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When: Sat., Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m. 2013

This year’s edition of Lyric Opera’s free, season-launching concert in Millennium Park—the only venue in town grander than its home base—promises to be as glorious a crowd pleaser as Pritzker Pavilion. On the program: A generous helping of a perennial favorite, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, with the title role played by an equally popular performer, soprano Ana Maria Martinez, and tenor James Valenti as that cad Pinkerton. Also: Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova in the famous mad scene from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Lyric Opera chorus performing selections from Lohengrin, Otello, and Il Trovatore. This will be the chorus’s first performance since the welcome return and permanent appointment of one of its own favorites, Michael Black, as chorus master. Ward Stare, once a trombone prodigy in the Lyric Opera orchestra and now a hot property as a young conductor, will wield the baton. —Deanna Isaacs

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