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R&B superstar R. Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trialAssociated Presson September 27, 2021 at 7:29 pm

NEW YORK — R. Kelly, the R&B superstar known for his anthem “I Believe I Can Fly,” was convicted Monday in a sex trafficking trial after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children.

A jury of seven men and five women found Kelly guilty of racketeering on their second day of deliberations.

The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls — and keep them obedient and quiet — amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.

For years, the public and news media seemed to be more amused than horrified by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly’s illegal marriage to the R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15.

His records and concert tickets kept selling. Other artists continued to record his songs, even after he was arrested in 2002 and accused of making a recording of himself sexually abusing and urinating on a 14-year-old girl.

Widespread public condemnation didn’t come until a widely watched docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” helped make his case a signifier of the #MeToo era, and gave voice to alleged victims who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.

At the trial, several of Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and prevent possible harassment by the singer’s fans. Jurors were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who “maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook.”

The defense labeled the accusers “groupies” and “stalkers.”

Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick questioned why the alleged victims stayed in relationships with Kelly if they thought they were being exploited.

“You made a choice,” Cannick told one woman who testified, adding, “You participated of your own will.”

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since in 2019. The trial was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and Kelly’s last-minute shakeup of his legal team.

When it finally started on Aug. 18, prosecutors painted the 54-year-old singer as a pampered man-child and control freak. His accusers said they were under orders to call him “Daddy,” expected to jump and kiss him anytime he walked into a room, and to cheer only for him when he played pickup basketball games in which they said he was a ball hog.

The accusers alleged that they also were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as “Rob’s rules.” Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.

Among the other more troubling tableaus: Kelly keeping a gun by his side while he berated one of his accusers as a prelude to forcing her to give him oral sex in a Los Angeles music studio; Kelly giving several alleged victims herpes without disclosing he had an STD; Kelly coercing a teen boy to join him for sex with a naked girl who emerged from underneath a boxing ring in his garage; and Kelly shooting a shaming video of one alleged victim showing her smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.

Some of the most harrowing testimony came from a woman who said Kelly took advantage of her in 2003 when she was an unsuspecting radio station intern. She testified he whisked her to his Chicago recording studio, where she was kept locked up and was drugged before he sexually assaulted her while she was passed out.

When she realized she was trapped, “I was scared. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed,” she said.

She said one of R. Kelly’s employees warned her to keep her mouth shut about what had happened.

Other testimony focused on Kelly’s relationship with Aaliyah. One of the final witnesses described seeing him sexually abusing her around 1993, when Aaliyah was only 13 or 14.

Jurors also heard testimony about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated Aaliyah. Witnesses said they were married in matching jogging suits using a license falsely listing her age as 18; he was 27 at the time.

Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.

In at least one instance, Kelly was accused of abusing a victim around the time he was under investigation in a child pornography case in Chicago. He was acquitted at trial in 2008.

For the Brooklyn trial, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly barred people not directly involved in the case from the courtroom in what she called a coronavirus precaution. Reporters and other spectators had to watch on a video feed from another room in the same building.

The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Trial dates in those cases have yet to be set.

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Apollo ChorusChicago Magazineon September 27, 2021 at 7:17 pm

Apollo Chorus

The Apollo Chorus of Chicago returns to celebrate its historic 150th season.

The chorus was founded in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, to restore civic pride and boost the morale of Chicagoans following incredible devastation. This year, we are hoping to do the same with our sesquicentennial season titled: We Will Rise.

Explore our anniversary season on our website at www.apollochorus.org or text APOLLO to 90206.

We Will Rise:
Celebrating Apollo’s 150th Anniversary

Saturday, October 16, 11 a.m.
Chicago History Museum
In collaboration with the Chicago History Museum, this program includes works celebrating Chicago’s rich history — including music by Chicago composers, poets, and famous pieces featuring our city.

Fall Preview Concert

Sunday, November 7, 3 p.m.
Kehrein Center for the Arts
This free concert offers a variety of music, including thrilling choruses from Händel’s Messiah, Bach’s St John Passion, and other musical gems.

Händel’s Messiah

Saturday, December 11, 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 12, 2 p.m.
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
The Chicago holiday tradition continues with internationally acclaimed soloists: soprano Nicole Cabell, mezzo-soprano Julie Miller, tenor Stephen Soph, and bass-baritone David Govertsen.

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The Poetry FoundationChicago Magazineon September 27, 2021 at 7:17 pm

The Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization and a home for poetry in Chicago. Hosting a number of free virtual events including poetry readings, writing workshops, and book clubs, the Poetry Foundation has something for poetry lovers and the culturally curious alike, including a first-ever outdoor art installation on the Foundation building’s exterior in Chicago.

Starting in October, visitors can immerse themselves in an outdoor visual and light installation that will embrace and transform the building exterior.

The Foundation building remains closed to the public to prioritize the safety and well-being of its staff, guests, and the broader community; this includes all in-person programming. Explore our free virtual programs, poems, and resources at poetryfoundation.org.

Young People’s Poetry Day with Marilyn Nelson

Saturday, September 25, 11 a.m.
Celebrate young poetry lovers with a reading, Q&A, and guided activities

Open Door Reading Series: Matt Bodett, Amanda Goldblatt, Isaías Rogel, & Ricardo Mondragon

Tuesday, October 12, 7 p.m.
Highlighting outstanding Midwest writers and poetic partnerships

2021 Pegasus Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, October 21, 7 p.m.
Honoring some of the brightest lights in contemporary poetry, featuring Chicago’s own Patricia Smith

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Lakefront Dwellers Await a Plan as Beaches DisappearLynette Smithon September 27, 2021 at 6:58 pm

For 43 years, Tom Heineman has lived on Eastlake Terrace in Rogers Park, a three-block-long street that runs past three beaches: Juneway, Rogers, and Howard. Every summer, he walked out the front door of his building, crossed the street to Rogers Beach Park, and dipped into the water.

Then came the winter of 2019–20. The lake rose to near record high levels. Violent waves coursed up the sand and overran the breakwalls. To save the parks — and the street — the Chicago Department of Transportation spent $1 million to cover Eastlake Terrace’s beaches with tons of white riprap — loose stone intended to prevent erosion. Now the beaches are gone, and so is Eastlake Terrace’s intimate relationship with Lake Michigan.

“We used to have lifeguards, we used to have sand,” Heineman said. “In the morning, people would come out of the woodwork to swim and do paddleboarding. My grandkids used to come over and visit, and they’d go to the beach. Now they go to Loyola.”

Down at the other end of the lakefront, in South Shore, the lake destroyed the private beach behind Jera Slaughter’s building at 7321 S. South Shore Drive.

“The waves shot up to the top of our 12-story building,” Slaughter said. “Water came into the building and uprooted our trees and our patio. We’re still structurally sound, but we no longer have a beach. We have Jersey barriers, bricks, and concrete blocks.”

Earlier this year, to protect Arthur Ashe Beach Park, the city piled riprap at the foot of 74th Street, cutting off access to the water. In Rogers Park and South Shore, the riprap is “temporary emergency work,” according to a CDOT spokesman. Residents in both neighborhoods are hoping for permanent protection from rising lake levels that scientists say are the result of climate change. Slaughter, a member of the South Side Lake Front Erosion Task Force, wants a breakwall between 71st and 75th Streets.

“We do not expect them to repair our property,” she said. “We expect them to slow the force of the water to protect our property.”

It could be a long wait. Next year, the Army Corps of Engineers is slated to receive $500,000 in funding for the Chicago Shoreline General Reevaluation Report, a three-year study that will identify stretches of the lakefront damaged by the high waters of the last few years.

The length of the study, plus the need to obtain funding for its recommendations, means that new work won’t begin until 2028, said David Bucaro, chief of project management for the Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District.

The corps’s last such study, which was completed in 1994, resulted in the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project, two dozen improvements between Montrose Pier and the South Water Purification Plant, at a total cost of $536 million. One of the still-unrepaired sections is Morgan Shoal, between 47th and 51st Streets, where the breakwall is cracked and battered; black trapezoidal sandbags have been installed to protect the lakefront path. CDOT hopes to begin design this fall on a $71 million repair.

“There are many other reaches of the shoreline that were not included, and it’s been 25 years,” Bucaro said. “In that time, the shoreline has further degraded, and conditions have changed.”

The new study will take a close look at six areas the city has identified as priorities for lakefront improvements: Juneway Terrace to Osterman Beach; Montrose Hook Pier; North Avenue Beach to Oak Street Beach; LaRabida Children’s Hospital; 71st Street to 75th Street; and Rainbow Beach to the South Water Purification Plant.

Joel Brammeier, CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, hopes the solution isn’t simply pouring concrete to wall off the city from the lake. He’s a fan of the Friends of the Parks’ Last Four Miles Plan, which proposes building out the beaches both north and south of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, fulfilling Daniel Burnham’s plan to achieve the long-standing goal of a “forever open, clear, and free” lakefront.

“Riprap and giant sandbags are short-term fixes,” Brammeier said. “They don’t make the shoreline more resilient. The most resilient form of shoreline is things like beaches.”

In the past, the Last Four Miles Plan has been opposed by lakefront homeowners who didn’t want to lose their private beaches. However, Ald. Maria Hadden says she’s been hearing less opposition recently in her 49th Ward, which encompasses Rogers Park, since buildings have suffered expensive damage from attacking waves.

“It would be really nice to have a continuous connection to Evanston and the rest of the city,” Hadden said. “The general idea sounds excellent to me.”

Downtown, 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins has proposed using landfill to expand Oak Street Beach and add 70 acres of parkland east of DuSable Lake Shore Drive to protect the highway.

Expanding beaches is “a measure we would evaluate,” the Corps of Engineers’ Bucaro said.

In the meantime, lakefront dwellers are literally battening down the hatches to defend their buildings from the lake. Todd Rosenthal, who lives on the shoreline side of Eastlake, installed a rolling metal gate over his glass patio door after “the waves were hitting my window.”

“We want experts to not just manage us in a crisis, but come up with a comprehensive plan,” Hadden said.

That plan is coming, but will it come soon enough for the lakefront’s most threatened beaches and buildings?

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Man who shot Ronald Reagan to be freed from oversightAssociated Presson September 27, 2021 at 4:21 pm

A federal judge said Monday that John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan four decades ago, can be freed from all remaining restrictions next year if he continues to follow those rules and remains mentally stable.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington said during a 90-minute court hearing that he’ll issue his ruling on the plan this week.

Since Hinckley moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, from a Washington hospital in 2016, court-imposed restrictions have required doctors and therapists to oversee his psychiatric medication and therapy. Hinckley has been barred from having a gun. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims or their families, or actress Jodie Foster, who he was obsessed with at the time of the 1981 shooting.

Friedman said Hinckley, now 66, has displayed no symptoms of active mental illness, no violent behavior and no interest in weapons since 1983.

“If he hadn’t tried to kill the president, he would have been unconditionally released a long, long, long time ago,” the judge said. “But everybody is comfortable now after all of the studies, all of the analysis and all of the interviews and all of the experience with Mr. Hinckley.”

Friedman said the plan is to release Hinckley from all court supervision in June.

A 2020 violence risk assessment conducted on behalf of Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health concluded that Hinckley would not pose a danger if he’s unconditionally released.

The U.S. government had previously opposed ending restrictions. But it recently retained an independent expert to examine Hinckley and took a different position Monday, with attorneys saying they would agree to unconditional release if Hinckley follows the rules and shows mental stability for the next nine months.

Kacie Weston, an attorney for the U.S. government, said it wants to make sure Hinckley can adapt to living on his own for the first time in 40 years.

He recently moved out his mother’s house, which sits along a golf course in a gated community in Williamsburg. She died in July. Attorneys did not say where Hinckley is currently living.

“Mr. Hinckley does have a history of turning inward, and toward isolation,” Weston said.

Another concern is the impending retirement of one of Hinckley’s therapists and the looming end to a therapy group, which has provided much support and social interaction. Weston said Hinckley will likely face challenges finding a similar group in the future.

“All we have to do is wait a few more months and see,” Weston said. “And we’ll have actual hard data. We’ll have information in real time to see how Mr. Hinckley adapts.”

Hinckley was 25 when he shot and wounded the 40th U.S. president outside a Washington hotel. The shooting paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014. It also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.

Hinckley did not attend Monday’s hearing. But Barry Levine, his attorney, said Hinckley wanted to express his “heartfelt” apologies and “profound regret” to the people he shot and their families as well as to Foster and the American people.

“Perhaps it is too much to ask for forgiveness,” Levine said. “But we hope they have an understanding that the acts that caused him to do this terrible thing (were caused by) mental illness.”

Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis. When jurors found him not guilty by reason of insanity, they said he needed treatment and not a lifetime in confinement.

Such an acquittal meant that Hinckley could not be blamed or punished for what he did, legal experts have said. Hinckley was ordered to live at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington.

In the 2000s, Hinckley began making visits to his parents’ home in Williamsburg. A 2016 court order granted him permission to live with his mom full time after experts said his mental illness had been in remission for decades.

Friedman, the judge, has loosened some of Hinckley’s restrictions over the years. For instance, Hinckley was granted the right to publicly display his artwork and allowed to move out of his mother’s house. But he’s still barred from traveling to places where he knows there will be someone protected by the Secret Service.

Hinckley must give three days’ notice if he wants to travel more than 75 miles from home. He also has to turn over passwords for computers, phones and online accounts such as email.

In recent years, Hinckley has sold items from a booth at an antique mall that he’s found at estate sales, flea markets and consignment shops. He’s also shared his music on YouTube.

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18-year-old shot dead on Southwest Side had just returned home after spending day shopping with motherDavid Struetton September 27, 2021 at 5:55 pm

An 18-year-old was shot and killed over the weekend in West Elsdon on the Southwest Side had just returned home after a day spent with their mother.

Azul De La Garza was sitting in a parked car in the 5400 block of South Avers Avenue when someone approached and fired shots around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Chicago police said

De La Garza was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“It’s hard to put it in words the loss we’re feeling — for someone to take away my 18-year-old warrior princess,” the father Jose De La Gaza told reporters Sunday.

Azul De La Garza had spent the day with their mother and had just bought a halloween costume, sister Isabel de la Garza said.

Azul De La Garza had recently graduated from Solorio Academy, where they wrestled and won second place in a state tournament, the father said. They had a scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago this fall.

Azul De La Garza was “just doing everything the best way we taught her,” the father said.

De La Garza was one of at least nine people killed in weekend gun violence in Chicago.

An online fundraiser is collecting money for De La Garza’s family.

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National fee on carbon emissions best way to fight climate changeLetters to the Editoron September 27, 2021 at 6:03 pm

A number of things that I never dreamed I would see in my lifetime all came to be in a single summer:

Dozens of people dying in the Pacific Northwest due to a record-breaking heat wave, with temperatures over 110 degrees. People trapped and drowned in their own basements and vehicles as New York and New Jersey were flooded with rain. Firefighters wrapping 2,000-year-old California sequoia trees in fire retardant foil blankets in a last-ditch effort to save the fabled giants from fast-encroaching wildfires. And my own son telling me he’s not sure if bringing grandchildren into the world right now is such a good idea.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be approximately 350 words or less.

It’s the stuff of sleepless nights. But in the light of day, I calm down a little and realize that we still can do something to slow the climate change that is bringing on these extreme weather events. A simple and effective solution, a national carbon fee and dividend, is called for in a statement signed recently by more than 20 economists from around Illinois. A fee would be put on carbon emissions and the money would returned back to power utility consumers, spurring innovation and a transition to cleaner fuels. Economists have long supported carbon pricing as the simplest, most transparent and most effective single policy to draw down emissions.

Congress is debating what climate change measures should be written into the federal budget reconciliation bill. We, their constituents, should let them know we favor the most effective course of action — a price on carbon emissions. President Joe Biden, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and Sen. Dick Durbin know that each voice they hear from represents many other constituents who share those views.

Karen Campbell, Bolingbrook

No new taxpayer stadium for Bears

Eighteen years ago, Chicago went to bat for the Bears and renovated Soldier Field, compromising its status as a architecturally historic site. Now the Bears want a new stadium.

Is this quixotic venture worth it for Chicago, given the city’s other monetary problems?


Most of those who attend Bears games come in from the suburbs. How much do they really contribute to the city’s coffers during those few hours on a game day? The Bears should build their own new stadium, if that’s what they want. And if they do so in Arlington Heights, they should drop the “Chicago” from the team’s name.

Warren Rodgers, Jr., Matteson

Drivers and bike riders should shape up

A Sun-Times reader, James FitzGerald of Edgewater, recently wrote in response to my letter about motorists dangerously using electronic devices that bike riders don’t always follow the rules of the road, either. I’d like to commend him on a very valid point. Both cyclists and motorists need to be held accountable.

John Livaich, Oak Lawn

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New Fave: Ancestral EatsLynette Smithon September 27, 2021 at 6:33 pm

Most pop-up operators talk about one day getting bricks and mortar of their own. Not Ruba Hassan, who’s perfectly content running Yamma in the kitchen of Pint, a Wicker Park pub with a British phone box out front and a deep-seated spirit of Chicago grunge inside. “I like that it’s in the pub — just like in England, where they have Indian food in pubs,” she says. “I’d like to stay here as long as I can.”

Hassan serves the Palestinian cooking of her Chicago family’s heritage, which is familiar from other Levantine cultures but specific in its seasoning and presentation. A lamb meshwi wrap ($17) holds fall-apart chunks of braised meat with khyar bi laban (cucumber yogurt), sharp turnip pickles, tahini, and veg in a thin shrak flatbread. I’m also smitten with the green, crunchy lentil fritters. You can order these fritters and their accompaniments in a bowl ($13) bedded with maftoul (pearl couscous). I don’t imagine there’s a better vegetarian meal at that price in Wicker Park.

The small plates are intended as bar munchies, so order a pint and some fried shish bites ($10) — chicken nuggets in a feathery chickpea batter — along with a bowlful of fried chickpeas ($5). Pub grub just got a lot more interesting.

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Lyric Opera’s ‘Elixir of Love’ a fabulous dose of lighthearted escapism served up by dazzling castWynne Delacoma – For the Sun-Timeson September 27, 2021 at 5:34 pm

The magic potion at the heart of Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love” is fake: cheap wine peddled by a dubious “doctor.” This miraculous brew, he says, can solve the knottiest romantic problem after a sip or two.

There is nothing faintly phony, however, about Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of the tenderly comic love story unveiled Sunday afternoon at the Lyric Opera House. Set in an Italian beach hotel in the 1950s, the production is heart-wrenching and high-spirited, an expert blend of gentle slapstick and sincere emotion.

‘The Elixir of Love’: 4 out of 4


Director Daniel Slater, designer Robert Innes Hopkins and conductor Enrique Mazzola clearly have a united, nuanced vision of this updating of the story of Nemorino, a poor waiter, pining after Adina, the town beauty. “Elixir of Love” had its premiere in 1832, but Lyric’s version, first seen at England’s Opera North, dispenses with both happy peasants and aristocratic period flourishes.

In this production Adina (Ailyn Perez) owns the chic, beachside Hotel Adina. A striped canvas roof shelters the large patio set with airy, white metal chairs and tables. Tourists in 1950s fashion — the women in mid-calf Chanel suits, full-skirted sun dresses and kitten-heeled shoes, the men in Panama hats and comfortable suits — lounge at the tables, smoking, drinking and reading newspapers. Nemorino’s rival for Adina, the handsome naval captain Belcore (Joshua Hopkins), blows into port on a zippy silver moped. The quack doctor, Dulcamara (Kyle Ketelsen), descends from the sky in a hot air balloon.

Kyle Ketelsen as the carnation-wearing Dulcamara (from left), Ailyn Perez as Adina and Joshua Hopkins as Belcore are shown in a scene from “The Elixir of Love” at Lyric Opera of Chicago.Cory Weaver

Mazzola, Lyric’s newly arrived music director, has focused on bel canto opera and early Verdi in recent years. He opened Lyric’s season Sept. 17 with a chillingly dark but never muddy reading of Verdi’s “Macbeth.” His “Elixir” offers a deft balance between bel canto’s crisp, high-flying, ornamented melodies and heftier early Verdi. At the end of Act I, Nemorino (Charles Castronovo) begs Adina not to marry Belcore. A lone, plaintive wind note punctuates his ardent, long-lined song. Those rounded, sporadic toots were faintly comic, but they fit seamlessly into the orchestral texture, never disrupting the overall mood. Likewise with the whirling flute phrases that often accent Adina’s arias. Satiny and rich rather than hectic and brittle, they portrayed her as a thoughtful, freedom-loving young woman rather than a heartless flirt.

Lyric’s cast is stellar. Castronovo is one of the world’s finest tenors, and he brought the full power of his warm, virile voice to the role. The opera’s most famous aria, “Una furtiva lagrima (A single secret tear),” is a showcase for tenors, and Castronovo’s performance took us into the deepest recesses of its slow, uncluttered melodies. Aided by an empathic orchestra, his simple, lyrical phrases had room to breathe. Encouraged by Adina’s hidden tear, Nemorino begins to believe she might actually care for him. Savoring the silences between phrases, sending Donizetti’s heartfelt melodies to Lyric’s rafters, Castronovo revealed the full force of Nemorino’s hopeful yearning.

And, like the rest of his cast, he is a skillful actor. Thoroughly soused after chugging the full bottle of elixir, he was no longer the impoverished, timid, love-sick waiter. Donning sunglasses, tying his necktie around his head, for one brief, hilarious moment Nemorino was an Italian Elvis, one with absolutely no plans to leave the building.

Ailyn Perez was Castronovo’s equal in every way. Her powerful, agile soprano is bright and clear, but with a burnished sheen. She navigated Donizetti’s wide leaps and plunges with aplomb and flung his virtuoso flights into the air like so much golden confetti. Perky but business-like in a pink silk shantung pantsuit, her Adina was a young woman savoring her ability to flit among boyfriends. But we never doubted her warm heart.

With his rich baritone, Hopkins’s Belcore was much more than a self-important lothario. Yes, he looked hot in his navy whites, and he loved the sound of his own resonant voice. But skillfully skirting slapstick, his naval captain was delightfully believable: your average, good-looking bro’ too clueless to recognize that his usual magic isn’t working. Ketelsen’s Dulcamara, on the other hand, noticed everything. Tailoring his quack remedies to the crowd — Wrinkle cream for middle-aged ladies? Old codgers craving cough syrup? — he hawked his wares in a booming, fast-paced bass-baritone. Agile and light-footed, he was as cheerful and wily as a vaudeville barker. As tourists and townspeople, hotel staff and visiting sailors, the crisp, energetic Lyric chorus added to the fun.

For an audience battered by months of COVID-19, Lyric’s “Elixir” is a genuine tonic for the spirit.

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