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The Short Version: Intimacy and emotional connection are essential to the health of a relationship. Couples can seek to foster these qualities on their date nights by visiting the opera. Lyric Opera of Chicago delivers engaging performances for audiences to enjoy year-round. The opera house offers passionate stories on stage and at home with streaming, so viewers can watch from anywhere. The exciting shows and stirring music will leave couples feeling connected in a romantic backdrop.
An evening at the opera can evoke strong emotions in theatergoers. The compelling storytelling and intimate setting whisk the audience away to a world of passionate characters and intrigue.
If you’re looking to enjoy the arts, a night at the opera can set the mood for an entertaining date. Spellbinding stories like “Tosca” create anticipation that can have you and your date inspired by love, comedy, or even tragedy. These enticing shows have the power to leave you and your date captivated through a beautiful love story.
“Going to the opera is unlike any other experience because it combines all of the arts,” said Michael Solomon, Lyric Opera Director of Media Relations. “There’s always a sense of anticipation, and that’s heightened at the opera because we tell dramatic stories. So the emotional stakes are high.”
The Lyric Opera of Chicago brings these types of stories to life on stage year-round in an intimate setting. The opera house went through a renovation during the COVID-19 pandemic and refreshed some of its features. Accessibility and comfort were key factors in these plans which is why the team added brand new seating and made room for improved sightlines.
The Lyric Opera’s location makes it a popular spot among locals and ideal for date night. Its proximity to restaurants in town allows couples to share a meal or drinks before or after the show.
The Lyric Opera staff makes every show a night to remember. Since 1954, Lyric Opera has committed to creating productions that resonate with its audience and expand cultural viewpoints. The staff wants theatergoers to feel every emotion and escape into the experience.
The Lyric Opera’s newest member, Italian conductor Maestro Enrique Mazzola, begins his tenure as Musical Director in the 2021-2022 season and looks to bring fresh takes on beloved classics in a thrilling lineup.
“Powerful storytelling and music is always the base from which we operate. This company has such a history and reputation. It consistently brings the best singers in the world here to sing,” said Michael.
According to a study done by Opera Australia, 97% of theatergoers said they felt more connected to their partner after attending an opera show. The study also revealed that opera music stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. That chemistry is most likely why many attendees described the experience as romantic and intimate.
Michael, a long-time opera enthusiast himself, said that opera music transforms the viewing experience and tugs at the heartstrings.
“You don’t have to understand and learn music to appreciate the opera because what the opera is doing — if it’s doing it right — the music can tell the whole story without you needing to understand a word of it,” said Michael.
But that doesn’t mean attendees can’t follow along with the dialogue. The opera house provides a screen with English subtitles above the main stage. Michael said that opera shows can reach anyone with their emotional storytelling and compelling plot twists and turns. Couples can also explore different genres to keep date night fresh and fun.
Beautiful stories aren’t the only thing to admire. Lyric Opera’s stunning architecture is also a sight to see. The art deco design captures the century-old, traditional aesthetic and amplifies the sophistication of the opera house.
“The main lobby area is very grand, and several stories high with mezzanines and balconies where you can go out and look at the crowd, it’s great people-watching. And inside, it’s a stunning jewel box of a theater,” said Michael.
The Lyric Opera also has stellar acoustics to deliver the right sound to its audience. The music helps transport viewers into the story, so its delivery is essential to the performance’s success. For the best sound, couples don’t have to pay much. Michael told us the most affordable seats are up in the balconies, where the sound is most balanced.
“You’re sitting at the top of the balcony, and someone is pouring out their soul in the most beautiful tone, and it’s reaching you and grabbing you by the heart,” Michael told us. “They’re not just artists — they’re athletes because you have to have lungs of steel and the muscles to support that sound.”
As of 2021 the opera house has reopened and gotten back to its regular schedule. The Lyric Opera currently requires COVID vaccination cards and masks for entrance. However, opera lovers can still access the Lyric Opera’s shows at home. The company began online streaming in 2020, and it has proven to be a popular offering.
Remote viewers can watch a range of concerts and mainstage shows at the click of a link. So for those who want to keep date night indoors and comfy, they can set up their streaming device and play a show simply by purchasing a ticket and receiving a link.
“We have heard from a lot of people who very much appreciate being able to view from home. Any ticket can qualify you for the link. If the ticket isn’t scanned, they go onto the list, and we mail out a link,” said Michael.
Couples can also choose from the Lyric Opera’s selection of film productions to view at home. Shows, like Pagliacci, are free to the public through online registration or the Lyric Opera YouTube channel. All viewers can stream on YouTube by subscribing to the opera’s channel and setting reminder notifications for show premieres. But all mainstage opera performances are paid streams.
These streaming options make it more convenient for couples with children or other responsibilities to view captivating shows. The opera house also expands the reach of its main stage and gives people outside of Chicago the opportunity to experience opera.
The Lyric Opera began its 2021-2022 season in September 2021. The performance catalog includes a variety of diverse shows and modern spins on classics, including “Macbeth” and “The Magic Flute.” Michael mentioned opera lovers should keep an eye out for two interesting operas coming March 2022.
“Fire Shut Up In My Bones” is a new production premiering in March. The show takes a more modern approach than a traditional opera show. The story follows The New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow and his life in the American Deep South 30 years ago. It may not be like the traditional operas audiences are used to, but it is just as meaningful and heartfelt. The talented composer Terrence Blanchard spearheaded the score for this relatable and intriguing story on the Black experience.
The other March headliner is “Tosca”, a classic written by Puccini and set in Rome in the 1800s. Michael likens the set to a postcard of the city. The powerful tale is a love story consisting of an opera diva, a painter, and an evil man who comes between them. Tosca is performed in Italian, but Michael said the music tells the story.
“This is the ultimate opera where the music tells you who the good guy is and who the bad guy is and who’s in love,” Michael said “You’re sitting at the top of the balcony, and someone is pouring out their soul in the most beautiful tone, and it’s reaching you and grabbing you by the heart. It’s all there in the music.”
Michael added that the Lyric Opera will continue to push boundaries with more daring and experimental pieces in the upcoming 2022-2023 season. Couples can also expect a new discount program in February 2022. He said the live opera is an experience like no other and perfect for inspiring romance on dates.
“It’s an exciting place to be. It’ll be an exciting place to see a show and have a date, and hopefully, some of the romance of the opera can make its way to the audience,” said Michael.