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)

 

Chorus Master Michael Black preps nuns and kids for THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Lyric's Chorus Master Michael Black has been preparing the chorus of nuns and the von Trapp children (14 total, including main cast and understudies!) for the upcoming production of The Sound of Music—no easy feat! He talks about the power of an opera chorus, his favorite parts of the show, and when he met Joakim Noah during rehearsal. 

Lyric's Chorus Master Michael Black has been preparing the chorus of nuns and the von Trapp children (14 total, including main cast and understudies!) for the upcoming production of The Sound of Music—no easy feat!

As Lyric's chorus master since 2013 (after filling in as interim chorus master during the 2011/12 season), Black comes into The Sound of Music with a wealth of experience in the operatic world from his work with Opera Australia. He's a long-time admirer of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved musical. "This is my first time working on The Sound of Music, although I must have watched the movie at least a dozen times whilst growing up and am very familiar with the original Broadway cast recording, so it almost feels as though I know it as well as La Traviata or Madama Butterfly!" he says. "There's not a note of it that was unfamiliar to me when it came to preparing the music for this production."

The power of an opera chorus

Black approaches the preparations for this beloved Broadway musical with the same focus and discipline he brings to every mainstage opera. "With The Sound of Music, the chorus music is exclusively the nuns singing and therefore it has to be clean, precise, blended; all things you would expect of an opera chorus," he elaborates. "And the wonderful thing about the musicals here at Lyric is that we always offer 12 places in the chorus of the musical to members of the Regular Chorus who come to audition to be part of the production. So the sound you get is going to be the same wonderful sound you get when you come to hear one of the operas in the season."

Sound of Music's operatic connection

The original Broadway production of The Sound of Music also has a curious operatic connection, one that Black was quick to relay to the chorus for this production. "More experienced Lyric subscribers and opera lovers may remember the wonderful Tatiana Troyanos," he continues. "I love the fact that she began her professional stage career as a nun in the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music In our first ensemble music rehearsal, I spoke about this to the nuns to highlight the fact that the caliber of our work has to be this good."

Becoming a family

In addition to his work with the nuns, he reports that "working with the von Trapp children has been an absolute delight." Black was able to sit in on the audition process, so he met the actors three or four times before they were officially cast and got to know their individual personalities. "As you would expect," he adds, "each one of them is an amazingly talented individual, so to see them take all this individuality and then become an onstage family in a short space of time has been nothing short of miraculous."

An unexpected visitor

One of the highlights of the rehearsal process was in the second week, when Chicago Bulls star center Joakim Noah was in the building for a Sports Illustrated photo shoot. His changing room was next door to where Black and conductor Rob Fisher were just about to start a rehearsal von Trapp children and understudies.

Black quips, "I'm not entirely sure who was more excited meeting Joakim Noah, the kids or myself. I know I was certainly the first person in the rehearsal room to pull out their iPhone to ask to have a picture taken with him! Since moving to Chicago, I've seen three Bulls games and Joakim and Carlos Boozer are my favorites and so when Joakim walked into the room, it was unbelievable."

The children were able to perform "Do Re Mi" for Noah, and the professional athlete was even able to connect their two seemingly different worlds: "He listened to them sing and then spoke to them of the importance of teamwork, having a good coach and then being able to listen to the coach and then performing as a team, all things in common with both sport and opera or stage work."

His favorite things

When asked about his favorite part of the show, Black confesses to being "an old sentimental sucker. I always mist up when Captain von Trapp and Maria realize they're in love and in this production it's a very beautiful moment with Billy and Jenn." Unable to choose just one moment, he also notes that "Christine Brewer will bring the house down with 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' and I'm getting goose bumps right now thinking about the reprise right at the end of the opera with the entire ensemble singing with her."

Finally, he can't help but put in a bid for the youngest von Trapp: "Little Gretl , as you would expect, steals every scene she's in."

Photo credits:

  • Michael Black (credit Kurt Sneddon)
  • Nuns in rehearsal (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Joakim Noah visits Lyric Opera (credit Carrie Krol / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Nicole Scimeca (Gretl) in The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

The Buzz is Building for THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music opens on April 25, and the excitement around Chicago is reaching a fever pitch. The wonderful cast and crew of the show have been spotted all around town. Check out some highlights of the great media coverage so far. 

Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music opens on April 25, and the excitement around Chicago is reaching a fever pitch. The wonderful cast and crew of the show—Billy Zane, Jenn Gambatese, Christine Brewer, Edward Hibbert, Marc Bruni, and those delightful von Trapp children—have been spotted all around town. Even the Chicago Bulls All-Star Center Joakim Noah is in on the action!

Sports Illustrated 

Joakim Noah dropped by the Civic Opera House for a Sports Illustrated photo shoot and a quick visit to the von Trapp children's rehearsal for The Sound of Music. Lee Jenkins reports in the magazine's April 21 issue>>

Billy Zane on WGN Morning News

 

Jenn Gambatese on Windy City Live 

;

Marc Bruni on Chicago Sun-Times "Curtain Call"

 

Christine Brewer and Edward Hibbert on Chicago Tonight

 

 WCIU's You & Me This Morning

And here's a sampling of the  many print interviews about the show

Need more inside info? Check out our Insider's Guide to The Sound of Music !

An Insider's Guide to THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Go inside Lyric's new production of  Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, on stage like you've never seen it before from April 25 to May 18, with video previews, interviews, behind-the-scenes looks, and more!

Lyric is thrilled to once again celebrate the great American musical with a brand-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, staged like you've never seen it before starting on April 25. Chicago native Billy Zane, known for his starring roles in Titanic and Chicago on Broadway, plays Captain Georg von Trapp with dazzling cast that includes Broadway stars Jenn Gambatese (Maria) and Edward Hibbert (Max) and opera luminaries Christine Brewer (Mother Abbess) and Elizabeth Futral (Elsa Schraeder). The production comes to life with dancing, costumes, sets, and the glorious sound of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus—62 members strong, an unprecedented ensemble for most musical theater productions.

Go inside this production with video previews, interviews, behind-the-scenes articles, and more!

Get a sneak peek with our official video trailer:

  

The rehearsal process begins! Director Marc Bruni gives an overview of the show:

                        

A "foyerside" chat with Lyric's Renée Fleming, Anthony Freud, and Sir Andrew Davis:

 

Read these articles for insights from the cast and creative team:

Have you heard? The Sound of Music is a hit!
The reviews are in...and they are spectacular! Critics are loving Lyric's new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved final masterpiece. Dean Richards from WGN-TV deemed it "the sound of perfection...best stage show we've had in Chicago in years." READ MORE

Buzz is Building for The Sound of Music 
The talented cast and crew of The Sound of Music have been spotted all across Chicago. Here is a sampling of some of the television appearances, interviews, and features on this new production. Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah even met the von Trapp children! READ MORE

Michael Black preps nuns and kids alike for The Sound of Music
Lyric's talented chorus master talks about the process of preparing the huge chorus of nuns and the delightful von Trapp children for their singing roles in The Sound of Music. Plus, he gives us a first-hand account of when Bulls center Joakim Noah stopped by rehearsal. READ MORE

Talkin' Broadway with Jenn Gambatese and Billy Zane
Though they are both making Lyric debuts with The Sound of MusicBilly Zane and Jenn Gambatese bring years of expertise as actors-on the screen and on the stage-to the Civic Opera House as they portray Captain von Trapp and Maria in this eagerly anticipated new production. READ MORE

Bringing The Sound of Music to Life
Lyric continues its lauded American Musical Theater Initiative with The Sound of Music. You might have watched NBC's highly rated live production in December, but nothing can compare to the experience of watching it live on stage. Casting is key, and for this production, Lyric has assembled stars from Broadway and opera to collaborate on Rodgers and Hammerstein's final masterpiece. READ MORE 

Billy Zane on Broadway, Fatherhood, and the Captain's Wicked Sense of Humor
Though he's known for his blockbuster film roles-including Titanic, Back to the Future, and a memorable cameo in Zoolander-Zane has theater in his DNA. His parents were active in regional theater, so he grew up watching them perform, as well as attending Harand Theatre Camp in Kenosha, Wisconsin. READ MORE 

Inside the Mind of Sound of Music Director Marc Bruni  
Director Marc Bruni gives the inside track on what audiences can expect when they come to see The Sound of Music at Lyric-everything from sets to music and characters promises to create an unparalleled theatrical experience. READ MORE 

My Favorite Things: Jenn Gambatese
Our Maria gives some of her must-haves, which include champagne cocktails (don't tell Leisl!), Singin' in the Rain, ice cream, Heidi, and her adorable teacup Yorkie, Killer Marie. And yes, she and her daughter belt out the Frozen soundtrack with Idina Menzel. READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Christine Brewer
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. READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Edward Hibbert
Known for his delightfully droll portrayal of food critic Gil Chesterton on NBC's Frasier, Edward Hibbert brings his quick wit to the role of oily impresario Max Detweiler in this production of The Sound of Music. A few of his favorite things? All About Eve, Amy Winehouse, cashmere, and champagne. Max would be proud! READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Elizabeth Futral
Chicago favorite and an alumna of Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center, Elizabeth Futral is starring as the elegant Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music. She gives a glimpse of a few of the things she enjoys most, including Breaking Bad, Annie Dillard, and the unique Chicago Mix (cheese and caramel together) from the legendary Garrett Popcorn. READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Betsy Farrar
Betsy Farrar is no stranger to Chicago stages, having appeared in Million Dollar Quartet and Gypsy, but she makes her Lyric debut as Liesl. When not performing, a nice stiff whiskey ginger, It's a Wonderful Life, and the collected works of Beyoncé are just a few of her favorite things. READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Zach Sorrow
This Northwestern University grad loves Xbox and a capella. Get to know Zach Sorrow, who is currently setting Liesl's heart aflutter as everyone's favorite telegraph delivery boy Rolf. READ MORE

Those Sound of Music Kids
What's more appealing than an American musical filled with great tunes and an engaging and delightful group of kids placed in the very center of the story? Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music has in its cast an assortment of talented young actors who can sing, dance, and, of course, act. Assistant conductor Valerie Maze talks about how the kids balance rehearsal with school and more. READ MORE

Heritage Bicycles and THE SOUND OF MUSIC
A grand-scale production like The Sound of Music means finding some very special props. When the von Trapp children and Rolf needed bicycles, Lyric turned to Chicago's own Heritage Bicycles to manufacture some very special custom-made vehicles. READ MORE

Introducing the Family von Trapp! 
Here are some fun facts about the seven exceptionally talented young actors that makes up the von Trapp Family Singers! This group does everything from stage acting to TV roles to tae kwon doREAD MORE 

The Hills Are Alive with (Covers from) The Sound of Music 
Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is full of some of the most beloved songs in all of musical theater. Many of them have become standards in their own right, appearing in TV shows, movies, and commercials for decades. Here are just a handful of our favorite interpretations of these classic songs. READ MORE 

Oh Captain, My Captain! Getting to Know Billy Zane
The Captain has arrived! The one, the only Billy Zane, star of James Cameron's international blockbuster Titanic and critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Billy Flynn in Broadway's smash hit Chicago, stars as Captain von Trapp in Lyric's brand-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music (April 25-May 18). READ MORE

Billy Zane's Memorable Film Moments
Our Captain, Billy Zane, has appeared in more than 100 film roles. Here are a few highlights from his extremely varied career, including on-screen appearances with Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and Michael J. Fox. READ MORE

How do you solve a problem like Maria…and Liesl?
Ask Dr. Opera!
 

                                                          

Lyric on Parade!

Here are highlights from Lyric's Sound of Music float appearing in Chicago's world-famous St. Patrick's Day Parade:

 

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