Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Star is Born

The understudy comes out from the wings to save the show and then is skyrocketed to stardom. It’s the stuff of dreams, of movies, of The Phantom of the Opera. As audience members we root for the underdog – and if you’ve never been an understudy – it is the ultimate underdog role.

So when the storied Lyric Theater in Chicago canned their Mimi last week for failing to attend rehearsals (just a minor thing – really), newcomer Elaine Alvarez was asked to step in and play the consumptive seamstress in La Boheme. Can you imagine making your very first debut with a major opera company at THE LYRIC???

Not an opera fan? Okay, let’s see if I can put it in broader terms: Imagine you’re a third string quarterback and suddenly you get to make your NFL debut at the Superbowl. You with me? It’s a lot like that.

So how did she do? Did she go 3 for 24 with 2 INT? According to Chicago Tribune critic John Von Rhein, “… even audience members who have seen hundreds of "Bohemes" got misty-eyed. Alvarez saved the day, and then some. After her smooth, confident Lyric debut, the opera world surely will be taking notice.”

I would call that a touchdown.

And by the way, Opera Tampa’s Mimi will be played by Darryn Zimmer. (I bet she’ll make some folks misty eyed, she certainly is easy on the eyes).

-Kari G.

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