The Lyric Unlimited Initiative's family-friendly production, Popcorn and Pasquale, at Civic Opera House (photo courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago).

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, recently announced details around three new commissions and a brand-new family presentation in 2015: The Property, a klezmer opera by composer Wlad Marhulets and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann; Second Nature, a children’s opera from composer Matthew Aucoin; El Pasado Nunca Se Termina, a mariachi opera by composer Jose “Pepe” Martínez and librettist Leonard Foglia; and The Magic Victrola, a new family presentation.

“Major opera companies have an imperative to be proactive and dynamic in engaging with the cities in which they are based,” said Freud. “Lyric Unlimited allows Lyric Opera of Chicago to collaborate with the many diverse communities in Chicago, creating an array of activities that provide breadth, depth, and quality of cultural service for our audiences members inside and outside the opera house.”

Cayenne Harris, director of Lyric Unlimited, noted, “One of the most exciting aspects of Lyric Unlimited is presenting new works that connect to a variety of audiences, written about subjects and in musical languages that resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds.”

The four presentations build on Lyric Unlimited’s ongoing community engagement and education activities to create a breadth of programming through which Chicagoans of all ages can connect with Lyric Opera in deeper and more relevant ways. In the 2013-14 season, more than 111,000 children, students, and adults participated in Lyric Unlimited activities.

These performances mark the return of Lyric Unlimited to Pilsen and Waukegan, building on the sold-out presentations of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at venues in March 2013 and Canciones y Arias at Benito Juaréz in April 2014. To supplement preview performances of El Pasado, additional community-engagement activities are being planned including lecture-demonstrations at schools, workshops with young mariachi students, and student-matinee performances.

For more information about Lyric Unlimited program offerings, visit

Three New Commissions, One New Family Presentation on Tap for Lyric Unlimited 2015