One of the world's most acclaimed sopranos Christine Brewer stars as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. But when she's not solving a problem like Maria, what does she enjoy? Here's a glimpse into her very busy and very fun life from A League of Their Own to the annual Brewer Hootenanny.

One of the world's most acclaimed sopranos (BBC Music even named her one of the top 20 sopranos of all time!), Christine Brewer stars as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. With her soaring and powerful voice, she will certainly make "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" one of the show's most memorable moments.

But when she's not solving a problem like Maria, what does she enjoy? Christine Brewer gives us a glimpse into her very busy and very fun life!

Movie

It's hard to choose just one favorite movie, but one that is certainly in my top five favorites would be A League of Their Own. Such a fantastic cast! Favorite quote from the film is "There's no crying in baseball!"  I grew up in a family of jocks, so that quote rang true to me as I recalled the times my dad said that when he coached the women's/girl's softball team. My mom was the pitcher on the team, and I was the less-than-adequate right fielder!

 

TV Shows 

I love watching CBS Sunday Morning. When I'm home, it is a ritual for my husband Ross and me to fix breakfast together and watch the program. My guilty pleasure TV show is Nashville; even though it's pretty much a soap opera, the music on the show is fantastic! 

 

Hobby 

I'm not sure this is a hobby, but my husband and I have been renovating a home we bought in Lebanon, Illinois [near St. Louis] more than 20 years ago. It was built in 1874 and is in the historic district of Lebanon, about two blocks from McKendree University where I met Ross and where we got married in the Chapel there. It is one of those never-ending projects, and there always seems to be something that needs to be done, but we love the house and its character.

Animals 

We've always had dogs and cats in our house, mostly strays and rescued. We currently have two old male cats, Don and Ben (named Benjamin Britten by my daughter) and a 12-year-old collie mix named Macy. We travel with Macy whenever possible, but the cats prefer to stay home with the house-sitter!

Historical figure 

One of my favorite historical figures is Susan B. Anthony. Her dedication to women's rights and getting the women's right to vote were so brave and noble. And to think that she didn't live long enough to see the 19th Amendment pass in 1920 makes her life story even more poignant.

Scent or smell 

How my little 7-month-old grandson Oscar smells after he's had a bath.

Motto 

There's a song by Frank La Forge called "Hills" (poet Arthur Guiterman). I've sung it many times in recitals and have also recorded it. The final phrase is "God give me hills and strength for climbing." My mom used to say when I was struggling with something, "Why, that's no hill for a stepper!" So when I came across this song, that last phrase really stuck with me and has become sort of a motto for me!

Treasured possession 

I have a little framed picture of a four-leaf clover that my mom made for me years ago. Mom told me that she found the lucky clover in their yard. She wrote underneath it, "Good luck, sweet baby girl!" I carried it with me on trips and would put it on my night stand. After my mom died about 15 years ago, my daughter Elisabeth was on a trip with me, and she saw the picture. She said, "You know that's NOT a four-leaf clover, right?" And I told her the story of how Grandma Dee had made it for me. She started laughing and said, "I helped Grandma Dee make that and we just GLUED an extra leaf on that three-leaf clover we picked. Grandma said you would never know, and we laughed our heads off when we made it." That makes me cherish this even more now that my mom is gone, knowing this sweet story of how she and Elisabeth tricked me!

Annual party 

My husband and I host a party every year at the end of the summer in our back yard and we call it the Brewer Hootenanny. Ross plays guitar and dulcimer. I play guitar, mandolin, harmonica and gut bucket. We have around 100 family and friends gather every year, even some members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra who join us for some good old bluegrass, gospel, and folk music. We have some great food, drink and music-making.

Recording experience 

I sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with John Williams conducting and Lynn Harrell playing the cello solo to a Randy Kerber arrangement of the great Harold Arlen song. We did the recording in the same studio that Judy Garland recorded the song around 70 years ago! The project was part of a recording for HEARTbeats Organization with other artists like Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Jessye Norman and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

 

 

Photo credits:

  • Christine Brewer portrait (credit Christian Steiner)
  • Christine Brewer's home in Lebanon, IL (photos courtesy Christine Brewer)
  • Christine Brewer's dog, Macy (photo courtesy Christine Brewer)
  • Christine Brewer's grandson Oscar (photo courtesy Christine Brewer)
(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)