Yi Xin (DMA ’14) appears onstage with superstar soprano Renée Fleming during the Chicago Lyric Opera’s production of Strauss’s Capriccio this month. Here’s what Lawrence A. Johnson of the Chicago Classical Review had to say about opening night:

“Richard Strauss’s final opera, which opened Monday night at Lyric Opera, remains an acquired taste for many, and has only been staged once previously at Lyric, two decades ago. Capriccio takes place on the birthday of the Countess Madeleine, where several entertainments are being planned.

“Written in 1942, Capriccio is Strauss’s affectionate farewell to the stage, and the aged composer and his librettist, conductor Clemens Krauss, were clearly drawing on their experiences and frustrations in producing operas. Capriccio is a short one-act opera–here presented with an intermission rather than straight through as the composer intended—yet a heavily conversational and metaphorical one.

“There is no real reason to stage Capriccio unless you have a radiant star soprano in the role of Madeleine, and clearly Renée Fleming supplies the necessary mega-wattage. In her first fully staged Lyric production since La Traviata in 2008, Fleming here reprises a role she has sung to acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera, in the same John Cox production.

“More than anyone else, this was Sir Andrew Davis’s show. Few conductors can equal the Lyric Opera’s music director in Strauss, and Davis’s fluent, spirited yet light-footed account of this score was masterful, maintaining a fleet, conversational pace and rising seamlessly to the breakout lyrical moments.

“Even by their standard, the playing of the Lyric Opera Orchestra was beyond reproach, with a refined quicksilver quality that suits this restless music. The opening string sextet was drop-dead beautiful, Jonathan Boen lofted a gorgeous horn solo to open the final scene, and violinist David Perry, cellist Yi Xin and harpsichordist William Billingham (offstage) made a graceful banda accompanying the ballet dancers.”

Capriccio runs through October 28. lyricopera.org; 312-294-3000.

Read the full review…