The Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced that it is near the completion of a replacement and reconfiguration of the seating for its theater.
The theater, which is 91-years-old, will have larger new seats throughout and a staggered configuration and widened aisles on the main floor. The changes are meant to improve sightlines, accessibility, and audience comfort. However, the new renovation will reduce capacity from 3,563 to 3,276.
The news comes as opera theaters are facing financial pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as the Lyric Opera was forced to cancel its entire 2020-21 season and pivot to the digital space. However, the company was able to move forward with the project thanks to a grant from a supporter.
According to the Chicago Suntimes, the donor asked to be anonymous and for the company not to reveal the sum of the donation.
The project is the first time the Lyric Opera does renovations to its theater since 1996 and this upcoming overhaul will be ready in time for the 2021-22 season.