Photo: Stefany Phillips (Lyric Opera, Chicago)
Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet today announced that Joffrey will become the resident dance company at the Lyric Opera House (20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago) at the start of the 2020/21 Season. The agreement comes as the two companies prepare to perform together for the first time in John Neumeier’s production of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice.
“With The Joffrey’s arrival at the start of the 2020/21 season, the Lyric Opera House will take its rightful place among the great opera houses of the world which frequently are home to magnificent ballets, as well as thrilling opera productions,” said Lyric General Director Anthony Freud. “This is terrific news for Chicago as we further solidify our City as a cultural hub. It also marks a significant step in Lyric’s strategic plan as we identify new opportunities to grow our audience base through more regular interactions with dance patrons, who are already committed to the arts, and maximize the use of our magnificent opera house.”
The seven-year rental agreement will provide Joffrey with a wonderful performance home, opening new opportunities for the Company to showcase its artistic excellence and providing an exceptional experience for patrons, who will now have access to valet parking, three restaurants located inside and others in close proximity to the opera house, easy access to mass transit and an elevated cultural experience inside the iconic Lyric Opera House. Lyric and Joffrey will continue to operate as two separate companies, dedicated to their respective art forms. However, Lyric will provide front-of-house support for Joffrey performances and expects to benefit from the additional income these audience services provide.
Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley Wheater added, “Like Orphée Director John Neumeier, one of my first and most memorable performances as a professional dancer took place on the Lyric stage. Over the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lyric’s incredible, committed team. I’m thrilled by what this means for the Joffrey. The backstage assets alone will provide our dancers, artists, designers and collaborators with important resources that will launch our productions to new levels of artistry.”
Joffrey Executive Director Greg Cameron said, “As a lifelong Chicagoan, I’m excited to lead the Company during this time of growth and transformation. Bringing these two Chicago icons together is yet another way to support Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to national and international tourism, making Chicago one of the premier cultural destinations of the world. We also look forward to making our final years at the Auditorium Theatre the most memorable yet.”
Joffrey will continue to perform in The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University through the end of its 2019/20 Season, when the Company’s current license agreement concludes. The Joffrey and Lyric will use this time to develop plans to ensure a smooth transition and refine their season schedules. Joffrey will continue to use its space in Joffrey Tower as its primary administrative, educational and rehearsal center.
Lyric’s presentation of composer Christoph Willibald Gluck’s most popular work, Orphée et Eurydice, will be directed by internationally acclaimed Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, John Neumeier, in seven performances only at the Lyric Opera House, September 23 through October 15, 2017, as The Joffrey Ballet makes its Lyric Opera debut.
Orphée et Eurydice is a coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera and Staatsoper Hamburg. The Joffrey Ballet will also be part of the work’s West Coast debut in Los Angeles on March 10, 2018.