September 7, 2010
One of the city's cultural landmarks is about to get a new name thanks to a $3.5 million gift from the former owner of the Baltimore Ravens. The Lyric — also known as the Lyric Opera House and, when it opened in 1894, the Music Hall — will become the Patricia & Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric after an official ceremony on Sept. 21. The change acknowledges the donation from Modell and his wife. The gift, one of the largest made to a Baltimore cultural institution, completes a $12.5 million capital campaign by the Lyric Foundation.
January 8, 2010
Managers of Baltimore's Lyric Opera House plan to begin construction this summer on a multimillion-dollar expansion and modernization of its backstage area - part of an effort to make the 1894 theater more capable of accommodating elaborate, large-scale productions. Architect Jonathan Fishman of RCG Inc. presented revised plans for the project Thursday to the city's Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel. The latest design is a scaled-back version of previous plans. Sandy Richmond, executive director of the nonprofit Lyric Foundation that owns the building, said he did not have a cost estimate for the latest design.
December 31, 2009
You'd think that if anybody could dance through a snowstorm, it would be members of the Moscow Ballet. But the pre-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed the area forced the cancellation of the troupe's performances of "The Nutcracker" at the Lyric Opera House until this weekend. And now there's more lousy weather predicted. Nevertheless, performances set for Saturday and Sunday will go on.
September 15, 2009
The demise of the Baltimore Opera Company last season left a sizable void at the venue where the organization had long made its home. But losing a valued tenant hasn't taken the opera out of the Lyric Opera House. The theater has lined up its own operatic activity for the 2009-2010 season. Although modest in terms of quantity - just three performances - the series has the potential of delivering on the quality end, and of laying the groundwork for more extensive seasons in the future. "The Lyric is thoroughly committed to having opera here," says Jim Harp, former artistic administrator and education coordinator of the Baltimore Opera.
July 25, 2009
This week's high drama at the Senator Theatre reminded me that owning and maintaining an old entertainment palace is not easy. Put your name on a theatrical mortgage at your own financial and mental peril. The lights of the marquee may impart excitement and glamour. But the anxiety involved with keeping up a roof, walls, furnace and upholstery in a house that seats hundreds of people is a killer. And what about the bank that holds the deed? Two summers ago, I was walking along Baltimore Street and spotted an open door at the Morris Mechanic Theatre, which, at that point, had ceased being an operating entertainment venue.
July 5, 2009
No, I haven't stopped thinking about Baltimore's opera future. And, thanks to some others in the area similarly focused, I've got a lot more to think about. Last week, Giorgio Lalov and Jenny Kelly announced the debut season of their Baltimore Opera Theatre at the Hippodrome - Rossini's The Barber of Seville in November and Verdi's Rigoletto in March. This will not be the all-local company Lalov and Kelly initially announced. These inaugural presentations, using an orchestra and chorus from Europe augmented with area musicians, suggest a version of the couple's longtime touring company, Teatro Lirico d'Europa.