A varied lineup and passing of the baton in Lyric Opera’s 2020-21 season

Wed Feb 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Sir Andrew Davis conducts operas by Mozart, Stravinsky and George Benjamin in Lyric Opera’s 2020-21 season.

In his final season as Lyric Opera’s music director, Sir Andrew Davis will lead three productions as well as a concert celebrating his two decades in Chicago.

The company opens its 2020-21 season September 17 with the verismo double-bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Brian Jagde—currently on stage in Lyric’s Madama Butterfly—will sing Turiddu with Elena Pankratova as Santuzza and Ambrogio Maestri as Alfio. In the Pag, Russell Thomas is Canio with Evgenia Muraveva as Nedda and Maestri as Tonio. Carlo Rizzi conducts in this revival of the company’s Elijah Moshinsky production.

Andrew Davis leads the North American premiere of George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence September 27-October 9. Based on the tale of Edward II, the British composer’s opera, premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in 2018, is billed by Lyric as a “political thriller, which takes place in a contemporary totalitarian state.” The cast includes Stéphane Degout, Georgia Jarman,William Burden and Gyula Orendt in this Lyric/ROH coproduction.  

Puccini’s Tosca returns to the Lyric boards November 10-29 with Sondra Radvanovsky as the doomed diva, Joseph Calleja as Cavaradossi and Fabian Velzo as Scarpia. Giampaolo Bisanti makes his Lyric Opera debut in the pit.

Music director designate Enrique Mazzola will conduct Verdi’s Attila November 15-27, a work not mounted by Lyric in over two decades. Dmitry Belosselskiy takes on the title role with Tamara Wilson as Odabella and Matthew Polenzani as Foresto in an imported Italian production.

George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence will be performed Sept. 27-Oct. 9 at Lyric Opera. Photo: Steven Cummiskey/ROH

The new year opens with Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila January 23-February 13. Brandon Jovanovich and Clémentine Margaine star as the problematic Biblical couple with Emmanuel Villaume conducting. Moshinsky’s production makes its first Chicago appearance. 

Conductor Eun Sun Kim, the new music director of San Francisco Opera, makes her Lyric debut leading Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore January 30-February 14. Matthew Polenzani is Nemorino with Rosa Feola as Adina, Andrzej Filończyk as Belcore and Nicola Alaimo as Dulcamara in a new-to-Chicago coproduction of Lyric and SFO.

Barbara Gaines’ much-maligned 2015 staging of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro will be revived March 14-April 11 with Davis conducting. Alex Esposito is Figaro with Ying Fang as Susanna, Federica Lombardi as the Countess, Gordon Bintner as the Count and Kayleigh Decker as Cherubino.

The mainstage season closes with Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress March 21-April 6. Andrew Staples stars as Tom Rakewell with Janai Brugger as Anne Trulove, Luca Pisaroni as Nick Shadow and Alice Coote as Baba the Turk. Davis conducts in this revival of Lyric’s lauded David Hockney production.

Mazzola will conduct the season’s off-site chamber opera, Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up. Premiered in Washington in 2018, Lyric’s production will run January 16-23 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Cast is TBA.

Christine Goerke will perform a recital with pianist Malcolm Martineau on March 7.  And Andrew Davis’s 20-year tenure as music director will be feted April 10 with the British conductor leading a performance of  Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Singin’ in the Rain will be the company’s 2021 musical offering, running June 4-27.

Subscriptions go on sale Thursday. Single tickets are on sale for the public June 25. lyricopera.org; 312-827-5600

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One Response to “A varied lineup and passing of the baton in Lyric Opera’s 2020-21 season”

  1. Posted Feb 17, 2020 at 12:29 am by Matt

    Beethoven’s 9th Symphony? Are they not celebrating his 20 years as an OPERA conductor? This should say enough about Sir Andrew Davis’s tenure at Lyric. Hopefully Lyric will be doing opera again one day! Until then, the best opera in town is at the Chicago Symphony!

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