It was 2 a.m. when the band finally quit playing, signaling the end of The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s opening night performance and gala ball, which raised $625,000 for the company.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, about 3,500 people crowded the Civic Opera House for champagne, hors d’oeuvres and a first look at Mascagni’s "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Leoncavallo’s "Pagliacci," the so-called "heavenly twins" of opera repertoire.

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