THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Celebrates Chicago’s Diverse Musical Heritage With Chicago Voices, Premiering Friday, August 10 on PBS
World-renowned soprano Renée Fleming hosts an all-star evening from Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring rapper Lupe Fiasco, folk legend John Prine, Broadway’s Jessie Mueller, pop and gospel artist Michelle Williams, jazz singer Kurt Elling and others
A star-studded array of vocal talent with deep ties to Chicago gathers on stage at Lyric Opera to pay tribute to the city’s wide-reaching influence across blues, jazz, rock, folk, hip-hop, gospel, opera and classical music in Great Performances: Chicago Voices, premiering nationwide Friday, August 10 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and streaming the following day on pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps. Hosted by four-time Grammy-winning soprano Renée Fleming, the multi-genre concert special features performances by Fleming, Tony-winner Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Grammy-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco, three-time Grammy-winning folk legend John Prine, Grammy-winning pop and gospel singer Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), Grammy-winning jazz singer Kurt Elling and many more in a celebration of Chicago’s rich and diverse vocal music legacy.
Led by award-winning music director Doug Peck, the concert features additional performances and unique collaborations by Beverly Sills Award-winning tenor Matthew Polenzani, blues singer Shemekia Copeland, alternative country duo The Handsome Family, Voices of Trinity Mass Choir, Terrence Howard (Empire, Hustle & Flow) and Jussie Smollett (Empire). Civil rights activist and founder of Operation PUSH Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., serves as special guest presenter during the concert.
Songs featured include:
“The Battle is Over (But the War Goes On)” – Shemekia Copeland
“Summertime” – Renée Fleming
“On Broadway/ So Far Away” – Jessie Mueller & Kurt Elling
“Wang-Dang Doodle” – Shemekia Copeland & Michelle Williams
“Be My Love” – Matthew Polenzani
“Far From Any Road” – The Handsome Family
“Kick, Push” – Lupe Fiasco
“She Used To Be Mine” – Jessie Mueller
“The Jet Set” – Renée Fleming & John Prine
“A Change is Gonna Come” – Terrence Howard & Jussie Smollett
“Coming Together” – Cast
“Sweet Home Chicago” – Cast
Lyric Opera Creative Consultant Renée Fleming along with Lyric Unlimited, Lyric Opera’s department dedicated to education, community engagement and new artistic initiatives, joined forces in February 2017 to create Chicago Voices. The multi-year initiative celebrates Chicago’s vibrant and diverse vocal music culture, with the Chicago Voices concert as one of its signatures events.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40-year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming.
A production of HMS Media for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Voices was directed for television by Matt Hoffman and produced by Scott Silberstein. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for Great Performances is provided by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Abra Prentice Foundation, and PBS.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! And Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history experience. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person. Through multi-platform initiatives Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America and Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, WNET showcases the human stories around these issues and promising solutions. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
About Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.
Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.
Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.
To learn more about Lyric’s new season, go to lyricopera.org. You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric18/19 #LongLivePassion