Lyric Opera of Kansas City General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler today announced the company’s 2020-2021 season. It features four mainstage productions, including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, both of which are being performed on a Lyric Opera of Kansas City stage for the first time. Two all-time favorites known for incomparable melodies — Verdi’s beloved La traviata and Bizet’s passionate Carmen  round out the extraordinarily diverse season. The Kansas City Symphony Orchestra will accompany all performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“It’s an exciting season that reveals an amazing breadth and depth of musical styles and subject matter, and it will spotlight superb casts, blending well-known voices with exciting new talent,” says Sandler. “We are thrilled to share with you the monumental Porgy and Bess and an opera based on the enigmatic Steve Jobs, which explores his drive, as well as some of the key relationships in his all-too-short life. We add to that two of the most beloved operas of all time, Carmen and La traviata.”

The 2020-2021 season is sponsored by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts and the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation.

The 2020-2021 Operas


La traviata (1853)

Music by Giuseppe Verdi

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave

Based on La Dame aux Caméllias by Alexandre Dumas

Sung in Italian with English subtitles

Last performed at Lyric Opera of Kansas City in 2014

Four performances

  • Saturday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 4, 2 p.m.

The Tragedy of La traviata

Violetta, a famous young Parisian courtesan, throws a party during which she meets a new admirer, Alfredo. Immediately fascinated by her beauty and intelligence, Alfredo publicly toasts Violetta’s honor — an extraordinary accolade for someone known as la traviata, the fallen woman. Eventually, Violetta realizes that Alfredo offers the true love of which she has dreamed and abandons her courtesan lifestyle. But Alfredo’s father, Germont, demands that she leave his son because her tarnished reputation will prevent Alfredo’s sister from marrying into a high-status family. Grieved, Violetta agrees to leave Alfredo. But knowing that she is losing a battle with tuberculosis, she extracts Germont’s promise that, after she dies, he will tell his son the truth about why she left.

Unrequited love drives Alfredo to jealous anger, but Violetta keeps her promise to his father, publicly pretending to love another. As she lies penniless and dying in a modest apartment, she learns that Germont has confessed to his son about her sacrifice and that they will visit her soon. But they arrive too late. Alfredo once more confesses his love for Violetta, who dies comforted by forgiveness from the man she loves. Music from the rousing to the plaintive tells the story, including “Libiamo ne’lieti calici (Brindisi),” “Sempre libera (Always Free)” and “Parigi, o cara (Away from Paris, my love).”

Cast and Artistic Team

Violetta Valery: Vanessa Vasquez *

Alfredo Germont: Matthew White *

Giorgio Germont: Weston Hurt

Conductor: Timothy Myers*
Director: Francesca Zambello
Associate Director: Joshua Horowit

La traviata is partially underwritten by Mr. and Mrs. C. Humbert Tinsman, Jr.




The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (1935)

Music by George Gershwin

Libretto by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, Ira Gershwin

Inspired by Porgy by DuBose Heyward

Four performances 

  • Saturday, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m.

The Struggle of Porgy and Bess

Fleeing for her life from Crown, her abusive lover, Bess is turned away by everyone except Porgy, the crippled beggar. She finds love with him and acceptance from others who live inside the rusty, corrugated tin walls of Catfish Row. Porgy and Bess struggle to stay together as they ward off poverty and addiction in the face of setbacks, including a hurricane that brings death and loss. When Crown returns to terrorize and rape Bess, Porgy kills him and is arrested. With Porgy gone, a drug dealer named Sportin’ Life tells desperate Bess that the two of them should go to New York where her good looks could make them a fortune. She resists, but when he tempts her with cocaine, Bess gives in. Porgy returns triumphant from police custody — but Bess is not there. Porgy’s friends reluctantly tell him that she has gone to New York with Sportin’ Life. Determined to find her, Porgy sets off to the opera’s final number, “Oh Lawd, I’m On My Way.” Audiences will recognize other well-known songs throughout the performance, including “Summertime,” “My Man’s Gone Now,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’,” “ It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now.”

Cast and Artistic Team 

Porgy: Eric Greene *
Bess: Talise Trevigne *

Sportin’ Life: Jermaine Smith *

Crown: Donovan Singletary *

Conductor: David Charles Abell
Director: Francesca Zambello

Associate Director: Garnett Bruce

Choreographer: Eric Sean Fogel

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess is partially underwritten by the Hall Family Foundation.



The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (2017)

Music by Mason Bates

Libretto by Mark Campbell

A new production for Lyric Opera of Kansas City, co-produced with Atlanta Opera and Austin Opera

Four performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

  • Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 5, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m.

The Fascinating Facets of Steve Jobs

Meet the young hippie who shared friendship and work with Woz (Steve Wozniak). See the hopeful beginning and coldhearted ending of his marriage to first wife Chrisann. Trace his relationship with second wife Laurene, who stays the course. Watch as he transforms from idealist to hard-edged businessman who exploits his friends’ ideas and sacrifices principles to the deity of capitalism. Understand the influence of his spiritual advisor. Hear the story of Steve Jobs in a new way — a way that sings with music such as “The Stage of a Convention Center,” “The Rise and Fall of Steve Jobs,” “You’ve Become One of the People We Hated” and “And Now He Is Gone.”

Cast and Artistic Team

Steve Jobs: John Moore

Laurene Powell Jobs: Sarah Larsen

Kōbun: Wei Wu *

Steve Wozniak: Bille Bruley *
Chrisann Brennan: Madison Leonard *

Conductor: Michael Christie
Director: Tomer Zvulun


Carmen (1875)

Music by Georges Bizet

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Based on Carmen, a novella by Prosper Merimee

Production owned by Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Sung in French with English subtitles

Last performed by Lyric Opera of Kansas City in 2016

Four performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

  • Saturday, April 24, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 30, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 2, 2021, 2 p.m.

The Passion that Consumes Carmen’s Lovers … and Carmen

The provocative gypsy who charms all men (and upsets all women) sings and dances to seduce the soldier Don Jose after he arrests her for attacking a woman with a knife. Rather than imprison her, Jose falls head over heels for Carmen, freeing her and leaving his post to be with her and her smuggler friends. When Jose leaves the den of thieves to see his dying mother, Carmen takes up with Escamillo the bullfighter. In the final act, Escamillo enters the bullfighting arena with Carmen by his side, and Jose appears, begging Carmen to return to him, but she rejects him and he stabs her to death. Music that powerfully conveys the burning emotions of the story includes the famous Habanera, or “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Love is a Rebellious Bird),” and “Votre toast (Toreador Song).”

Cast and Artistic Team

Carmen: Ginger Costa-Jackson *

Don Jose: Eric Fennell *

Escamillo: Christian Pursell *
Micaela: Celine Byrne *

Conductor: Emmanuel Plasson*
Director : Kathleen Belcher

* Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut


Tickets and Group Discounts

Season subscribers have access to the best seats at the best prices, with savings of up to 43 percent compared with the cost of single tickets. They also have the opportunity either to keep their original seats or secure new seats before ticket sales open to the general public. Subscribers to the 2020-2021 season will receive subscription renewal information soon and will have until May 11 to renew or improve their current subscriptions and seat locations. Reservations for new subscriptions will go on sale to the general public at the same time, but renewing subscribers receive priority seating. Season packages range from $84 to $537. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public Monday, July 13, which is preceded by Subscriber Courtesy Week, July 6-12, when subscribers can purchase additional single tickets to any show with their 25 percent discount. For ticket information, visit or contact Lyric Opera Ticketing and Patron Services, (816) 471-7344.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City is happy to accommodate groups of all sizes, with added perks like FREE seats for event organizers, pre-opera entertainment and dining discounts. Plus, orders of 10 or more seats receive up to a 25 percent discount. Groups can reserve tickets beginning July 13. For more information about group ticket services and discounts, contact Ashley Benes, or (816) 802-6078.