February 12, 2013
I love great musicals, especially those of Stephen Sondheim, and see nothing wrong with mixing opera (dramma per musica) with musical theater, even if San Francisco Opera's choice of Show Boat doesn't thrill me at all.
But what takes the cake is the Lyric Opera of Chicago's announcement of the next season that includes Wagner's Parsifal and The Sound of Music, a syrupy, overperformed piece. That certainly goes beyond the LOC's inclusion, this season, of Oklahoma. The strange thing is that after a press release about the season, including The Sound of Music, the company's website doesn't mention it.
The announcement said: "Lyric will present a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music in the spring of 2014, continuing the company’s American Musical Theater Initiative."
Jeff Dunn suggests a new musical on the Kundry-Klingsor story from Parsifal, to be called The Kling and I. Being a composer himself, Dunn may just try his hand at it.
For the sake of objective reporting, here's the Chicago season, in addition to those two: new productions of La traviata, The Barber of Seville, and Rusalka, plus Otello, Madama Butterfly, Die Fledermaus, La Clemenza di Tito; also Renée Fleming and Jonas Kaufmann in concert.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Opera Chorus Director Ian Robertson remains on loan to the Lyric, following the surprising resignation of Martin Wright. Robertson serves as guest chorus master for La bohème, Die Meistersinger, and Rigoletto, returning to San Francisco in late February for preparations of the company's summer season.