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updated: 7/12/2012 10:23 AM

Chicago's Lyric Opera awarded $2M grant

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The Lyric Opera of Chicago has been awarded a $2 million grant to expand its community engagement and to support the world premiere of an opera based on a popular novel.

The Lyric's general director Anthony Freud announced the grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation on Wednesday.

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Freud says part of the money will help fund the creation of a new initiative called Lyric Unlimited, which will include a variety of community engagement projects to be announced soon.

Another part of the Mellon Foundation grant will provide support for the previously announced world-premiere commission, "Bel Canto." The new opera is based on the bestselling novel by Ann Patchett, which was inspired by a hostage crisis in Peru.

The Lyric will premiere "Bel Canto" during its 2015-16 season.

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Online: http://www.lyricopera.org

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