Lyric Opera of Chicago and its general director, Anthony Freud, announced the lineup for Lyric's 2013-14 season todaY. Joseph Calleja, Joyce DiDonato, Nathan Gunn, Thomas Hampson, Ana María Martínez, Matthew Polenzani, and Patricia Racette are among those headlining the new season's offerings. These comprise 67 performances of eight different operas, beginning October 5, 2013 and concluding March 23, 2014: new productions of Parsifal, La traviata, The Barber of Seville, and Rusalka (Lyric premiere); a revival of Otello; and new-to-Chicago stagings of Madama Butterfly, Die Fledermaus, and La clemenza di Tito. Lyric's music director, Sir Andrew Davis, will lead three operas, and guest conductors Marco Armiliato, Bertrand de Billy and Michele Mariotti will make their house debuts. Additionally, Lyric will present a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music in the spring of 2014, continuing the company's American Musical Theater Initiative, and Davis will conduct a special Subscriber Appreciation Concert in March featuring Lyric's creative consultant - the star soprano Renée Fleming - with tenor Jonas Kaufmann.
As Anthony Freud affirmed, the new season - Lyric's 59th - fully embodies the company's motto, Long Live Passion. "Passion is the essence of opera, musically and dramatically," Freud said, before explaining:
"We have tried in every case to match the perfect conductor, the perfect director, and the perfect cast to achieve real collaboration. Opera at its best is a true marriage of music and theater - a creative process in which a work is interpreted by director and conductor along with singers, designers, and choreographers in order to achieve a complete fusion. When opera does achieve this fusion of disciplines, when it truly becomes a new element, its passion and power are revelatory and matchless."
Freud added that the 2013-14 season would introduce internationally acclaimed directors, conductors, singers, and designers to Chicago, as well as welcoming back several artists who had already previously triumphed at Lyric. Both Sir Andrew Davis and Renée Fleming joined him in making the announcement, together with Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company.
Davis, who will be on the podium for Parsifal, Rusalka, and La clemenza di Tito, said:
"Parsifal is my favorite Wagner opera and I'm thrilled to return to it in a new Lyric production with a great cast. It embodies the sacred and profane, the carnal and the spiritual, redemption and the ability to find grace, among other things.
"Rusalka is a darkly tragic fairytale and one of the most beautiful scores of any romantic opera. I am so excited that we're doing it at Lyric for the first time ever - and with a terrific cast and new production.
"La clemenza di Tito is a tale of political and sexual intrigue in ancient Rome, returning for the first time since 1989 in a fine production from Aix-en-Provence with a superlative cast. I guarantee it will not be 'stand-and-deliver' opera seria!"
Major artists making Lyric debuts in the 2013-14 season include Antonio Poli (Otello/U.S. operatic debut); Amanda Echalaz, James Valenti, Stefano Secco, and Christopher Purves (Madama Butterfly); Daveda Karanas, Kwangchul Youn, and Rúni Brattaberg (Parsifal); Marina Rebeka (La traviata); Juliane Banse, Daniela Fally, Adrian Eröd, and Michael Spyres (Die Fledermaus); Isabel Leonard (The Barber of Seville), and Ekaterina Gubanova (Rusalka).
Returning International Artists include Johan Botha, Ana María Martínez, and Falk Struckmann (Otello); Patricia Racette, Mary Ann McCormick, and David Cangelosi (Madama Butterfly); Paul Groves, Thomas Hampson, and Tómas Tómasson (Parsifal); Joseph Calleja and Quinn Kelsey (La traviata); Bo Skovhus and Andrew Shore (Die Fledermaus); Nathan Gunn, Alek Shrader, Alessandro Corbelli, and Kyle Ketelsen (The Barber of Seville); Ana María Martínez, Brandon Jovanovich, Jill Grove, and Eric Owens (Rusalka); and Matthew Polenzani, Joyce DiDonato, Amanda Majeski, and Christian Van Horn (La clemenza di Tito).