“The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha

Man of La Mancha
Music: Mitch Leigh
Lyrics: Joe Darion

Soloman Howard, bass
Doug Peck, music director


After opening off-Broadway in 1965, Man of La Mancha transferred triumphantly to Broadway three years later, where it enjoyed a long run. The show’s most familiar musical number, “The Impossible Dream,” has been a vehicle for countless solo artists, among them Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, and Jennifer Hudson.

The show’s protagonist, Miguel de Cervantes, is in prison, where the convicts surrounding him want to steal the contents of his trunk. He’ll yield to them if he’s defeated in a mock trial. Cervantes offers his own defense through a play of his own devising, impersonating the knight Don Quixote de la Mancha while the prisoners take on the other parts. One of those characters is Aldonza, a serving girl at an inn where Quixote stops on his adventures. The idealistic Quixote views Aldonza as his lady, calling her “Dulcinea.” He sings to her about his quest in a mesmerizing melody that begins quietly but gradually builds to a stupendous climax. The song reveals Quixote’s longing to right all wrongs, however difficult the odds against him may be.


Soloman Howard

Soloman Howard

Previously at Lyric: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends concert, Wurm|Luisa Miller (both 2019|20).

An alumnus of Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artist Program who has rapidly risen to prominence, the American bass recently returned to both WNO (as winner of the Marian Anderson Vocal Award) and the Metropolitan Opera (Sarastro/The Magic Flute). Other important appearances have been Aida (Met, Madrid’s Teatro Real), Don Carlo (LA Opera), La bohème and Don Giovanni (The Santa Fe Opera, Teatro Municipal de Santiago), Das Rheingold (L’Opéra de Montréal, Canadian operatic debut), Semele (The English Concert, international tour), Simon Boccanegra (Bordeaux), The Magic Flute and Macbeth (Glimmerglass Festival), Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me (WNO), and the title role/D. J. Sparr’s Approaching Ali (North Carolina Opera, WNO). Among Howard’s successes in concert have been Die Walküre (Miami Music Festival) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Los Angeles Philharmonic). He has also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and on international tours with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg