The Civic Opera Building, on the east bank of the Chicago River between Washington and Madison streets, is the permanent home of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Its 3,563-seat capacity makes it the second-largest opera auditorium in North America. The season runs from mid-September until late February, as well as a few other large-scale performances.
From its opening on Nov. 4, 1929 (just six days after the stock-market crash) until Lyric Opera of Chicago was founded in 1954 (as Lyric Theatre), the Civic Opera House was home to the Chicago Civic Opera, Chicago Grand Opera Company, Chicago City Opera Company and Chicago Opera Company.
In 1993, Lyric Opera of Chicago purchased all of the theater and backstage space in the Civic Opera Building. A massive $100-million renovation of the backstage area commenced in 1993, and continued during Lyric's off-seasons (mid-March through early September) through 1996.
The lobby and seating areas are open 45 minutes prior to each performance and there is no standing room. Valet parking is available weekday evenings and for all Saturday/Sunday performances for $15.