Lyric Opera, Joffrey Ballet announce upcoming seasons; return to live indoor performances

  • Soprano Ana María Martínez is to star in the title role of "Florencia en el Amazonas" in its Lyric Opera of Chicago debut during the 2021-22 season. The 1996 Spanish-language opera by composer Daniel Catán and librettist Marcela Fuentes-Berain is inspired by the work of magical realist author Gabriel García Márquez.

    Soprano Ana María Martínez is to star in the title role of "Florencia en el Amazonas" in its Lyric Opera of Chicago debut during the 2021-22 season. The 1996 Spanish-language opera by composer Daniel Catán and librettist Marcela Fuentes-Berain is inspired by the work of magical realist author Gabriel García Márquez. Courtesy of Lynn Lane/Houston Grand Opera

  • Dancers Xavier Núñez, left, and Dylan Gutierrez are featured in the Joffrey Ballet's world premiere of choreographer Cathy Marston's "Of Mice and Men."

    Dancers Xavier Núñez, left, and Dylan Gutierrez are featured in the Joffrey Ballet's world premiere of choreographer Cathy Marston's "Of Mice and Men." Courtesy of Todd Rosenberg Photography

  • The Komische Opera Berlin's well-traveled 2012 production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" comes to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the 2021-22 season. It's visually inspired by silent movies and is filled with colorful projected animation.

    The Komische Opera Berlin's well-traveled 2012 production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" comes to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the 2021-22 season. It's visually inspired by silent movies and is filled with colorful projected animation. Courtesy of Cory Weaver/Los Angeles Opera

  • Anais Bueno is featured in the Joffrey Ballet's stage premiere of Yoshihisa Arai's "Boléro." The work received a virtual world premiere in 2021 when it was filmed for online release due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Anais Bueno is featured in the Joffrey Ballet's stage premiere of Yoshihisa Arai's "Boléro." The work received a virtual world premiere in 2021 when it was filmed for online release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy of Matt de la Peña/Joffrey Ballet

 
 
Updated 5/19/2021 4:57 PM

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.

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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.

Season tickets are on sale. Visit lyricopera.org or joffrey.org for more information.

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