The Lyric Opera Chorus was recently invited to participate in a recent donor luncheon in the grand foyer. I had the pleasure of being seated at a table with Ronald Johnson, a retired Structural Engineer who has been a Lyric Opera subscriber since 1971.
Ronald first fell in love with opera when he attended a performance of Die Walküre at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), at the Krannert Center, when he was a student. He recently learned that the production was designed by Wolf Siegfried Wagner, a great grandson of the composer. He still has fond memories of that production. After graduating from UIUC, he moved to Chicago where he has attended every opera at Lyric since.
Ronald’s favorite opera performance at Lyric is Peter Grimes with John Vickers in 1974. He was unfamiliar with the show at the time and was “blown away” by the opera, the chorus and Vickers. “The staging of the ending spoiled me for all other productions”, he recalls. “Total darkness except for Grimes slowly trudging toward an offstage light.”