Where & When to Catch Lyric Opera of Chicago Performance ‘Bel Canto’ On Public Television

By David Salazar

A few years ago, Jimmy Lopez’s “Bel Canto” finally got its world premiere in Chicago. Despite solid reviews and general popularity, few got a chance to see it unless they traveled to Illinois to check out the new big hit.

On Friday, Jan. 13, all of America will be watching as the opera gets broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances series starting at 7:30 p.m. EST.

The opera, which is based on the 126-day terrorist takeover of the Japanese Embassy in Peru on Dec. 17, 1996, was turned into a novel by Ann Patchett that was subsequently adapted by Lopez and librettist Nilo Cruz. The world premiere, which came on Dec. 7, 2015, was made possible by famed soprano Renee Fleming.

According to Cruz, Fleming actually came to him with the idea and the composer set out to make his first opera, which famously features eight languages including Spanish, English, Japanese, Russian, German, Latin and Quechua, many of which the composer does not speak.

The broadcast will feature a star-studded cast that includes Danielle de Niese, J’nai Bridges, Rafael Davila, Jacques Imbrailo, Jeongcheol Cha, Andrew Stenson and Anthony Roth Costanzo, among others. Kevin Newbury directed the production while Sir Andrew Davis conducted.