I grew up in a tiny rural town in Northern Michigan, and while I’ve lived in Chicago for almost ten years, there’s still a small town girl inside of me that continually marvels at the panoply of events and opportunities available on any given night in the city. The Lyric Opera has always held a… View Article

An Evening at the Lyric Opera’s Carmen

Season: Winter

dress thrifted (H&M, similar)
heels BCBGeneration
earrings Charming Charlie (similar)
bracelet Charming Charlie
ring Charming Charlie
watch Kate Spade
clutch Kate Spade
lip Burt’s Bees (Sunset Cruise)
nails Essie (Fairy Tailor)

I grew up in a tiny rural town in Northern Michigan, and while I’ve lived in Chicago for almost ten years, there’s still a small town girl inside of me that continually marvels at the panoply of events and opportunities available on any given night in the city. The Lyric Opera has always held a particular allure for me. Perhaps its because of the all the Romantic Era novels I read in college in which the opera always seemed the focal point of the social world–a place to see and be seen–that I’ve always thought of the opera as the pinnacle of a fancy evening out.

I’ve always wanted to see a well-known, well-loved opera, so when we heard that the Lyric Opera was staging Carmen this winter we jumped at the chance to see the show.

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First, the outfit. We went on a weeknight, so I chose a dress that was fancy but not an out-and-out gown. I knew I wanted to bring my new Kate Spade bun clutch, so I went to Charming Charlie and picked out matching accessories. I’ve been leaning toward bolder accessories of late, so I landed on a statement bangle and a pair of chandelier earrings.

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When we arrived I was immediately impressed at how beautiful the building is. The Lyric Opera puts on their shows in the Civic Opera House, an iconic and historic Chicago building with an amazing Art Deco interior. I’m a fan of 1920’s style and architecture, so I was enthralled.

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As a blogger, I had contacted the Lyric about featuring them in a post. They were happy to oblige me in giving us a pre-show tour of the building, pointing out all the best spots for photos. They led us up to the highest balcony level to see the gorgeous ceiling details.

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lyric opera carmen lyric opera outfit lyric opera dress evening wear black tie kate spade bunny

We poked about, eyeing the cushy seats and plush red carpets.

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The mezzanine area, with the enormous chandeliers at eye-level, is particularly gorgeous. If you were to grab a pre-show drink–something I highly recommend–this would be a good place to do so. There are several bars on this level to choose from.

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lyric opera carmen lyric opera outfit lyric opera dress evening wear black tie kate spade bunny

The level of detail on everything in the building was exquisite. Check out the masks/faces on the chandeliers.

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Eventually we made our way back to the lobby…

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…pausing to snap many photos along the way.

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lyric opera carmen lyric opera outfit lyric opera dress evening wear black tie kate spade bunny
lyric opera carmen lyric opera outfit lyric opera dress evening wear black tie kate spade bunny

I have to commend my husband on his photography work. I usually take all of my photos myself using a tripod and a remote shutter release, but given the circumstances I needed a true photographer for the night and I think he did a stellar job. He also did a lot of work while I stood around doing my best to look pretty…

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…and so to thank him we headed to the Pedersen Room on the first floor. When you enter the lobby, take a sharp right and you can’t miss it. If you want to get a drink or a bite to eat before the show, head here. Trust me on this.

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We procured two seats at the bar and ordered two glasses of bubbly from one of the friendliest bartenders I’ve ever encountered.

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A free spread of whipped cheeses and crackers comes with your glass. While we sipped, we browsed the program and marveled at just how fancy everything felt. Every little detail at the Lyric has been thought out–all the decor, all the service, all the ambiance. While we just enjoyed a glass of bubbly before the show, the Pedersen Room does have a full prix fixe menu if you book in advance. Based on the quality of our experience, I definitely recommend making a reservation if you have the chance.

Before we left, our bartender informed us that we could reserve our seats at the bar for intermission, which lasts 30 minutes. If we left any drink or food order with him, he told us, he’d have it ready and waiting for us when we arrived. The whole concept seemed too delightful to miss out on, so we selected two glasses of red and two desserts and made our way to our seats.

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I know I’ve already said it a lot in this post, but I couldn’t get over how nice everything seemed at the theater, from the sumptuousness of the curtain to the comfort of the seats to the open airiness of the theater. It all just felt perfect.

We plopped down in our seats and in no time the lights dimmed, the curtain raised, and we were treated to a delightful show. Here are a few official shots from the production.

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Carmen herself singing the infamous Habanera.

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Carmencita working her wiles on Jose.

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The opera was peppered with dancers, which I particularly enjoyed.

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The Toreador Song was particularly well performed, but my favorite solo of the night was delivered by Don Jose just before the intermission. The curtain fell on the ill-fated lovers and we dashed up the aisle to the Pedersen Room, where we found treats awaiting us.

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The opera cake was fantastic–I would go again just to order it. It reminded me of a cake version of tiramisu with layers of chocolate, coffee, and cream.

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My husband had the deconstructed cheesecake and liked it so much that I barely had time to sneak a bite before his plate was clean. I don’t think I could go to the opera without partaking in this experience again. We sipped our reds, chatted about the show, and all too soon it was time to head back into the theater for acts three and four.

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I loved the costuming and dancing in this act–it had a real Spanish flare.

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Don José’s fiancée performed a gorgeous solo in act three.

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And act four featured some of the best costuming of the night.

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I won’t spoil the end for you–instead, put on your finest and head down to the Lyric to see a performance yourself! Carmen runs through March 25th. Head here to see show times and to browse the Lyric’s future performances. I know we’ll be back before long.

Thank you to the Lyric Opera for providing production photos taken by Todd Rosenberg and Andrew Cioffi

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