Opera Goes Low-Brow
Chicago has a remarkably vibrant theater scene. It's not that there are just a lot of companies, but rather that it's heavily supported by the community, and even more, also by the city government. A few years ago, for example, the Goodman Theater got funds from the city to expand, but there was one proviso that the city insisted on -- that Goodman had to give periodic free, outdoor performances to the public. There are literally dozens of high quality theater companies that have successful subscription series -- places that include (but are far from limited to) the Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf, the Second City, Lookingglass, Apple Tree, the oft-mentioned here Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens, Northlight and more.
And sometimes they work together.
This is a much-too-short montage of a production I dearly wish I had seen. It's a co-production from a year ago of the renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago and...Second City. And starred the Lyric's creative consultant Renee Fleming (the first opera singer to perform the National Anthem before the Super Bow) and -- Patrick Stewart.
From what I've been able to tell, Renee Fleming and her husband took an evening off to attend a performance of Second City. As it happened, that particular show used a recording of hers. And she was also very taken with the company's music director, Jesse Case, who wrote all those show's songs. They and the Second City creative team all met, and the idea sprang from there.
Second City wrote the production and used their cast along with the Lyric Opera's company to put on the production. It's called The Second City Guide to the Opera.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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