Joffrey Ballet to Reside at the Lyric Opera of Chicago

By James Monroe Števko

Just before the opening night performance of “Orphée et Eurydice,” featuring the Joffrey Ballet with choreography by John Neumeier, the company has announced that come the 2020-21 season, the company’s new home will be the Civic Opera House, marrying Chicago’s two world-renowned companies under one, gold-gilded auditorium.

“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 in a press release. “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 future residency, set to run for at least seven years, hopes to provide Joffrey patrons with a heightened experience of never-before accessible amenities at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theater, such as three on-site restaurants, streamlined valet parking on the Lyric’s newly renovated avenue, and nearby mass transit.

Joffrey Artistic Director continued, “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.”

The two companies will continue to operate their own separate seasons in addition to Joffrey continuing the use of Joffrey Tower as it’s primary rehearsal, administrative, and educational space.

The utilization of Lyric Opera’s front of house support hopes to bring in more revenue for the company, which has always prided itself on operating each season ‘in the black’. This relocation will be a magnificent addition to the monolithic, waterfront opera house, picking up from where the defunct Chicago City Ballet left off years ago, and adding the art deco masterpiece to the roster of great opera houses that feature all the arts under one roof.