Lyric Opera, Joffrey Ballet announce upcoming seasons; return to live indoor performances
The Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet plan to resume live stage performances this fall.
Both companies jointly announced their 2021-22 seasons Wednesday, after more than a year of cancellations and virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The return of live performance is a welcome salve right now, a chance for all of us to come together again and share the magic of the stage," Joffrey artistic director Ashely Wheater said in a statement.
"Though there are still many unknowns around the fall season, we are committed to communicating with transparency about our plans," Lyric general director Anthony Freud said in a statement.
Audiences returning to Chicago's Civic Opera House will experience new seating that is larger and more on an incline on the main floor. The change was made, in part, for better sightlines for the Joffrey Ballet, which first announced its move away from the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in 2017.
The venue's air filtration system has been upgraded to decrease recycled air and increase fresh air exchange. At this point, all attendees will be required to wear face coverings, while some Lyric ticketholders may have an option to watch streamed versions of the operas from home.
Diverse premieres are plentiful for both companies.
The Joffrey's world premiere of Cathy Marston's "Of Mice and Men" shares a double bill with the company debut of George Balanchine's "Serenade." The Joffrey also opens its season with a mixed repertory bill that includes Yoshihisa Arai's "Bolero" and Nicholas Blanc's "Under the Trees' Voices," two works that had online world premieres this year.
Recent operas like "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" (2019), "Proving Up" (2018) and "Florencia en el Amazonas" (1996) are making their Lyric debuts. All of the Lyric's physical productions are also billed as "new" or "new-to-Chicago."
Both companies feature previously scheduled works. But not all productions or performers were able to carry over from the canceled season, since many artists are contracted out years in advance.
For example, former St. Charles soprano Sondra Radvanovsky will make her role debut as Lady Macbeth in director Sir David McVicar's new production of Verdi's "Macbeth." Radvanovsky was to have starred in the title role of "Tosca" in 2020, but now soprano Michelle Bradley makes her Lyric debut as Tosca in 2022.
• Verdi's "Macbeth," Sept. 17-Oct. 9 (6 performances)
• Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love," Sept. 26-Oct. 8 (5 performances)
• Mozart's "The Magic Flute," Nov. 3-27 (7 performances)
• Catán's "Florencia en el Amazonas," Nov. 13-27 (5 performances)
• Mazzoli and Vavrek's "Proving Up," Jan. 22-30 (4 performances at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.)
• Puccini's "Tosca," March 12-April 10 (8 performances)
• Blanchard and Lemmons' "Fire Shut Up in my Bones," March 24-April 8 (5 performances)
• Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Beethoven's 9th Symphony, April 1
The Joffrey Ballet
• "Home: a Celebration" featuring Arpino's "Birthday Variations," DaSilva's "Swing Low," Blanc's "Under the Trees' Voices" and Arai's "Boléro," Oct. 13-24 (10 performances)
• "The Nutcracker," Dec. 4-26 (28 performances)
• "Don Quixote," Feb. 16-27 (10 performances)
• "Of Mice and Men" and "Serenade," April 27 to May 8 (10 performances)
Where: All performances (unless noted) at Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago
Tickets: lyricopera.org or (312) 827-5600; joffrey.org or (312) 386-8905