Lyric Opera // Chicago Voices


Lyric Opera of Chicago; Chicago Voices


Community Created Performances are original music theater works created and performed by community groups using a core element of opera: storytelling through song. The fig team was invited to create a film to promote the project and educate the community on why they should apply. The program, lead by soprano Renee Fleming, encourages people from all walks of life to tell their stories through song. The community group that is selected will receive support and talent from Lyric Opera of Chicago to produce a show. This is an amazing opportunity and we are inspired by the mission. Should you be interested, you can apply here: Chicago Voices

Big thanks again for the fantastic video! It was very well received and was a huge help in further explaining the Community Created Performances.
— Alejandra Valarino Boyer, Lyric Unlimited Manager
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Working with the Lyric Chicago and M4 fig developed a plan for filming the pilot program for Chicago Voices. We proposed a number of ideas, Lyric selected a documentary style piece using interviews and carefully crafted b-roll to tell their story. Executive Producers Michele and James Gustin, in collaboration with director Melissa Fox, put together a treatment for the film that was lively, engaged, classic and beautiful directing our filmmakers to shoot through objects, use reflections and compose foreground action with rehearsal always taking place in the background. We used Human, a as our inspiration for describing the kinds of interviews our team wanted to collect. While our original plan was to film our interview subjects from the Lyric stage, current productions pushed back our production so we opted to film from the balcony of the theater. 

Photo by Jaclyn Simpson


Filming took place in community theater spaces with Blu Rhythm Chicago, a community group empowering youth through the arts, as they completed their only and final performance for Chicago Voices. The show is a culmination of a six week program to write, produce, direct and perform a collaborative piece. Our team, Michele Gustin (Executive Producer) , James Gustin (Executive Producer and Cinematographer), Kevin Loiselle (Assistant Camera and Editor) and Pheobe Parker (Production Assistant) worked with Lyric and M4 to capture the spirit of the group on film. The show was received to a standing ovation, which our team used to complete the film. After the event Director Melissa Fox interviewed Blu Rhythm Chicago and our client Alejandra Boyer at the Lyric Chicago. Melissa focused on the emotional aspects of the program, gathering a heartfelt interview from its participants as well as coaching Alejandra to deliver her talking points on camera. 


Our film is currently being used on the Chicago Voices website to encourage people to apply for the program. Our client loved the work and has begun the process of booking our team for the next phase of the project. Once applications are complete, our team will film the stories selected for the public to vote on. After the community group is selected our team will then film a year long documentary on the process. We are excited to expand our project!