Lyric Opera of Chicago

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My Favorite Things: Elizabeth Futral

The lovely Elizabeth Futral returns to Lyric Opera to portray Elsa Schraeder, Maria's sophisticated rival for Captain von Trapp's affections in the new production of  The Sound of Music. When she's not traveling the world as an in-demand soprano, here are just a few of the ways she likes to spend her free time.

A Chicago favorite, Elizabeth Futral returns to Lyric Opera to portray Elsa Schraeder, Maria's sophisticated rival for Captain von Trapp's affections in the new production of The Sound of Music. An alumna of Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center, Futral was last at Lyric in 2013, when she portrayed Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème. When she's not wooing a dashing captain, here are just a few of the things that she enjoys. 

Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird

               

Book

Lately, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 

TV show 

Breaking Bad

 

Singer 

Leontyne Price

 

Opera 

The Rake's Progress (Stavinsky)

 

Food 

Boiled Crawfish

Hobbies 

Gardening, Hiking

Vacation spot 

New Zealand

Animal 

Favorite pet ever—the late Samson (toy poodle) who traveled the world with me

Scents or smells 

Blackberry and Musk (Mur et Musc—L'Artisan Parfumerie)

Treasured possession 

Our home in Virginia

Guilty pleasure 

Garrett Popcorn's Chicago Mix 

 

Photo credits:

  • Elizabeth Futral (credit Karli Cadel)
  • New Zealand (credit Travel News Digest)
  • Chicago Mix (credit Garrett Popcorn)

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

My Favorite Things: Edward Hibbert

Broadway veteran Edward Hibbert, who stars as the oily impresario Max Detweiler in Lyric's production of  The Sound of Music, is known to audiences around the world for his delightfully droll portrayal of food critic Gil Chesterton on NBC's Frasier. With his trademark quick wit, he gives a list of some of his favorite things—when he's not making stars out of the von Trapps, that is.

Broadway veteran Edward Hibbert, who stars as the oily impresario Max Detweiler in Lyric's production of The Sound of Music, is known to audiences around the world for his delightfully droll portrayal of food critic Gil Chesterton on NBC's Frasier. He also recently appeared on the Great White Way in The Drowsy Chaperone and Curtains, which also reunited him with Frasier co-star David Hyde Pierce.

With his trademark quick wit, he gives a list of some of his favorite things—when he's not making stars out of the von Trapps, that is.

Movies

All About Eve and Brief Encounter

 

 

Books

Biographies and memoirs

Authors

Chuck Palahniuk, Donna Tartt, and Alan Bennett

TV shows

Frasier, Hoarders, Intervention

 

 

Singers

Amy Winehouse, Sting, and Noel Coward

 

 

 

Opera

AidaEugene Onegin

 

Musical

Gypsy

 

Foods

Italian/French

Cocktail

Negroni

Hobbies

Traveling, Reading

Websites

Mine! edwardhibbert.com

Vacation spot

Italy

Animal

Golden Retrievers

Childhood toy

Teddy Bear

Superhero or superhero power

The ability to answer and complete this questionnaire

Historical figure

 Oscar Wilde

Scents or smells

Eucalyptus, Hyacinths, and Amen by Thierry Mugler

Motto

Actor, know thyself.

Treasured possessions

My friends and my cashmere sweaters

Guilty pleasures

Veuve Cliquot and Gelato and shopping at Agnes B and Paul Smith

Anything else?

Yes, but nothing I can share here!

Photo credits:

  • Edward Hibbert (credit Joan Marcus)
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Aida starring Sondra Radvanovsky and Jill Grove (credit Dan Rest)
  • Golden retriever (credit Stefan Bauer)

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.) 

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.

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.)

 

“Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he’s a cool dude.”

Billy Zane, star of Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music has appeared in more than 100 films. Here are some highlights from his incredibly versatile career.

To appropriate a line from Zoolander, Chicago's own Billy Zane—starring as Captain von Trapp in Lyric's production of The Sound of Music  opening on April 25—is an exceptionally cool dude who has appeared in more than 100 films.

Here are just a few of our favorite moments of Zane from his large and versatile filmography.  

Titanic 

The epic blockbuster by James Cameron featured Zane as Cal Hockley, the obstacle standing in the way of Jack and Rose and true love. He was the perfect villain, equal parts devious and debonair—it was hard not to get caught up in his spell. 

 

Back to the Future 

In his film debut, Billy Zane played Match, one of Biff's three menacing henchman who are constantly bullying George and Marty McFly (Crispin Glover and Michael J. Fox). 

 

Zoolander 

This movie is one masterful comic set piece after another, but Billy Zane's priceless cameo backing up Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) as he argues with Hansel (Owen Wilson) might be the movie's best moment. "It's a walk-off."

 

Dead Calm 

In his breakthrough role, Zane plays the psychotic Hughie, a stowaway who terrorizes a married couple (played by Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill) on the open water in this taught thriller from Australian director Phillip Noyce. You'll never think of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in the same way again.

 

The Phantom 

This big-screen adaptation of Lee Falk's adventure comic featured Billy Zane as the eponymous hero in the purple suit. The role showcased both Zane's enviable physique and his natural comic timing, and the actor has said it was this movie that brought him to Titanic director James Cameron's attention.

 

Twin Peaks 

Zane had a recurring role as businessman John Justice Wheeler in season 2 of this groundbreaking David Lynch series. In one of the more lighthearted subplots on the show, his character romances Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) and tries to teach her father Ben (Richard Beymer) how to be truly good. 

 

 

Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Billy Zane in The Phantom (courtesy Paramount Pictures); Back to the Future (courtesy Universal Pictures); Ben Stiller and Billy Zane in Zoolander (courtesy Paramount Pictures); Billy Zane in Dead Calm (courtesy Warner Bros.)

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

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