Hosting the Lyric Opera of Chicago Lecture Series has become an annual tradition. Led by the Lyric’s own docents, the lectures present an opportunity for both opera buffs and novices to expand and deepen their understanding of a complex and compelling art form.

This fall’s series kicks off on Sunday, Sept. 14 with a discussion of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Dubbed “the greatest opera ever written” by George Bernard Shaw, Don Giovanni presents a captivating start to the Lyric’s season, weaving a tale that could easily have been ripped from a modern tabloid: A lothario woos and wins women around the globe, stopping at nothing (not even murder) to get what he wants–-but when Don Giovanni finally goes too far, his victims seek revenge. Mozart wraps the rise and fall of his titular character in biting social commentary, and the story drips with the darkest of black humor.  

Following weeks will see discussions of Verdi’s Trovatore (Oct. 12), a fast-paced story rife with twists, turns, and unexpected sacrifice; Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Nov. 2), America’s grand national opera and wellspring of so much of our modern culture; and finally, Puccini’s Tosca (Jan. 11) where love and death are forever entwined, and for all that hope springs eternal, tragedy is the only possible outcome.

All lectures will be held at the Main Library, 834 Lake St., and begin at 2 p.m.; related materials and recordings are available through the library catalog for anyone wishing to prepare in advance of the discussions (or develop their understanding yet further). Learn more at

By Emily Hauer


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