Nancy Knowles, the former chair of Knowles Electronics, Inc., has announced she plans to leave a $10 million bequest to the , on whose board she has served since 1998. The gift is the largest single donation in the opera's fifty-three-year history, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Through the , which was founded by Knowles' late husband, Hugh, an audio engineer who helped develop the modern hearing aid, Knowles has made many donations to the Lyric, including an assistive listening system for its theater. An opera fan since childhood, Knowles is co-sponsoring the company's upcoming opening production, La Traviata, with a separate $100,000 donation.
"I love the Lyric," Knowles told the Tribune. "I think it is a very classy organization. I think it is well run. I think they do a fabulous job of fundraising — they don't leave an extra nickel in your pocket. I've been to other opera houses, but the Lyric, it's just gorgeous."