Everything you need to know about visiting the Civic Opera House (20 N Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606).
Built in 1929 by business magnate Samuel Insull, the art deco architecture and gold-covered interior design of the Civic Opera House is anything but subtle—an venue for the dramatic narratives that unfold on its stage. The Lyric Opera of Chicago has made the opulent venue its home since 1954, presenting eight productions each season. As one of the top opera companies in the country, it attracts some of the industries most respected singers and musicians, including musical director Sir Andrew Davis (formerly of the BBC Symphony Orchestra) and creative director Renée Fleming (the soprano superstar who spent years with the Metropolitan Opera). Each season at the Lyric offers something different, including reimagined productions of classic operas like Faust and Richard Wagner’s Ring cyle.
Go beyond the footlights
It may be too late for you to make a career out of treading the board and belting out arias, but you can experience an evening behind the scenes of the Civic Opera House with a backstage tour. These hour-long, behind-the-scenes looks at the facilities are offered throughout the season and include a tour of the orchestra pit and a peek behind the curtains, where you’ll step onto the catwalks and see how operas are brought to life.
Learn more about the show
Your ticket to a Lyric Opera production doesn’t just allow you to see the show, it also gives you access to a pre-opera talk. One hour before curtain time, operagoers can gather in the theater for a half-hour preview talk that delves into the composer, themes, music and drama of each production. Call ahead to find out if a pre-opera talk is scheduled—opening nights and special events are usually excluded.
Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. The Civic Opera House was most recently updated with new tips on July 2, 2017.