The Perfect American

Glass, however, ultimately offers us a sympathetic perspective on Disney—and one not difficult to accept. Disney struggles with accepting his own death and preserving his legacy—a legacy we see (and to this day experience) grow larger than the man who inspired it. While he envisions his name growing as renown as Jesus and Muhammad, Disney laments how “Disney,” as the name of his brand, has usurped his individual identity. His remedy for death and obscurity is to be cryogenically frozen, so that he may yet survive and come back as a figure of hope to proclaim that even death is not an end to the dream.

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Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

The jazz infused music (conducted by Kelly Kuo) was varied, brassy and nicely conveyed the mood of the piece. Brownlee effectively presented the contradictory side of the troubled genius. We see how heroin destroyed Bird that led to his death at age 35. Much of the best arias in the piece came as the women led a long and heartfelt tribute to the fallen composer. This 90 minute chamber opera is a rare treat about a forgotten jazz giant whom youngsters probably don’t know.

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Eugene Onegin

Told in three acts and seven scenes and utilizing a stark empty set, Eugene Onegin is filled with Tchaikovsky’s most dramatic music rich in emotions that was effectively sung by this wonderful cast. Besides the wonderful turn by Mariusz Kwiecien, we enjoy fine work by Jill Grove as the nanny Filipyevna with Alisa Kolosova singing Olga beautifully. The Lyric Chorus sounded terrific and Tchaikovsky’s music was nicely conducted by Alejo Perez.

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Carmen – 2017- Lyric Opera of Chicago

The story revolves around a Spanish gypsy (the wild free-loving Carmen, played seductively by mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova) and the man she takes as a lover, a Spanish corporal, Don José (The powerful tenor Joseph Calleja). He is an upright but flawed man, with a mother and would-be fiancée in his home village; quick to temper and impulsive, when he shirks the advances of the beautiful gypsy, she finds him irresistible and throws a rose at him, striking him between the eyes. Having bewitched him, Carmen convinces Don José to go to prison in her stead; upon his release, he finds her, and she wants to run away together.

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The Invention of Morel

To me, this musical surrealism didn’t engage me and quickly became tedious and over produced. It was a long 90 minute one act opera. I’m just too much of a traditionalist to appreciate surrealism in opera. The Invention of Morel could be a treat for lovers of modern, experimental opera? But traditionalist will not appreciate it. But since there seems to be an audience for musical surrealism, The Invention of Morel could appeal to their tast

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Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -Paramount Theatre

The story of the demon barber of Fleet Street revolves around Sweeney Todd’s ( the baritone Paul-Jordan Jansen) obsessive desire to seek revenge on the man responsible for exiling him, destroying his wife, and stealing his child. While awaiting his opportunity for retribution, he and the entrepreneurial Mrs. Lovett (Bri Sudia), become partners in a horrific venture in which Sweeney Todd provides Mrs. Lovett with the pivotal ingredient for her meat pies after giving his customers the “closest shave they will ever get.”

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Tonya & Nancy The Rock Opera

This is a wildly paced and extremely loud production that tells the story of the 1990’s ice skating scandal that marred the rivalry between American Olympic ice skaters Tonya Harding ( Amanda Horvath) and Nancy Kerrigan (Courtney Mack).

The production take a tabloid approach to the story of rivalry and desperation as the quest for Olympic stardom overtakes each skater. We see the role of the mothers both played by Veronica Garza as she belts her way through the opera.

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Don Quichotte (Don Quixote)

Jules Massenet’s (1842-1912) Don Quichotte is “comédie-héroïque” with sweepingly lush score composed in 1909-10 while the composer was ill and after he has a failed opera (Bacchus). Don Quichotte features a lighter take on the idealistic, delusional knight and his squire Sancho than the 1964 Broadway musical Man of La Mancha. Both are excellent takes on Cervantes’ classic.

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