERA America, Freud is the first person also to have chaired Opera Europa. His tenure as Lyric’s fourth general director in its 57-year history begins on opening night of the company’s 2011-12 season.
Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric music director since 2000, is conductor laureate of the Toronto Symphony (having previously served as principal conductor), conductor laureate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and former music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He has conducted all of the world’s major orchestras, and at virtually every important opera house and festival. He has a vast discography, having recorded for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics International, Capriccio, EMI, and CBS. Sir Andrew currently records exclusively for Chandos Records. In Lyric’s 2011-12 season Maestro Davis conducts Boris Godunov, Ariadne auf Naxos, and The Magic Flute, as well as a Subscriber Appreciation Concert starring Renée Fleming and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
Renée Fleming is one of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time. Known as “the people’s diva”, the three-time Grammy winner performs in the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has been hosting a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series for movie theaters and television, and Live From Lincoln Center on PBS.
The Renée Fleming Initiative:
As creative consultant, Ms. Fleming is helping to shape the company’s artistic vision; she is working with Lyric’s board and staff to create new projects and initiatives designed to increase opera audiences and awareness of the art form. Their plans include expanding the company’s educational activities, highlighted by a joint initiative with Merit School of Music, a prominent community music school that serves more than 6,000 children and teens. Together, Lyric and Merit are seeking to find and nurture young, talented singers in the Chicago area, and make Lyric more accessible for students involved in all areas of music education at Merit. Details of this collaboration will be revealed at a press conference on September 12 in Chicago. 
Together with Chicago’s innovative advertising and communications agency Downtown Partners, Lyric is launching a major new visibility campaign this fall, celebrating opera as a vital, passionate art form. The campaign is funded by the donors of the Renée Fleming Initiative. The launch date of the campaign coincides with the “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert on September 10 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, which annually attracts capacity crowds.
As part of the Initiative, Renée Fleming will curate a world-premiere opera to debut at Lyric in the 2015-16 season, and the company has made an annual commitment to American musical theater. A previously announced new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma is scheduled for the spring of 2013. Ms. Fleming will also continue her on-stage presence at Lyric.  Her first free public appearance since she was appointed creative consultant will be in “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park,” Lyric’s annual gift to the city, on September 10. She and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky will headline a Subscriber Appreciation Concert on January 7, 2012 at the Civic Opera House honoring William Mason, who is retiring after more than four decades with the company. Music Director Sir Andrew Davis will lead the Lyric Opera Orchestra.
In coming seasons at Lyric, Ms. Fleming is scheduled to appear in staged concert performances of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire singing Blanche DuBois, the role created for her (spring 2013); a production of Strauss’s Capriccio in which Ms. Fleming will sing the Countess (fall 2014); and she will participate in Lyric’s 60th Anniversary Gala (November 1, 2014).
Ms. Fleming is also working with her Lyric colleagues to expand the role of Lyric’s Civic Opera House with additional operatic and non-operatic programming. She will collaborate with other Chicago-based arts institutions to promote the strength of culture in Chicago. Her other projects include further developing Lyric’s young professionals initiative, which provides entry-level experiences for the curious adult.
“Lyric is a vibrant home to so many talented and dedicated colleagues,” stated Ms. Fleming upon her appointment as creative consultant. “I am eager to join forces with them as we work to keep opera relevant and meaningful in people’s lives today.” Ms. Fleming acknowledges that her plans are ambitious, but she maintains, “Chicago is a wonderfully diverse and vibrant city, and as one of its truly great institutions, Lyric can and must provide broad and deep cultural service to communities throughout the city.”
Lyric launches its 2011-12 season and Renée Fleming Initiative under new leadership and a strong, committed Board. The company can rightly boast a rich, vaunted history, a wealth of artistic offerings, the world’s leading singers, and three new productions this season in its architectural treasure, the Ardis Krainik Theatre in the Civic Opera House.
Anthony Freud takes over as Lyric’s general director on October 1, 2011
When his appointment was announced in April of 2011, Freud commented, “I am thrilled to be joining Lyric at such a significant turning point in its remarkable history. As one of the world’s greatest opera companies, we must work tirelessly to break new ground … combining our richly-deserved international reputation for artistic excellence with building relationships throughout our city’s diverse communities. Our goal must be to provide a broad and deep cultural service to Chicago. I am passionately committed to ensuring that Lyric, in its strategic priorities, creates a blueprint for a strong and vibrant 21st-century opera company.”
Lyric Opera of Chicago 2011-12 season highlights:
September 10
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park,” a free concert with Renée Fleming, James Morris, Matthew Polenzani, Anna Christy, Susanna Phillips, René Barbera and others, with Emmanuel Villaume conducting the Lyric Opera Orchestra. This is Fleming’s first free public appearance w

ith the company since being appointed its creative consultant last December, and the second time she has performed in a “Stars of Lyric Opera” free concert.
September 12
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO and the prominent, community-based Merit School of Music will hold a media conference at Merit, where Renée Fleming will unveil details of their innovative education collaboration. Under the aegis of the Renée Fleming Initiative, Lyric will assist Merit in augmenting and expanding its high school-level solo vocal program, and will make Lyric Opera more accessible to all Merit students. Details for additional projects in the Renée Fleming Initiative will be forthcoming as they are implemented during the season. 
October 1 – 29
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann with star tenor Matthew Polenzani (a Ryan Opera Center alumnus and a native of Wilmette, Illinois) in his role debut; James Morris, Anna Christy, Erin Wall, Alyson Cambridge; Emmanuel Villaume, conductor; Stéphane Roche, director. Teatro Real Madrid production. This is the first Hoffmann at Lyric since 1982. [Oct 1, 5, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 29; nine performances] 
October 10 – Nov 5
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO’s new production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor marks the Lyric directorial debut of renowned soprano Catherine Malfitano. The cast is led by Beverly Sills Award-winner and Ryan Opera Center alumna Susanna Phillips in the title role and Giuseppe Filianoti as Edgardo. [Oct 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 28, Nov 1 & 5; eight performances] 
October 15
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO’s annual Operathon is a project of the Lyric Opera Chapters.  Proceeds of the 16-hour marathon on Chicago’s classical station WFMT will benefit Lyric’s education and community-engagement programs. Renée Fleming graces the 2011 Lyric Operathon catalog cover.
November 7 – 29
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO’s first presentation of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov in 17 years features Ferruccio Furlanetto as Boris in his Lyric debut. The cast also includes Stefan Margita, Andrea Silvestrelli and Raymond Aceto. Music Director Sir Andrew Davis conducts and Julia Pevzner directs the Stein Winge production, rented from San Francisco Opera. [Nov 7, 11, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29; seven performances] 
November 19 – Dec 11
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Amber Wagner, Anna Christy, Alice Coote and Brandon Jovanovich. Music Director Sir Andrew Davis conducts the John Cox production. [Nov 19, 22, 28, Dec 2, 7, 11; six performances] 
December 6 – January 22
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO’s holiday offering is Mozart’s The Magic Flute, featuring Nicole Cabell, Charles Castronovo/Alek Shrader, Stéphane Degout and Günther Groissböck. Music Director Sir Andrew Davis conducts the August Everding production. [Dec 6, 8, 10, Jan 4, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 22; ten performances] 
January 7
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents a Subscriber Appreciation Concert with Renée Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, honoring General Director William Mason, who is retiring after more than four decades with the company. The Lyric Opera Orchestra is conducted by its music director, Sir Andrew Davis.
January 21 – February 8; March 6 – 25
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents Verdi’s ever-popular grand opera, Aida, with Sondra Radvanovsky and Hui He alternating in the title role. The cast also features Marcello Giordani as Radames, and Jill Grove and Anna Smirnova as Amneris. Renato Palumbo conducts and Matthew Lata directs the Nicolas Joël production. [Jan 21, 25, 28, 31, Feb 3, 8, Mar 6, 10, 15, 19, 22, 25; twelve performances] 
February 12 – March 17
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents a seminal masterpiece of American musical theater – Show Boat by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II for the first time, in a new production directed by Francesca Zambello. Nathan Gunn stars as Ravenal opposite Broadway star Ashley Brown as Magnolia. Alyson Cambridge is Julie; Angela Renée Simpson and Morris Robinson make their Lyric debuts as Queenie and Joe respectively. [Feb 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 25, 28, March 1, 2, 7, 9, 14, 17; thirteen performances] 
February 29 – March 24
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO presents a new production of Handel’s Rinaldo (company stage premiere), starring David Daniels in the title role. The cast includes Lyric debut artists Luca Pisaroni, Elza van den Heever, Julia Kleiter, Sonia Prina, and Iestyn Davies. Francesco Negrin is the stage director and Harry Bicket conducts. Marilyn Horne sang Lyric’s only previous presentation of Rinaldo, a 1984 concert performance. [Feb 29, Mar 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24; seven performances]

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