Henson Keys (AKA “actfive”) is a Chicago-based actor and director who fell in love with opera while working for the Met Ticket Service in NYC in the early 80’s. An Equity actor since 1974, he has performed in over 130 roles in New York and regional repertory including 46 productions of Shakespeare. From 1999-2015 he was Chair of Acting Programs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, having previously led programs at Ohio University and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He also writes opera CD/DVD reviews for Opera News.
On Sunday afternoon, Lyric Opera of Chicago presented a highly anticipated joint recital featuring tenor Lawrence Brownlee, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and accompanist Craig Terry. It was two hours of excellent music-making, the first half consisting of operatic arias and excerpts followed by the second half of spirituals and popular songs. Read more »
Lyric Opera of Chicago concluded its 2016-17 season (at least the opera part of it) with a spellbinding and wonderfully sung production of Tchaikovsky’s familiar Eugene Onegin. Read more »
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is first among equals in a spectacular cast when she sings the title role of Ariodante in this season’s installment of Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed cycle of Handel’s operas in concert. A brilliantly melodic work, the opera features outstanding arias for each of the principal singers, including Ariodante’s melancholy “Scherza infida” and show-stopping “Doppo note.” Harry Bicket and The English Concert bring authentic Handelian brilliance to this marvelous opera. (Photo: Simon Pauly) Get tickets. Read more »
My first live Norma was in the early 80’s at the Met, during the spring run of Renata Scotto’s ill-fated turn at the role. It was a Tuesday night, if I recall, prior to the Saturday matinee that Scotto cancelled and Adelaide Negri took over. Scotto’s musicianship was her usual impressive standard, but the voice simply wouldn’t do what that great artist wanted it to do. Afterwards, I fell madly in love with the live 1955 La Scala recording, with Callas in fiery form and a great supporting cast and an audience in an absolute frenzy. Read more »
Like our beloved Cubs, Chicago Lyric Opera is in the midst of a championship season.
Lyric Opera of Chicago rose to the challenges mightily in its first-ever performance of Les Troyens.
Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor returned to Chicago Lyric Opera on Saturday evening.
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2016-17 season got off to an exciting start on Saturday night with Wagner’s Das Rheingold.
Bartlett Sher’s “new to Chicago” production of Romeo et Juliette came to the Lyric Opera at Monday’s opening after appearances at Salzburg and Milan.