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Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Rising conductor Michael Christie (photo by James Daniel).
Conductor Michael Christie will make his Lyric Opera of Chicago mainstage opera debut leading ten performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata from February 16 - March 22, 2019. The production takes place at Lyric Opera House (20 N Wacker Drive). In the exquisitely romantic story, La Traviata presents one of opera’s most enigmatic heroines, Violetta, who lives purely for pleasure but longs for true love. She finds the right man in Alfredo, but their happiness is cut short: at his father’s insistence, Violetta leaves Alfredo for the sake of his family and Violetta now lives only with the hope that Alfredo will return to her.
“It is an enormous thrill to join this remarkable cast at one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses,” says Christie. “La Traviata is an opera that is constantly reborn for those who have a lifetime love for it as well as those experiencing it for the first time. The story is timeless, but the emotions are as personal today as they were when the story was created.” Previously at Lyric, Christie conducted "Rising Stars in Concert" in 2015 and 2016, featuring ensemble members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center in performance with the Lyric Opera Orchestra.
Joining Christie, the cast and creative team includes Albina Shagimuratova (Violetta), Giorgio Berrugi (Alfredo), Željko Lučić (Germont) and Zoie Reams (Flora). Arin Arbus (director), Riccardo Hernandez (set designer) and Marcus Doshi (Lighting Designer) will join a team of veteran production creatives to make for a spectacular production.
Michael Christie is a thoughtfully innovative conductor, equally at home in the symphonic and opera worlds, who is focused on making the audience experience at his performances entertaining, enlightening, and enriching. The New York Times describes him as “a director open to adventure and challenge,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, “If Michael Christie represents the future of music in this country, the future looks promising indeed.”
Christie’s live recording of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates was recently nominated for four GRAMMY awards. In 2017, Christie led the world premiere performances of this work with Santa Fe Opera “with suave assurance” as praised by the San Francisco Chronicle, with “precision and pizzazz” by the Santa Fe New Mexican, and “preside[d] over an expertly executed performance,” according to The Financial Times.
Christie was featured in Opera News in August 2012 as one of 25 people believed to “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade.”
La Traviata will run at Lyric Opera House February 16 through March 22, 2019. Visit lyricopera.org to learn more or for tickets.