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A New Day, A New Don | Newcity Stage
The cast of "Don Quichotte"/Photo: Todd Rosenberg Photography RECOMMENDED In a season that has Chicago's French opera lovers salivating, Lyric Opera opens Jules Massenet's "Don Quichotte" in the same week as Hector Berlioz's "Les Troyens." Both rarely heard gems are enjoying the highest level of singing and overall production. Just as "Troyens" was Berlioz's love-child, Massenet, the operatic son of the overarching artistic school of impressionism, put aside other works to lavish his affections on "Don Quichotte." Composing mostly in bed as he wended toward an arthritic death, he identified with the infirm, gallant Don Quixote in love with his Dulcinea. Massenet was in love with mezzo-soprano Lucy Arbell, for whom he fashioned the role of the beautiful Dulcinée. With frequent librettist Henri Cain, Massenet constructed a sequence of musical poems paying respect to Cervantes' novel, elevating the role of leading lady from unassuming rustic to hot-and-cold urban beauty. Director Matthew