Chicago lady leaves $10 million to the opera

Chicago lady leaves $10 million to the opera


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2017

Nancy Welch Knowles, who has died aged 86, left $10 million in her will to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

It is the company’s the largest individual gift in 63 years.

She also gave Elmhurst Hospital the largest bequest in its history.

Mrs Knowles was the widow of a hearing aids inventor.


  • herrera says:

    Is that what Chiraq, the gun murder capital of the US, really needs, $10 million for better opera?

    Yes! $10,000,000 will bring Netrebko to Chicago to sing Aida with Muti who will inspire the residents of the South Side to spend an evening downtown admiring a strong African female icon which will reduce the chances of their being gunned down in a drive-by shooting.

    • NYMike says:

      Your view of Chicago is such, that I advise you never to go there to enjoy its world-class architecture, opera, symphony, science and art museums. Why risk being gunned down by its roving gangs of murderous thugs, eh?

    • Bruce says:

      Agreed! Chicago should spend no money on anything else until gun violence is eradicated within the greater metropolitan area.

  • Scott (born and raised in Chicago) says:

    For the period 2010-2015, Chicago was 18th in per capita gun deaths among American cities. New Orleans, Detroit, Saint Louis, and Baltimore had more than twice the per capita rate.

    For non-fatal shootings, Chicago was in 11th place. Saint Louis had more that six times as many.

    • Sue says:

      Those are horrific statistics. I think it’s great that somebody endows a significant amount of money for the arts – especially when there is also a bequest to a medical facility.

      • Mark Henriksen says:

        NIH, alone, invests over 32 billion in medical research every while the government gives almost nothing to classical music. So I don’t begrudge private donations to the arts.

    • Bruce says:

      “New Orleans, Detroit, Saint Louis, and Baltimore had more than twice the per capita rate.”

      Yes, but Chicago had more than twice the media coverage.

  • IL guy says:

    In the past, she did make a $10 million gift to the Lyric. Are you saying that there is an additional $10 million listed in her will? Source of this info? No one else is making this claim.

    And this is not a gun control post or a shooting match. Try to be relevant to the original posting, OK?