Friday, May 16, 2014

Christine Brewer Talks About Doing Musical Theater For The First Time

The soprano leads a chorus of nuns in The Sound of Music. (Photo: Todd Rosenberg/BWW)
"Christine Brewer usually goes several days between performances. As a dramatic soprano who specializes in the taxing roles of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, rest is important to conserve her voice and her strength. Not this time. This time, as the Abbess in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at Lyric Opera of Chicago, she’s on a musical theater schedule of eight performances a week, including just one day off and two days with two shows, a matinee and an evening performance. 'This is an unusual schedule for me,' the Lebanon, Illinois-based singer said in a telephone interview last week. 'I’ve never done a musical theater piece before. I don’t sing that much (in the show), but when I do, it’s big guns. I'm eating a lot of chicken soup and taking my vitamins.'....Brewer worked on her dialogue in St. Louis with her voice teacher, Christine Armistead, and with director Mark Bruni, 'and then it was Jenn [Gambatese]. She'd say, 'Let’s just run the lines.' We’ve developed a really nice relationship on and off stage. Words are so important in singing, and this is really giving me a chance to bring that to my mind in a different way.' She's connected with others in the cast, too. 'When you’re in an intimate, very emotional preparation and performance, it’s like family,' Brewer said. 'I knew (soprano) Elizabeth (Futral, who plays Elsa), and some of the women from the chorus, and that was it. The first days were a little tense; the musical theater people had never worked in an opera house, with such a big space to rehearse in, such a big stage, and a full orchestra.' They had some trouble adjusting to the idea that singers regularly fill that giant auditorium with sound with no amplification....In her free time, Brewer is working on her music for Dialogues of the Carmelites at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. 'I'm feeling holy,' she joked, with back-to-back nun roles." [Source] A picture of Elizabeth Futral, as Elsa, is after the jump.
Elizabeth Futral as Elsa with co-star Billy Zane (seated left) as Captain von Trapp. (Photo: Todd Rosenberg/BWW)

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