Through Lyric Opera’s groundbreaking Chicago Voices initiative, the music of Chicago past and present will be in the spotlight in what Lyric calls a “star-studded weekend of vocal artistry.” During the weekend of February 2 - 4, Lyric will present a series of expert panels and masterclasses in conjunction with the Chicago Voices Concert, a one-night only, multi-genre concert celebrating Chicago’s diverse vocal music heritage with performances by iconic Chicago singers. Chicago Voices will honor the city’s musical culture in a spirit of unity and collaboration.
The concert will showcase unique and eclectic performances, including cross-genre artist collaborations that blend musical styles such as blues, jazz, folk, hip-hop, gospel and classical. Performers include Renée Fleming (who also acts as artistic director of the event), legendary folksinger/songwriter John Prine, “New Queen of Blues” artist Shemekia Copeland, gospel and R&B artist Michelle Williams, Broadway star Jessie Mueller, critically acclaimed tenor Matthew Polenzani, alternative/indie husband–and-wife duo The Handsome Family, and others to be announced. Tickets to the concert may be purchased online at lyricopera.org or by calling 312.827.5600.
The expert panels and master classes kick off Thursday, February 2 at Columbia College Chicago with a reception featuring concert musical director/conductor Doug Peck and acclaimed Chicago musical theater star Donica Lynn. The panels continue Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4, where many vocalists headlining the Chicago Voices Concert (including Fleming, Mueller, and Williams) will teach master classes and moderate panel talks. Discussions and demonstrations will focus on wide-ranging topics such as vocal health and pedagogy, the business of music, self-marketing and promotion in the digital age and the power of protest songs. For tickets and a full line-up of presenters and class offerings, visit https://chicagovoices.lyricopera.org/EPMC.
Said Fleming, “When violence in Chicago and a divided America are the headlines, Chicago Voices offers an example of unity. On February 4, we raise our voices to honor the musical heritage and rich diversity of the city we love.”
Chicago Voices is a groundbreaking, multi-year initiative celebrating Chicago’s vibrant, diverse vocal music culture. This innovative project aims to create an inclusive platform for celebrating the human voice, while illuminating the legacy of Chicago vocal traditions and amplifying the narratives of everyday Chicagoans. Presented by Lyric Opera, Chicago Voices is spearheaded by its creative consultant, Renée Fleming, and is a joint project with Lyric Unlimited.
For more information about Lyric Unlimited program offerings, visit lyricopera.org/lyricunlimited.
Renée Fleming in a coaching with a Chicago Voices Participant (photo by Jaclyn Simpson).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts