Cher Public

Henson Keys

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.

E lucevan le stelle

Domingo Hindoyan “got the major climaxes right.”

The Stars of Lyric Opera weren’t under the stars last night, prevented by a persistent cloud bank, but they nonetheless provided a stirring evening of music at the annual free concert, held at the magnificent Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park.  It was an ideal venue to showcase Lyric Opera’s orchestra, chorus, and soloists, offering a preview of the upcoming season that opens with La Boheme on October 6. Read more »

Jesus hopped the L train

Just a few years back it would have been seen as ridiculous to put “Lyric Opera of Chicago” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the same sentence.  But the times they are a-changin’, and last night the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera opened for a month’s run, shaking up the staid Civic Opera House.   Read more »

Thanks for scaring

Lyric Opera Unlimited, the education and outreach program of Lyric Opera of Chicago, has done our fair city a great favor by producing Fellow Travelers, the new Gregory SpearsGreg Pierce opera commissioned by the Cincinnati Opera in 2016. I caught the last of four performances on Sunday afternoon in the beautiful, old 984-seat Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago. I found the performance intellectually and politically riveting, musically thrilling, and profoundly moving. It was a triumph.  Read more »


The production is at all times visually arresting, but it’s also extremely distracting.

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Puritani, as the driven snow

It was an afternoon of spectacular singing, particularly from the two principals and the glorious Lyric Opera Chorus.

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Forever, Amber

My takeaway from this evening is that I want to hear a lot more from Amber Wagner.

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Sippen und Hunde ruft er zusammen

Wow factor

The second installment of Lyric’s Ring Cycle proved an evening of glorious singing, moving drama, great conducting and orchestral playing.

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Plus a little jest

Verdi’s Rigoletto returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago, a rousing performance both musically and dramatically.

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