Soprano Nicole Cabell to sing the title role in final three performances of The Merry Widow at Lyric Opera December 9, 11 and 13


Photo Credit: Devon Cass

American soprano and Chicago favorite Nicole Cabell returns to Lyric to portray Hanna Glawari (role debut) in the final three performances of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, the company’s general director Anthony Freud announced today. She replaces Elizabeth Futral, who has withdrawn from the production for personal reasons.

“I regret that Elizabeth Futral has had to withdraw from The Merry Widow, but at the same time I’m delighted that Nicole Cabell is available to sing these performances,” said Freud. “As with Elizabeth, at Lyric we consider Nicole ‘one of our own.’ She has earned great acclaim starring not only with our company, but also at many of the world’s other leading opera houses. I know the Lyric audience will be thrilled by her portrayal of Hanna Glawari in Susan Stroman’s beautiful Merry Widow production.”

Nicole Cabell is a distinguished alumna of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center (2002-05) whose starring and featured roles at Lyric have included Leïla/The Pearl Fishers, Pamina/The Magic Flute, Countess Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro, Adina/The Elixir of Love, Micaela/Carmen, and Musetta/La bohème.

Directly after completing her tenure with the Ryan Opera Center, Cabell was the 2005 Winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in Wales. She is a Decca recording artist and among the most sought-after lyric sopranos internationally. Recent triumphs include Mimì/La bohème at the Opéra National de Paris (role and company debut), Violetta/La traviata and Giulietta/I Capuleti e i Montecchi at San Francisco Opera, Adina at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Minnesota Opera, Musetta at the Metropolitan Opera and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and more.

A new-to-Chicago production of The Merry Widow launches the holiday season at Lyric. It opens on Saturday, November 14 with 10 performances through Sunday, December 13. Performance dates are November 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 28 at 7:30pm; and December 3, 9, 11, and 13 at 2pm. Performances are in English with projected titles.

This captivatingly complicated comedy comes to Lyric in a lavish production that premiered last New Year’s Eve at the Metropolitan Opera. Lyric’s music director
Sir Andrew Davis conducts the festive operetta directed and choreographed by Broadway legend Susan Stroman.

Renée Fleming (Nov. 14-Dec. 3) and Nicole Cabell (Dec. 9-13) share the title role of Hanna Glawari, the merry widow whose fortunes may save her homeland – if she marries a fellow Pontevedrian. Thomas Hampson portrays Count Danilo, the playboy-bon vivant who’s her former lover (and eventual new husband), withHeidi Stober as the saucy Valencienne, Michael Spyres as her would-be suitor Camille (who Valencienne tries to set up with Hanna), and Patrick Carfizzi as Valencienne’s diplomat-husband Zeta. The production is designed by Broadway veterans Julian Crouch (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), and Paule Constable (lighting). Michael Black is chorus master.

For tickets and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to

The Lyric Opera presentation of The Merry Widow is generously made possible by Donna Van Eekeren Foundation, an Anonymous Donor, Mr. and Mrs. J Thomas Hurvis, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and the Mazza Foundation.

About Lyric

Founded in 1954, 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.

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.