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A transformation is in store for Chicago's historic Lyric Opera House
Source: Lyric Opera of Chicago

CHICAGO (11/6/19) — As the architecturally significant and majestic home of Lyric Opera of Chicagomarks its 90th anniversary this week, Lyric’s president, general director & CEO, Anthony Freud, announced that the company plans to undertake one of the most ambitious improvement projects in its history. Over the summer of 2020, Lyric’s Ardis Krainik Theatre will undergo a significant renovation and improvement project that will include replacement of all of the theater’s seats, a restructuring of the sightlines on the main floor of the house, and greatly enhanced accessibility and overall guest experience.

"We are thrilled about this opportunity to elevate the Lyric experience for all our guests," said Freud. "Lyric is committed to improving and maintaining this historic building to the highest standard, without altering the house’s visual beauty. We are enormously grateful for the generosity of the Anonymous Donor, whose commitment to helping maximize Lyric's accessibility to all audiences while enhancing the overall experience in the opera house has made this possible. As a jewel of Chicago’s cultural and architectural community, Lyric is committed to preserving and enhancing the historic Art Deco building. This new seating plan will provide accessibility and upgrades in comfort while ensuring that the house’s acoustics will remain among the finest in the nation."

Thanks to a significant gift from an Anonymous Donor, who shares the company’s passion for accessibility and welcoming all audiences, the multi-layered renovation and construction plan is set to start at the conclusion of Lyric’s spring musical, 42nd Street

The new seating plan for Lyric’s main floor has been designed to enhance the audience experience through new and more comfortable seating, vastly improved sightlines, and a reconfiguration of the house that is easy to navigate and provides increased accessibility. Lyric’s plan involves work with architects, acousticians, and theater seating consultants to provide upgrades that won’t alter the aesthetics or the acoustics of the theater.

"As a leader in our community and in our field, it is imperative that we take all possible measures to ensure that Lyric can be experienced and enjoyed by everyone who passes through our doors," said David Ormesher, chairman of Lyric’s Board of Directors. "We know this new seating plan will continue to maintain and improve our treasure of an opera house and enhance the enjoyment of it for all."

Lyric management worked with one of the country’s leading theater planning firms, Schuler and Shookto identify new theater seats; with acoustic engineers at Kierkegaard to ensure that the theater’s excellent acoustics would remain intact; with architects at Goettsch Partners to create the new seating design; with ESD on the mechanical and electrical engineering aspects of the theater space; with Klein and Hoffman as the structural engineers to ensure the integrity of the building; and with contractors Bulley and Andrews on board for the physical installation. CBRE represented Lyric in development management of the project. LCM served as an ADA consultant on this project to ensure accessibility compliance.

To learn more about this new seating plan and Lyric’s continued commitment to accessibility, visit

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