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  I Puritani at Lyric Opera

I Puritani

Lyric Opera
20 N. Wacker Drive Chicago

The opera takes place at a fortress near Plymouth during the English Civil War of the 1640s. Elvira is betrothed to Sir Riccardo Forth, a Puritan colonel, although she is not in love with him. Instead, she loves Arturo Talbot, a Cavalier and a Stuart sympathizer, who loves her in return. Once aware of Elvira's unhappiness, Elvira's uncle, Sir Giorgio, convinces her father, Lord Walter, to give his permission for her to marry Arturo. At the wedding celebration, Arturo discovers that Queen Enrichetta has been imprisoned in the castle. By covering the queen in a wedding veil, Arturo helps her escape. Elvira believes she has been abandoned by Arturo, but in the end, the two are happily reunited.

Thru - Feb 28, 2018

Show Type: Opera

Box Office: 312-332-2244

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  I Puritani Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...But you don’t go to “Puritani” for the designs or the lighting — you go for the singing. It’s to the credit of returning conductor Enrique Mazzola, one of today’s foremost masters of bel canto, that the Lyric orchestra provides so stylish a cushion of support for the singers. Only six days before the opening, Mazzola had to bow out of rehearsals to undergo emergency gall bladder surgery. You would not have guessed he had been away, given the rhythmic urgency and expansive lyrical warmth he drew from the capable orchestra and Michael Black’s disciplined chorus."
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John von Rhein

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Lyric has assembled some formidable resources to shore up this convoluted story. Two of bel canto's brightest young stars, Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova and American tenor Lawrence Brownlee, lead the cast. Designed by Ming Cho Lee and last seen here in 1991, the production still handsomely imagines 17th century England with an atmospheric setting of stony castle ramparts, vast, shadowy wood-paneled rooms and wild, stormy skies. "Puritani" is full of lively choruses, and especially during the crowd scenes Lyric's cast, resplendent in Peter J. Hall's costumes of rich velvets and broad, white-laced collars and cuffs, bring to mind a van Dyck painting."
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Wynne Delacoma

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...The opening performance of "I Puritani" Feb. 4 at Lyric Opera was bathed in ovations. This opera is not frequently performed as it is extremely difficult to find the right soloists. There are only a few tenors in the world who can sing the complicated role of Arturo, and American tenor Lawrence Brownlee is one of them. He masterly presented extremely long high notes that build into genius pathos and expressive melodic lines. For his undoubted talent and brilliant vocal skills this gloriously elegant musician is sought after by major companies worldwide."
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Natalia Dagenhart

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...See it for its sterling vocalists, especially tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Arturo and soprano Albina Shagimuratova as his true love, Elvira (a part famously, and probably more histrionically, sung at Lyric by Maria Callas). Bass Adrian Sâmpetrean as Elvira’s uncle and baritone Anthony Clark Evans as her disappointed suitor round out the quartet of leads, while the mighty Lyric Opera chorus amps up the aural drama. As for visual interest, there’s a narrated, open-curtain set change during the second intermission. In Italian with English supertitles."
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Deanna Isaacs

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...The “Lucia” of 2016 was staged as a bel canto acid trip with shockingly nightmarish visuals. Although the production was already 20 years old at the time, it was revived by its original director, Graham Vick, and felt quite fresh. This “I puritani” staging is even older, designed by Ming Cho Lee for the Metropolitan Opera in 1976, and it is still classically pleasurable to look at, with an elegant staircase and enormous, faded chiaroscuro paintings on the walls that connote the legendary pull of ancestry."
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Nancy Malitz

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Although there is little to dislike in this production of I Puritani, there is much to love, from Brownlee’s charismatic performance as the noble Arturo to Bellini’s memorable score with its deceptively simple melodies. In this, Italian opera makes English history and literature more attractive and compelling than even Britain’s own composers."
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Barnaby Hughes

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The Lyric Opera’s current production of I Puritani, which was originally directed by Sandro Sequi in 1976, foregrounds the person of its composer, Vincenzo Bellini, and understandably so. Premiering in 1835, just a few months before his untimely death, I Puritani epitomizes Bellini’s style, with its long, elaborate melodies, lyricism, and contrasting sections of music to represent shifts in character. Therefore, during its lengthy scene transitions set designer Ming Cho Lee provides a romantic landscape scrim that prominently features Bellini’s name, cleverly using our respect for the composer to beg our indulgence. It’s a choice that works in this revival quite well due to the music being performed by an all-star cast led by the sensitive, passionate conducting of Enrique Mazzola, an acclaimed interpreter of the bel canto period."
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Jacob Davis

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Recommended

"...Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to visit I Puritani depends on what attracts aficionados to opera in the first place. If it’s for the gripping, larger-than-life stories, this may not those patrons’ cup of tea. But for those coming to enjoy the beautiful music and the spectacle and high production values of the set and costumes, the sound of Lawrence Brownlee hitting the climactic high F in act three is alone worth the ticket price."
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Bryson David Hoff

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...As with many operas, you may find the story line of I Puritani almost incidental. They are lovers separated by happenstance- in this case the grand events of England’s Civil War—and here they are happily reunited, unlike the many operas of long drawn out deaths-do-us-part. Some might find resonance of the so-called story line with the political divides of today, as one article in the Lyric program book explores. Perhaps it’s better to seize the musical feast of I Puritani as a chance to leave the headlines outside the door."
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Amy Munice

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