Lyric Opera of Chicago

Mission and Goals

Lyric Opera’s mission is to present grand opera of the highest international caliber and to nurture an appreciation of opera, music, and the performing arts through education and community-engagement. Lyric Opera’s goal is to present an appealing, well-balanced, and artistically rewarding repertoire each season. The company achieves this while keeping ticket prices affordable, making great opera accessible to broad and diverse audiences. Lyric’s strategy includes presenting world and company premieres, commissioning new American operas, and developing new productions of classic and contemporary masterworks.

Mainstage and Community Programs

Each season nearly a quarter-million ticket buyers enjoy the world’s greatest singers in Lyric’s eight spectacular productions. In addition, 16 million radio listeners worldwide enjoy them via The Matthew Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts. The company nurtures the next generation of great opera singers through its partnership with The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, one of today’s most distinguished singer-training programs. Plus, more than 135,000 Chicagoans participate in Education and Community-Engagement Programs each season. 


Lyric Opera is recognized internationally as one of the great opera companies of our time. The company was founded in 1954 by Carol Fox. Ardis Krainik was general director from 1981 until her death in early 1997 when William Mason succeeded her. General Director Anthony Freud began in October 2011. Sir Andrew Davis has been Lyric’s music director since 2000, and in December 2010 American soprano Renée Fleming was named Lyric’s first-ever creative consultant. 

Financial Strength

Lyric's significant organizational strength is its rigorous financial discipline and management.  Lyric has operated in the black for 23 of the last 24 fiscal years – a commendable record in the performing arts. However, even with annual ticket sales at nearly 90% of house capacity, ticket prices cover less than half of total expenses each season. Lyric's operating budget is met through essential contributions which keep the company well positioned and prepared to deal with 21st-century challenges of creating and producing grand opera in America. 

Dependent upon level of giving, Lyric Opera offers a wide variety of donor benefits in recognition of supporters’ gifts. For a complete, up-to-date list of benefits by level, please visit


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Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Education and Community Engagement Programs logo

Education and Community Engagement Programs

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Early exposure to the arts has a lasting impact on a person's ability to analyze and integrate knowledge and think creatively. Lyric Opera is dedicated to providing arts enrichment.

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The Patrick G. And Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center logo

The Patrick G. And Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center

Lyric Opera of Chicago

We provide comprehensive education and performance opportunities to some of the nation's most outstanding young singers, helping them transition from academic training to a successful opera career.

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