Free Lyric Opera Chicago tour and mini-performance
The art-deco splendors and onstage workings of the Civic Opera House will be accessible to visitors during Open House Chicago, Chicago Architecture Foundation’s annual all-city event.
When: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2016, 5 – 7:30pm
Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Dr., 312-827-5626. Enter at corner of Wacker and Madison.
Admission is free for all. Facebook event.
The Rice Grand Foyer and Ardis Krainik Theatre will be open to visitors, who will be able to observe stagehands turning over scenery from THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO to CINDERELLA in the first part of the day. Ensemble members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center will perform selections from Lyric’s current season 1:00-1:30pm. Throughout the day visitors can see the exhibition “Ten: A Season of Creative Women at Lyric” in the lower-level Opera Club gallery.
History of Civic Opera House
- The opera house was the vision of utility magnate Samuel Insull (1859-1938), a billionaire known as “the Prince of Electricity.”
- Insull, the president of the Chicago Civic Opera Association, wanted to erect a new opera house to replace Louis B. Sullivan’s Auditorium Building.
- The new building designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White opened on Nov. 4, 1929 was completed after just 22 months of planning and construction.
- The Civic Opera Building is a 45-story office tower with two 22-story wings. Shaped like a gigantic throne facing the Chicago River between Washington and Madison streets.
- The Civic Opera House seats 3,563.
- The adjoining Civic Theatre, at the north end of the block-long building, was used to present plays, dance performances, and films; for a considerable time it also served as a television studio.
- In 1993, a massive $100-million renovation began through 1996. All backstage areas were renovated and expanded. Artisans cleaned and completely repainted the auditorium (including elaborate stenciling) for the first time since 1929. All seats were repainted, refinished and reupholstered. All carpet was replaced.