subscribe

Lullaby of Broadway...in the Opera House? Lyric of Chicago Presenting 'The Sound of Music'

By Louise Burton l.burton@classicalite.com on Jan 31, 2014 11:46 PM EST

Lyric Opera of Chicago recently announced they have extended the run of The Sound of Music due to popular demand. The musical, which opens at the Civic Opera House on April 25, will now run until May 18.

This production is the second in a series of Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals that Lyric plans to perform as part of their American Musical Theater Initiative.

While it is great that Lyric Opera is bringing its world-class voices and high production values to Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, there are already several musical theater companies in Chicago that regularly perform them, and do a fine job, including the Marriott Theatre and Drury Lane.

Sure, there are several songs in The Sound of Music that would sound wonderful as sung by opera singers.

"The Lonely Goatherd" would make a charming coloratura soprano aria. And I'd be delighted to hear an opera singer's voice soaring in "Climb Every Mountain."

But "Doe a Deer?" Not so much.

And "Edelweiss" is a folk song; it doesn't need operatic voices. In fact, Lyric's voices would sound rather overblown singing this gentle song.

I'd rather see Lyric perform more of the neglected operetta repertoire than Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, which have been done to death in this town.

Lyric's exploration of R&H began with Oklahoma! in 2013. No offense to that legendary team, but Oklahoma! seems like a step down for an opera company.

If Lyric wants to present a western-themed show, why not choose Puccini's The Girl of the Golden West? Or bring back William Bolcom's McTeague? Or perform Henry Mollicone's The Face on the Barroom Floor?

Brokeback Mountain, which just received its premiere in Madrid, might be a possibility in coming years.

Of course, there are some musicals that do seem appropriate for an opera company to perform. Here's hoping that Lyric considers West Side Story. And Sunset Boulevard would work beautifully on an operatic stage.

And I hardly dare suggest this, because I know the purists will sneer... but I'd love to see Lyric do Phantom of the Opera.

Well there, I've said it. Let the sneering begin.

About the Author

© 2016 The Classical Art, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

TagsLyric Opera of Chicago, The Sound of Music, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Oklahoma, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane, Puccini, The Girl of the Golden West, Brokeback Mountain

Real Time Analytics