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.

Revenge served cold

The woes of last week’s Polar Vortex event in Chicago extended all the way to Lyric Opera, forced to cancel dress rehearsal for Elektra.  So, Saturday night’s opening performance was the first time in decades that Lyric had presented an opera sans Dress.   Read more »

Dream a little dream

Jules Massenet’s version of the Cinderella fairy tale, Cendrillon, seems to be back in vogue after many years of obscurity, and the major reason for the revival of interest is the spectacularly inventive Laurent Pelly production already a hit in Santa Fe, London, Brussels, Lille, Barcelona, the Met, and now running in its first performances at Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Read more »

A starred day’s night

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Lyric Opera House for Anna Netrebko’s recital “Day and Night” was the amount of Russian being spoken in the lobby—Anna’s fans from Chicago’s Russian community were out in force, and in all the audience there was a frisson of expectation for the day’s event.  Read more »

Great Chicago fire

If sheer clarion vocalism is what draws you to the opera, then hie thee to Lyric Opera of Chicago’s rousing revival Of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, the oddly plotted but musically sublime opera that opened last night in the David McVicar production, originally seen in 2006.  

Read more »

First action hero

Director David Pountney and his splendid designers have brought Lyric Opera of Chicago a visually spectacular Siegfried full of daring ideas.

Read more »

Beyond the sea

Those readers who know my musical tastes will not be shocked to find that I have a somewhat conflicted view of Mozart’s operatic works.

Read more »

Best in snow

Lyric Opera of Chicago resumed its season on Wednesday evening with the new-to-Chicago production of Puccini’s perennial audience pleaser La bohème.

Read more »

E lucevan le stelle

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 in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Read more »