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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!

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

 

Get a sneak peek with our official video trailer:

 

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:

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
Starting on April 25, 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

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:

 

Ryan Opera Center’s Talented Alums!

Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center  has a long roster of incredibly talented alumni. Here's what some of the singers affiliated with Lyric's prestigious training program have been up to this past season and where you can see them next season in Chicago and beyond!

The Ryan Opera Center's annual Rising Stars in Concert celebration is coming up this Saturday, March 29. It's not too late to donate $75 to Lyric and receive two complimentary tickets to this showcase of opera's future superstars.

The Ryan Opera Center has a long roster of incredibly talented alumni. Lyric's production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, which closed out the 2013-14 season, is just one example. ALL of the cast members had connections to the Ryan Opera Center. Matthew Polenzani (Tito), Amanda Majeski (Vitellia), Christian van Horn (Publio), and Cecelia Hall (Annio) are all alumni of the program, and Emily Birsan (Servilia) is a current member. And Joyce DiDonato (Sesto) was just inducted as an honorary Ryan Opera Center member in a short ceremony after the Clemenza dress rehearsal.  

Here's what some of the other singers affiliated with Lyric's prestigious training program have been up to this past season and where you can see them next season in Chicago and beyond!

Elizabeth Futral 
(Ryan Opera Center member from 1989 to 1991) 

Past season   Highlights of Elizabeth's busy 2013-14 season include her role debut as Desiree Armfeldt in Houston Grand Opera's production of Sondheim's A Little Night Music , a role debut as Zdenka in Minnesota Opera's production of Strauss's Arabella, and a performance of one of her signature roles, Lucia di Lammermoor, for Portland Opera.

Coming soon! — Catch Elizabeth as Elsa Schraeder in Lyric's upcoming all-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music  opening on April 25 right here at the beautiful Civic Opera House.   

Andriana Chuchman
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2007 to 2010)
 

Past season — Andriana had an amazing 2013-14 season. Already slated to debut with the Metropolitan Opera in February 2014 in The Enchanted Island, her debut came a month earlier as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore when Anna Netrebko was ill for opening night. Andriana stepped in and wowed the New York critics!  

Coming soon! — Andriana is part of the amazing cast that makes up Lyric's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni  that opens the 2014-15 season, with Robert Falls directing and Sir Andrew Davis conducting. She will also appear with Vancouver Opera in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in April 2015.

Quinn Kelsey
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2003 to 2006)
 

Past season — Quinn made his role debut as Germont in Lyric's new production of Verdi's La Traviata in October 2013. He also performed the title role in Verdi's Rigoletto for English National Opera and in I vespri siciliani at Oper Frankfurt.

Coming soon! — Catch him at Lyric as Count di Luna in Verdi's Il Trovatore in October 2014. He will also perform as Marcello in the Metropolitan Opera's La Bohème in September 2014.  

Amber Wagner
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2007 to 2010)
 

Past season — In addition to welcoming her first child in summer 2013, Amber performed Verdi's Requiem with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony in September 2013 and made her Washington National Opera debut in Verdi's La Forza del Destino in October 2013.

Coming soon! — Like Quinn Kelsey, Amber comes home to Lyric next season in Il Trovatore  as Leonora from October 27 to November 29. Then she's back just a few months later, starring in Tannhäuser  as Elisabeth from February 9 to March 6, 2015.

Amanda Majeski 
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2009 to 2011) 

Past season — Amanda was part of the dream cast of La Clemenza di Tito  that wrapped up Lyric's 2013-14 season. She also made her role debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni at Opera Philadelphia, as well as making her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut at Weill Recital Hall. 

Coming soon! — This Gurnee native will be back in her hometown to conclude another Lyric season. This time, she stars as Marta in Weinberg's The Passenger  from February 24 to March 15, 2015. She will also make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Countess Almaviva in the Met's new production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in December 2014. 

Photo credits: Elizabeth Futral (credit Karli Cadel), Andriana Chuchman (credit Chia Messina), Quinn Kelsey (credit Dan Rest), Amanda Majeski (credit Dario Acosta).

Billy Zane on Broadway, Fatherhood, and the Captain’s Wicked Sense of Humor

In this interview, Lyric's own Captain von Trapp, Billy Zane, talks about his Lyric debut in The Sound of Music, his first theater memories, and his conception of the character's "wicked" sense of humor!

A Chicago native and star of more than 100 films, Billy Zane is making his Lyric debut leading a powerhouse cast as Captain von Trapp in Lyric's all-new production of The Sound of Music, opening on April 25. 

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.

His first stage memory was "being one of five kids playing Curly in a production of Oklahoma! at Harand Theatre Camp, age 10." But he points to watching the legendary Len Cariou in the title role of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd as the definitive moment that made him decide to pursue acting as a career.

When asked if he's nervous about singing on the same stage as opera greats such as Maria Callas, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti, Zane quips, "No pressure!" But he goes on to say that of all the storied places he's performed-including the Shubert Theater in New York and Haymarket Theater in London's West End—"Lyric takes the cake! I am most thrilled to experience the aesthetics and acoustics of the world-renowned Lyric in a way only so few ever get the chance to, from the footlights. A rare privilege indeed."

Zane was lauded by critics as "dazzlingly handsome and effortlessly magnetic" when he portrayed scheming lawyer Billy Flynn in the smash-hit musical Chicago on Broadway in 2002. However, he is quick to share credit with his fellow actors. "Any success that I had was merely a reflection of the strength of the well-seasoned ensemble I had the pleasure of working with," says Zane. "When you work with professionals at the top of their game—as is the caliber of the company assembled for The Sound of Music—then they only raise yours."

While preparing for his Lyric debut as Captain von Trapp, Zane has found a bit of himself in the role, as they both share what he calls "a wicked sense of humor." He elaborates that von Trapp acts as a bit of a foil for the delightful exuberance of Maria: “Those diametrically opposed perspectives are tantalizing and exciting to watch, because much like in love—opposites attract.”

In creating the role of the Captain, Zane will of course draw some inspiration from his own experiences with fatherhood, but jokes that it will be "in only the best ways, I imagine!" However, as a father, he recognizes von Trapp's unconditional love for his children. "From the first act, there's no question that his love for his children and his sense of structure and order carried over from the Navy are not mutually exclusive," notes Zane. "His love doesn't waver; it's just a question of his public displays of affection."

Photo credits: Billy Zane, photo credit Azabra; Billy Zane in Titanic, photo courtesy 20th Century Fox; Billy Zane in Chicago on Broadway, photo courtesy Chicago the Musical. 

Renée Fleming and Jonas Kaufmann – A Night to Remember!

Renée Fleming, Lyric's own creative consultant, joined forces with THE tenor of the moment Jonas Kaufmann for their very first duo recital, a historic event that showcased these two magnificent performers at the height of their artistry.

The Civic Opera House was filled with love for the 2014 Subscriber Appreciation Concert, which featured two stars coming together for a one-night-only event.

Renée Fleming, Lyric's own creative consultant, joined forces with THE tenor of the moment Jonas Kaufmann for their very first duo recital, an historic event that showcased these two magnificent performers at the height of their artistry. 

Accompanied by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, superbly led by Lyric Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, Kaufmann and Fleming performed to a sold-out crowd a program that showcased the music of love: duets and arias from Faust, La forza del destino, Manon, Otello, Carmen, and Werther, interspersed with expertly chosen instrumental interludes by Saint-Saëns, Verdi, and Sir Michael Tippett.

In addition to the announced program, the duo delighted the audience with two encores: the Waltz from The Merry Widow and "Marietta's Lied" from Korngold's Die tote Stadt. Fleming's two gorgeous gowns were designed by Vivienne Westwood with jewelry by Ann Ziff for Tamsen Z.

This was a homecoming of sorts for Kaufmann, who made his U.S. debut as Cassio in Lyric's production of Otello to open the 2001-02 season. And playing Desdemona? Fleming, of course!

The next time to see Fleming on stage at Lyric is in Strauss's Capriccio  in October 2014. Subscriptions are available now! Kaufmann's latest album, a recording of Schubert's Winterreise, is due out on April 1.

Photo credits: Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago

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