The coming season at Lyric Opera includes three new productions, of Gluck's Iphig_nie en Tauride, Strauss's Salome, and Verdi's Il trovatore.
Most anticipated is surely the new Salome, directed by Francesca Zambello, with soprano Deborah Voigt making her much-anticipated first staged appearance in the title role. Voigt, a universally acclaimed singer of Strauss, sang Salome at a concert performance at Tanglewood in 2001, but a staged performance has been slow in coming, in part because of the singer's size. She has lost a large amount of weight since undergoing gastric-bypass surgery in June 2004.
Starring alongside Voigt will be Alan Held as Jochanaan (John the Baptist), Kim Begley as Herod and Judith Forst as Herodias. Lyric Opera music director Andrew Davis, currently recovering from vascular surgery on his leg, is expected back on the podium for the production, which runs from October 21 to November 21.
Iphig_nie en Tauride, a co-production with San Francisco Opera, will be seen in Chicago for eight performances from September 29 to October 27 before moving to San Francisco in June 2007. Susan Graham will sing the title role in both cities; in Chicago, Paul Groves sings the role of Pylade and Lucas Meacham takes over the role of Oreste from Simon Keenlyside, who withdrew in August due to a back injury. Robert Carsen is the director; Louis Langr_e, the music director of the Mostly Mozart Festival, will conduct in his Lyric Opera debut.
Il trovatore will star Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora, Dolora Zajick as Azucena, Walter Fraccaro and Vincenzo La Scola sharing the role of Manrico and Mark Delavan as the Count di Luna; Bruno Bartoletti, the Lyric's artistic director emeritus, will conduct. The production, directed by David McVicar, is "Goya-inspired," according to a press release, and set in Spain. There will be 11 performances form November 4 to December 8.
The season will also include Gounod's Rom_o et Juliette, with Dina Kuznetsova as Juliette and Matthew Polenzani and Massimo Giordano sharing the role of Rom_o; a holiday production of Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus with Andrea Rost, Marlis Petersen, Alice Coote and Bo Skovhus; Mozart's CosÐ fan tutte with Erin Wall, Lauren McNeese, Eric Cutler and Nathan Gunn as the lovers and Thomas Allen and Nuccia Focile as Don Alfonso and Despina; and Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites, with Isabel Bayrakdarian, Felicity Palmer, Patricia Racette, Anna Christy and Jane Irwin in Robert Carsen's production.
The company will also present a "Subscriber Appreciation Concert" featuring soprano Ren_e Fleming on October 6. Davis is scheduled to conduct.
Complete information on Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2006-07 season is available at www.lyricopera.org.