Lyric’s 60th Anniversary Gala Concert

We’d rushed down to the Lyric Opera from the climbing gym in the suburbs, and I was in a near panic because the traffic was abysmal and the clock was ticking. But we made it in time, and joined the throng dressed up in their finest tuxedos and gowns (not us though, but we did get out of our climbing clothes!). E&S joined us a few minutes later, similarly out of breath, but full of anticipation of the lineup of stars for Lyric Opera’s 60th Anniversary Concert Gala.

It was a fun evening, and we were treated to a great many selection of hit arias. Standouts included Susan Graham’s delicately sung “D’amour l’ardente flamme” from La damnation de Faust, Christine Goerke’s “Vieni, t’affretta” from Macbeth, Stephanie Blythe’s Habernera from Carmen. It was a pity Mariusz Kwiecien was a no show due to a cold, but Quinn Kelsey delivered an impressive prologue from Paliacci. Johan Bothall sang an impassioned “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot, and we loved Eric Owen’s quiet but touching Old Man River.

On the lighter side of things, Jane Lynch was a hilarious Master of Ceremonies. Her wise cracks and quips had everyone laughing, as did the Second City troupe, which continued their highly successful Dr Opera series, this time with a skit where Pinkerton and Kate hash out a Japanese tour gone tragically awry.

The slight downers were Renee Fleming’s choice of a jazz number, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, with pianist Ramsey Lewis. The pianist was on form, and managed to sneak in a couple bars of Memories from Cats to our delight. But we thought Renee was a little too breathy; I much prefer Joyce Didonato’s rendition when we heard her sing live in a recital here a few years ago. Also, the Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music piece was a snooze fest, at least for the four of us. I don’t know how they thought getting Ryan Opera alumni members to each sing lines from that glacial piece a good idea. Happily though, the mood lifted much when the Lyric Opera chorus followed with a rousing Va Pensiero from Nabbucco.

All too soon, the evening drew to an end, with a great Falstaff ensemble piece. Disappointingly, we didn’t get an encore, but everyone did get presented with a photographic book of Lyric’s 60 years. 🙂

Afterwards, we extended the evening by dropping by Dave’s birthday bash at Three Dots and a Dash. We’re getting old; I can’t remember the last time we had to line up to get into a club! Thankfully, Dave had already snagged a table, and he managed to get us in without too much of a fuss.

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