The Pirates of Penzance, 2017. Photo by Cory Weaver.

Explorations Series

The Explorations Series was a new initiative of Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the 2016-2017 season.  For the 2018-19 season, the series includes three performances and features an eclectic array of works. Our Explorations Series features eclectic programs in intimate spaces, with programming that crosses musical borders and experiments with a wide range of lyrical expression. The intimacy of our Explorations Series performances will create a new kind of experience for audiences and showcase the extremely talented singers and guest artists. In-event hospitality for all Explorations Series performances provided by Young Friends of the Lyric.

Explorations Series is underwritten by Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Spencer Fane LLP, Thomas and Sally Wood Family Foundation and Jim Zakoura.

Subscriptions for the 2018-2019 Explorations Series are currently available to all Lyric Opera main stage subscribers. Subscribe today to gain first access! Single tickets will be available on July 9.

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2018-2019 EXPLORATIONS SERIES PERFORMANCES:


HIGH FIDELITY OPERA

Saturday, November 17, 2018 |  7:30 pm

Featuring “The Old Maid and the Thief,” “Down in the Valley,” and “A Hand of Bridge”
Great composers have created operas for radio audiences ever since the medium’s earliest days, exploring a huge variety of subject matter. Enter the “theater of the mind” and explore the sights and sounds of the golden age of radio, when director Ed Berkeley brings you a selection of popular American radio operas by Menotti, Weill, and Barber, plus sound effects performed by the singers.


MACK THE KNIFE is THE MAN I LOVE

Saturday, February 9, 2019  |  7:30 pm
Sunday, February 10, 2019  |  2:00 pm

Featuring the songs of George Gershwin and Kurt Weill
Did these two geniuses ever cross paths on Broadway? Did they know that they were contributing to a set of works that would truly “set the standard” for American popular song? Enjoy a slate of standards, such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Summertime,” “September Song,” and “Mack the Knife,” in a cabaret setting that promises to chase away the winter blues.


PENELOPE

Saturday, March 30, 2019 | 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 31, 2019  |  2:00 pm

By Sarah Kirkland Snider
What happens when a soldier finally comes home—but remembers nothing? This groundbreaking song cycle, based on The Odyssey but told from Penelope’s point of view, was named one of the five best genre-defying works in 2010 by National Public Radio. A meditation on the trauma of war, memory, and home, Penelope is sure to be touching, intimate, and dramatic.


Past Explorations Series Performance:

Meet the Resident Artists (Sept. 2016)

Sunday, September 11, 2016  |  2:00 p.m.
Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building
712 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108

Meet Lyric Opera’s first class of Resident Artists as they showcase some of their favorite pieces from the operatic repertoire. Our Resident Artists will fill the Michael and Ginger Frost Production Center with their voices and their personalities.


Schubert | Beatles (Oct. 2016)

Saturday, October 1, 2016  |  8:00 p.m.
Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral
415 W. 13th St., KCMO 64105

This fascinating program combines Schubert Lieder with special arrangements of songs by the Beatles in a format that showcases their similarities and differences.  Pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, along with violinist Charles Yang, soprano Sari Gruber, tenor Andrew Owens and baritone Theo Hoffman, explore the music and the connections between these iconic artists, who captured the spirit of their age.  The program is a collaboration with the New York Festival of Song, with its vision of reinventing the classical solo song recital as an experience of musical discovery, presenting familiar repertory in contexts that allow us to hear it in a new way.

The performance will feature two meteoric musical careers that captured the ethos of their eras, a dual repertoire of songs so iconic as to have assumed the status of folk music: Franz Schubert and the team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The driving beat of Schubert and the exquisite lyricism of the Beatles will be highlighted, with titles ranging from “Der Wanderer an den Mond” to “She’s Leaving Home.” In an Opera News review, Maria Mazzaro stated, “The songs somehow were all transformed into the finest eleven o’clock ballads any classic musical ever heard, proving that the Beatles were a heck of a lot more than the average pop musicians.”

This program was underwritten by Virginia and Charles Clark.


The Juliet Letters (Jan. 2017)

Saturday, January 28, 2017  |  8:00 p.m. – SOLD OUT
Sunday, January 29, 2017  |  2:00 p.m.

Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building
712 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108

Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters were written in 1992 and recorded by the artist himself, together with the Brodsky Quartet. A collection of songs for voice and string quartet, with a few quartet-only interludes, they had an unusual inspiration: Costello heard that the lovelorn actually write letters to Shakespeare’s Juliet and leave them at her supposed ‘balcony’ in Verona, Italy.  Costello came up with his own stylized “letters” and set them to music, using the idea as a platform for the exploration of young love. Musically the material lies somewhere between that of his pop albums and his Shakespearean orchestral ballet Il Sogno of 2004, a more purely “classical” work. Elvis Costello’s emotional and poignant renderings of some of these letters became the song cycle The Juliet Letters.  Rolling Stone stated, “While a project as ambitious as The Juliet Letters might have wound up mired in sentimentality and pretension, the singer and his collaborators have created something that is as accomplished as it is moving.”

The program will be sung by the Lyric Opera Resident Artists accompanied by the Fry Street Quartet within a special scenic environment created for this concert.

Fenlon Lamb, Director of Opera at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, will direct the performance, with scenery by Jeff Ridenour, lighting from Nate Wheatley and costumes by Mary Traylor.

Explorations Series underwritten by Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Spencer Fane LLP, Thomas and Sally Wood Family Foundation and Jim Zakoura.


Art Song Series: American Voices (Mar. 2017)

Sunday, March 19, 2017  |  2:00 p.m.

Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building
712 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108

Lyric Opera’s Resident Artists will close the first season of Explorations as they started it – with an intimate concert experience designed for you to get to know them further as artists. This time they’ll be singing some of their favorite song cycles by American composers, with selections from among the compositions of Jake Heggie (composer of the opera Dead Man Walking, a Lyric Opera 2016-17 season production), Lori Laitman, Robert Paterson, and Gabriel Kahane, and others.

Explorations Series underwritten by Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Spencer Fane LLP, Thomas and Sally Wood Family Foundation and Jim Zakoura.


Meet The Resident Artists (Sept. 2017)

Sunday, September 24, 2017  |  2:00 p.m.

Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building
712 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108

Join us for an informal afternoon ‘salon’ to meet Lyric Opera’s talented 2017-2018 Resident Artists! Through conversation and musical selections including arias, art songs and show tunes, sneak a first peek at the quartet and pianist whom you will see onstage and at our Explorations Series presentations throughout the season.


The Bernstein Songbook (Oct. 2017)

Saturday, October 14, 2017  |  7:30 p.m.

Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral
415 W. 13th St., KCMO 64105

The creators of last year’s brilliant Schubert | Beatles program, the New York Festival of Song, now bring us The Bernstein Songbook. This special second collaboration with Lyric Opera of Kansas City focuses on the remarkable musical output of the iconic Maestro, Leonard Bernstein, in celebration of the centennial of his birth.  The program will include Bernstein’s final song cycle, Arias and Barcarolles, along with other favorites and rarities, and will bring fascinating insights into one of the 20th Century’s American musical legends


As One (Jan. 2018)

Saturday, January 27, 2018  |  7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 28, 2018  |  2:00 p.m.

Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building
712 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108

In this chamber opera for two singers and string quartet, by composer Laura Kaminsky and co-librettists Mark Campbell and filmmaker Kimberly Reed, a mezzo-soprano and a baritone depict the experiences of its sole transgender protagonist, Hannah, as she endeavors to resolve the discord between her self and the outside world. The New York Observer says “As One is everything we hope for in a contemporary opera: topical, poignant, daring, and beautifully written.”


American Voices (Mar. 2018)

Saturday, March 24, 2018  |  7:30 p.m.

Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building
712 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108

The American Voices program showcases art songs by prominent American composers, past and present. Featured selections include songs by Amy Beach, Charles Ives, Jake Heggie, and others, anchored by Samuel Barber’s suite Hermit Songs, which was premiered by the great Leontyne Price at a Library of Congress recital in 1953 with the composer at the piano. Also on the program are several songs by Juliana Hall, on texts by Carl Sandburg and Edna St. Vincent Millay, as well as John Daniels Carter’s Cantata, which uses texts from traditional spirituals “Ride On, King Jesus,” “Let Us Break Bread Together” and others.


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