Lyric Opera announces collaboration with Second City, kid-friendly “Pasquale”

Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The Lyric Opera rolled out the first fruits of its new Lyric Unlimited initiative Wednesday, with two events designed to broaden the Lyric Opera’s appeal beyond its traditional audiences.

On January 5, 2013, the Lyric and Second City will join forces for “The Second City Guide to the Opera.” Announced by Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud, the collaboration is the brainchild of Renée Fleming, the Lyric’s creative consultant, after she attended a performance of the comedy troupe last fall. This “mashup of improv with opera” will feature Fleming, along with Second City members, other singers and musicians.

Freud also announced “Popcorn & Pasquale,” a children-friendly special performance of Don Pasquale to take place December 2, 2012. This 70-minute condensation of Donizetti’s comedy will feature the company’s mainstage cast (Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Marlis Petersen, and René Barbera), and will be hosted by actor Ross Lehman, a characterful Captain Andy in last season’s Show Boat. Tickets will be specially priced at $10-$20 for children and $20-$40 for adults.

“Both of these performances will bring new audiences to the Civic Opera House and, we hope, will stimulate new interest in Lyric and the opera,” said Freud.

Wednesday’s press conference in Second City’s theater on North Wells also featured a brief skit by Second City members as a squabbling opera couple and two rather broad comedy videos featuring opera characters in a psychologist’s office, which the Lyric will use to promote the event.

In other Lyric Opera news, the company announced the creative team for its May 2013 performances of Oklahoma! Gary Griffin, who previously helmed Lyric productions of The Merry Widow and The Mikado, will direct this new production, with set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Mara Blumenfeld and lighting by Christine Binder.; 312-332-2244.

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