As creative consultant, Ms. Fleming is helping to shape the company’s artistic vision; she is working with Lyric’s board and staff to create new projects and initiatives designed to increase opera audiences and awareness of the art form. Their plans include expanding the company’s educational activities, highlighted by a joint initiative with Merit School of Music, a prominent community music school that serves more than 6,000 children and teens. Together, Lyric and Merit are seeking to find and nurture young, talented singers in the Chicago area, and make Lyric more accessible for students involved in all areas of music education at Merit. Details of this collaboration will be revealed at a press conference on September 12 in Chicago.
Together with Chicago’s innovative advertising and communications agency Downtown Partners, Lyric is launching a major new visibility campaign this fall, celebrating opera as a vital, passionate art form. The campaign is funded by the donors of the Renée Fleming Initiative. The launch date of the campaign coincides with the “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert on September 10 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, which annually attracts capacity crowds.
As part of the Initiative, Renée Fleming will curate a world-premiere opera to debut at Lyric in the 2015-16 season, and the company has made an annual commitment to American musical theater. A previously announced new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma is scheduled for the spring of 2013. Ms. Fleming will also continue her on-stage presence at Lyric. Her first free public appearance since she was appointed creative consultant will be in “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park,” Lyric’s annual gift to the city, on September 10. She and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky will headline a Subscriber Appreciation Concert on January 7, 2012 at the Civic Opera House honoring William Mason, who is retiring after more than four decades with the company. Music Director Sir Andrew Davis will lead the Lyric Opera Orchestra.
In coming seasons at Lyric, Ms. Fleming is scheduled to appear in staged concert performances of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire singing Blanche DuBois, the role created for her (spring 2013); a production of Strauss’s Capriccio in which Ms. Fleming will sing the Countess (fall 2014); and she will participate in Lyric’s 60th Anniversary Gala (November 1, 2014).
Ms. Fleming is also working with her Lyric colleagues to expand the role of Lyric’s Civic Opera House with additional operatic and non-operatic programming. She will collaborate with other Chicago-based arts institutions to promote the strength of culture in Chicago. Her other projects include further developing Lyric’s young professionals initiative, which provides entry-level experiences for the curious adult.