Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the sparkling operetta The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár in a new-to-Chicago production directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman. Presented in English with projected titles, the production opens on Saturday, November 14 with 10 performances through Sunday, December 13. Performance dates are November 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 28 at 7:30pm; and December 3, 9, 11, and 13 at 2pm. More information and tickets are available online here or by phone at (312) 827-5600.
Broadway legend Stroman most recently received a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography for Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway. She garnered Tony Awards for acclaimed productions including The Producers, Contact and Crazy for You. Stroman’s work has also been honored with numerous Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Astaire and Lucille Lortel Awards, and the Society of Directors and Choreographers’ George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The Merry Widow comes to Lyric Opera in a lavish production that premiered last New Year’s Eve at the Metropolitan Opera. Lyric’s music director Sir Andrew Davis conducts. Renée Fleming (7 performances Nov. 14-Dec. 3) and Elizabeth Futral (3 performances Dec. 9-13) share the title role of Hanna Glawari, the merry widow whose fortunes may save her homeland – if she marries a fellow Pontevedrian. Thomas Hampson portrays Count Danilo, the playboy-bon vivant who’s her former lover (and eventual new husband), with Heidi Stober as the saucy Valencienne, Michael Spyres as her would-be suitor Camille (who Valencienne tries to set up with Hanna), and Patrick Carfizzi as Valencienne’s diplomat-husband Zeta. The production is designed by Broadway veterans Julian Crouch (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes) and Paule Constable (lighting). Michael Black is chorus master.
“It’s a very elegant piece!” says Davis, who conducted the Met performances of this production in January with Fleming in the title role.
“Susan Stroman is a very distinguished Broadway director, so this show has all the spectacle, style, and energy that one would expect,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “This production is set in period and looks ravishing. Having Renée and Thomas together again on our stage will be exciting, and then Thomas will partner with Elizabeth, who’s shone in the role here previously. And Heidi Stober will have a great debut here as Valencienne.”