Enrique Mazzola, music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 21, 2022. (WTTW News)

Maestro Enrique Mazzola took over as music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2019 with grand plans for the 70-year-old institution. Then the pandemic hit.

From left: Enrique Mazzola, Renee Fleming and Rod Gilfry. (Photo by Robert Kusel)

A love affair between two artists who share a gift for letter-writing. And then a wonderfully devised celebration of Broadway classics. Talk about a study in contrasts. You could not have found a more ideal example of just such a pairing of personalities and styles than the unusual concert performed last week on the Lyric Opera stage by the golden-voiced soprano Renee Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry, both of whom can shift easily between opera and musical theater.

Dancers fly during Barrie Kosky’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Lyric Opera House. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Scaled to opera house grandeur, the production involves a total of 100 performers including a cast of strong actors, an ensemble of sensational dancers, a large chorus and the full Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Enrique Mazzola, Lyric Opera’s Music Director and Donald Lee III, the inaugural Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist, led the Lyric Opera Orchestra and singers from the Ryan Opera Center’s esteemed training center on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion, Aug. 21, 2022. (Credit: Kyle Flubacker)

On Sunday evening, in the wake of a thunderous few days of the Chicago Air and Water Show, Enrique Mazzola, Lyric Opera’s Music Director (along with Donald Lee III, the inaugural Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist), led the Lyric Opera Orchestra and singers from the Ryan Opera Center’s esteemed training center on the same stage of the Pritzker Pavillion.

The Joffrey Ballet’s latest production is John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men.” It’s a story that ends in tragedy — but the artists hope to highlight something else in their rendition. (WTTW News)

The Joffrey Ballet’s latest production is John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men.” It’s a story that ends in tragedy — but the artists hope to highlight something else in their rendition.

(PBS)

“Fire Shut Up In My Bones” is based on a memoir by longtime New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow. Composed by Terence Blanchard, the story explores how Blow works to heal from traumatic incidents of abuse in his childhood. 

Will Liverman in “Fire Shut Up In My Bones.” (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

Based on the 2014 memoir by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, the opera’s title is drawn directly from the biblical story of Jeremiah, the severely persecuted “weeping prophet” known for his tender heart. But it is a deeply personal and contemporary story.

Russell Thomas as Mario Cavaradossi and Michelle Bradley as Floria Tosca (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

A brutal despot is the force behind much of the tragedy that unfolds in “Tosca.” The opera — with a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa — is at once a love story, and the tale of artists who are destroyed by the twisted power broker who drives them to death. 

Ana Maria Martinez performs in “Florencia en el Amazonas.” (Photo by Cory Weaver)

“Florencia en el Amazonas” (“Florencia in the Amazon”), the first Spanish language opera to be performed on the Lyric Opera mainstage, is pure magic on every count. 

Ailyn Perez and Joshua Hopkins in the Lyric Opera production of “The Elixir of Love.” (Photo by Cory Weaver)

Gaetano Donizetti’s beguiling romantic comedy is a delightful  and winningly insightful tale of true love, money, egotism, self-doubt, wishful thinking and charlatanism. And, to top it all off, it comes with a happy ending.

Sondra Radvanovsky and Craig Colclough in the Lyric Opera production of “Macbeth.” (Photo by Ken Howard)

The Lyric Opera production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth” — which marks both the ongoing pandemic-era reopening of the company’s renovated 3,200-seat theater, and the official start of Enrique Mazzola’s tenure as the company’s music director — is no standard witches’ brew. 

“Florencia En El Amazonas” (Credit: Lynn Lane / Houston Grand Opera)

After 15 months of dark theaters and livestreamed performances, two of Chicago’s most famous performing arts companies announce they are returning to the stage for live performances — this time under one roof.

Megan Pachecano is Beatriz and Daniel Montenegro is Giovani in the Chicago Opera Theater production of Daniel Catan’s “La hira de Rappaccini” (“Rappaccini’s Daughter”). (Photo: Justin Barbin)

With most traditional theater spaces off-limits and Zoom an increasingly annoying way to have to watch anything, two Chicago opera companies have demonstrated in radically different ways that “all the world is a stage” — or can be turned into one.

Enrique Mazzola, music director designate at Lyric Opera of Chicago. (Photo: Jean-Baptiste Millot)

“Sole e Amore,” Enrique Mazzola’s newest project, will include two dozen songs by seven of the most beloved Italian opera composers of the 19th century, performed by 11 members of the Ryan Opera Center, Lyric’s renowned artist development program.

Ana María Martínez (WTTW News)

Lyric Opera of Chicago has plans for a virtual concert Sunday unlike anything it has done before: a Spanish-language concert. We meet some of the artists involved with the premiere of “Pasión Latina.”

Renee Fleming appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (WTTW News)

The coronavirus has shuttered concert venues around the world, but that hasn’t stopped artists and musicians from finding new ways to share their work. Soprano Renee Fleming tells us about Lyric’s upcoming concert.