Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Have you heard? THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a hit!

The reviews are in…and they are spectacular! Critics are raving about Lyric's new production of  The Sound of Music. Here's a sampling of what they are saying about the fantastic cast, lavish sets, and gorgeous music.

The reviews are in…and they are spectacular! Critics are raving about Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music. Here's a sampling of what they are saying:

The larger-than-life production

"The Lyric Opera of Chicago finds a sweet Alpine spot with director Marc Bruni's admirably lively new production of 'The Sound of Music,' a lavish yet accessible and family-oriented affair that features…gorgeous picture-book design from Michael Yeargan…" - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

"Lyric’s extraordinary production, elegantly directed by Marc Bruni, takes all the great qualities of the show to present a grand scale, stunning production the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture 

The Sound of Music "make[s] full use of the Civic Opera House's grand stage, from towering tableaus of the abbey to the irresistible moment when all seven of the von Trapp children ride onstage on matching but custom-sized bicycles—talk about commitment to a production aesthetic." - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

"Lyric Opera of Chicago's 'The Sound of Music' is every bit the grand production you'd expect from one of the country's leading opera companies." - Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald

The beloved story

"It's remarkable how such a well-known story can still generate chuckles and gasps, even upon the umpteenth viewing" - Elizabeth Diffin, Chicago Parent 

The fantastic cast

"I can't recall a revival so perfectly cast." - Roy Leonard, Chicago Now

"…pert-yet-powerful [Jenn] Gambatese…makes this role her own. She has a broad smile that matches her captivating performance that leaves the heart warmed and the spirited lifted with her every song note." - Phil Potempa, Northwest Indiana Times

"…tying it together, providing that intangible element allowing this 'Music' to really sing, is Gambatese’s brilliant portrayal of Maria." - Barry Reszel, Make It Better

"Billy Zane…has just the right tone for the stern Captain whose militaristic demeanor melts away when he realizes that Maria has brought back music into his life" - Roy Leonard, Chicago Now

"…the seven von Trapp children—pros beyond their years—are the production's greatest delight…" - Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader

"Beautifully majestic…Christine Brewer as the Mother Abbess. Her operatic 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' will bring tears to your eyes." - Dean Richards, WGN-TV

Elizabeth Futral "moved with the studied grace of one who is accustomed to having all eyes on her in the room.…This soprano is also a bitingly clever actor, one who knows how to fling a casual aside to the back of the house." - Nancy Malitz, Chicago on the Aisle

Edward Hibbert "is superb as character man/comic relief/realist/impresario Max Detweiler, showing he is a true pro in every sense of the word." - Paul W. Thompson, Broadway World

"Betsy Farrar is a lovely, believable Liesl … 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen' [is] beautifully sung and danced with a charming Zach Sorrow as Rolf, thankfully avoiding the angry young man syndrome found in most portrayals" - Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review

The beautiful music

"…Richard Rodgers himself couldn't imagine a more ideal way of hearing his score…" - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

"The Lyric Orchestra, under the masterful conductor Rob Fisher, does justice to Richard Rodgers fabulous score." - Tom Williams, Chicago Critic

"…probably the best chorus of Nonnberg nuns the world has ever heard" - Paul W. Thompson, Broadway World

Don't miss it!

"The sound of perfection...best stage show we've had in Chicago in years." - Dean Richards, WGN-TV

"In the Lyric Opera’s capable hands, The Sound of Music has retained its appeal for audiences of all ages. The hills are alive, indeed." - Elizabeth Diffin, Chicago Parent 

"…fans of the film and stage show—especially those introducing their children to it—will find it faithful, beautiful, and bigger than they're ever likely to see it again." - Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader

"Who knew that the Lyric would do more than just revive the musical but give it the definitive production that the stage show has always deserved." - Michael J. Roberts, Showbiz Chicago

 "This production is absolutely wonderful." - Andrew Patner, WFMT

Photo credit: 

  • Maria and the von Trapp children perform "The Lonely Goatherd" in The Sound of Music. Top row: Isabelle Roberts, Julia Schweizer, Brady Tutton. Middle row: KyLee Hennes, Jenn Gambatese, Nicole Scimeca. Bottom: Michael Harp. (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

Critics' guide to THE GUIDE

"The Guide has proven itself to be a superb idea—...in both formats, breaking down barriers....[It's] sure to bring more first-timers to next season’s series of eight major works in Lyric’s 'Operaland' and give much amusement to that world’s present inhabitants. Let’s hope this becomes an annual enterprise with fresh material each year." – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

Second City stage

Why are Chicago critics and audiences raving about Jeff Recommended The Second City Guide to the Opera?

The comedy:

 • "[I]mprovisers and actors Joey Bland, Molly Brennan, Lili-Anne Brown, Beth Melewski, Timothy Sniffen and Tim Ryder...send up the tropes of their discipline with precision blackout sketches, traditional Second City-style songs and recurring bits like 'Dr. Opera,' featuring classic characters in therapy." – Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

• "One had the sense that some in the crowd were experiencing the manifestation of their wildest dreams: a chance to laugh, all night long, at a 'Ring Cycle' curtain announcement." – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune  

The music:

• Ryan Opera Center alumnus "tenor Bernard Holcomb['s]...comedic chops and 'let’s put on a show!' enthusiasm are...infectious. Prominent Ryan alumna mezzo Lauren Curnow has joined the cast, and both singers...have solo musical turns. [T]he musical numbers are...quite touching and in the small setting, even poignant."             – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

The onstage seating:

• "...[A] soprano's-eye view from the stage of [the Civic Opera House,] one of Chicago's most essential treasures, illuminated for the occasion. Sketch comedy never looked classier." – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The spirit of collaboration and fun: 

• "...[M]asterful in the way it rides the line between catering to Lyric regulars and opera newbies." – Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

• "The Guide has proven itself to be a superb idea...in both formats, breaking down barriers....[It's] sure to bring more first-timers to next season’s series of eight major works in Lyric’s 'Operaland' and give much amusement to that world’s present inhabitants. Let’s hope this becomes an annual enterprise with fresh material each year." – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

Critics sing OKLAHOMA!'s praises

"There has to be an entry for 'Yee-HA!' in the critic’s lexicon, or there’s no adequate word for the stylish, funny, handsomely sung production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Lyric again demonstrates a serious commitment of resources and the highest standard of theatrical excellence in the most embracing sense. This high-spirited, downhome Oklahoma! is an absolute joy." – Lawrence B. Johnson,Chicago on the Aisle

• "Gary Griffin's grand production by Lyric Opera [is] a joyous revelation." – John Olson, Chicago Theater Beat

• "Under the direction of Gary Griffin, the baton of James Lowe, the choreography of Gemze de Lappe, this is as good as it gets. The romance charms. The comedy crackles. And the singing enchants. I grinned the entire time. I knew exactly what was going to happen every moment but I stayed on high alert. I didn’t want to miss one note, one step, one kiss. Oklahoma! is like stepping back into a favorite memory and having a superior ensemble reenact it for your personal pleasure. And this ensemble is superior." – Katy Walsh, ChicagoNow      

• "There has to be an entry for 'Yee-HA!' in the critic’s lexicon, or there’s no adequate word for the stylish, funny, handsomely sung production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Confirming the impression it made a year ago with Show Boat, its splendid first venture into the American musical, Lyric Opera again demonstrates a serious commitment of resources and the highest standard of theatrical excellence in the most embracing sense. This high-spirited, downhome Oklahoma! is an absolute joy." – Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago on the Aisle

Congratulations to the entire Oklahoma! team on a triumphant production and an auspicious launch to Lyric's five-year exploration of Rodgers & Hammerstein's oeuvre.

CRUZAR by the numbers

"...[A] moving story with universal appeal, performed with enormous zest and color..." – John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune                                   

Cruzar

 • "...[A] moving story with universal appeal, performed with enormous zest and color..." – John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

• "...[A] remarkably compelling and compact work... [A] persuasive immigration story told in heartfelt musical terms..." – Dennis Polkow, Newcity Stage

• "...[A]n emotional journey for the audience, especially for those who are reminded of their own story or that of a relative..."– Gisela Orozco, Hoy Chicago 

• "The energy of Martinez and his fellow musicians was tremendous. ...All the songs were beautifully performed by the Vargas group and the actor-singers." – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times  

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world's first mariachi opera, first commissioned by Lyric general director Anthony Freud when he was with Houston Opera, is the story of "one family, two countries, one life-changing secret."  Presented in April by Lyric Unlimited, the new audience development and community engagement branch of Lyric Opera. Let's look a little bit closer at Cruzar by the numbers

• Approximately 7520 total audience members attended Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at one of 5 performances.

• Cruzar was presented at 3 venues in 3 different neighborhoods: the Civic Opera House in Chicago's Loop, Benito Juárez Academy in Pilsen on Chicago's South Side, and the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on Chicago's North Shore.

• 42% of the Cruzar audience members at the Civic Opera House were attending their first performance at Lyric.

• 2 internationally renowned mariachi groups performed in Cruzar in Chicago: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and Mariachi Aztlán.

• Cruzar is the 1st Spanish-language composition performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein summarizes: "By presenting the Midwest premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) as the latest project of its Lyric Unlimited program, the company fulfilled several objectives. It reached out to members of the city’s Mexican and Latino communities through an art form many of them had never experienced before. It promoted cross-cultural understanding. It called attention to the multicultural diversity and vitality that help to make Chicago unique among major American cities. It made potential new friends for the company while exposing Lyric regulars to a more populist form of entertainment than they are used to." BRAVO to all who made Cruzar a tremendous success

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