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.



Lakeside story

In our current political climate with issues of immigration, tribalism, and white nationalists, the 1957 musical West Side Story has a distinctly contemporary feel.  Lyric Opera of Chicago’s version, a co-production with Houston Grand Opera, and the Glimmerglass Festival, is dazzling, thoroughly entertaining, fast paced, and, in the end, deeply moving.   Read more »

Ryan’s hope

Contralto Lauren Decker, “pouring out dark, chocolatey sound with a plushness of tone and amplitude of voice rarely heard in a young singer.”

In my two decades of regularly attending performances at Lyric Opera of Chicago, I’ve witnessed a real sea change of improvement in the recruitment and training of the members of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble.  Read more »

Silver lining

Saturday night, Lyric Opera of Chicago gave us a wonderful evening of vocalism in honoring Renée Fleming’s 25th anniversary at Lyric.  Read more »

In dreams

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, he set in motion one of the most shameful chapters in American history: the incarceration in internment camps of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans for the duration of World War II.  Read more »

In the baroque midwinter

It’s been a rough winter in Chicago, and an especially rough one for lead singers at Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Cover girl

Those of us who were hoping for “a star is born” performance were, alas, disappointed.

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Revenge served cold

Of course, Stemme had the character’s frenzied fury at her father’s murderers in hand, but she had far more nuance—at times this Elektra was seductive, sympathetic, loving, even humorous in her bitterness. 

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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.

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