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February 2014
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Lyric Opera’s Moonlighters

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Live from WFMT, Monday at 8:00 PM

 
She has a degree in chemistry from Yale. He has coached singers for more than a hundred operas at Lyric. Violinist Heather Wittels and pianist Eric Weimer are driven, successful people. Both artists work for Lyric Opera, though playing together isn’t in the job description.

In an opera company, the pianist stands in for the orchestra, helping to prepare singers; they work alongside the conductor, they help with diction, vocal technique, phrasing—everything. The orchestra rehearses separately. Only in the week or so before opening night do the singers get before the orchestra; and the pianist steps aside. Such is the life, which is not to say that opera instrumentalists don’t love to play chamber music.

On Monday, two Lyric Opera of Chicago musicians come together for a studio concert on Live from WFMT. Joined by cellist Eran Meir; Eric Weimer, and Heather Wittels step away from the moonlit stage of Rusalka, to moonlight as chamber partners.

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Eric Weimer, Heather Wittels, Eran Meir

Monday’s program includes piano trios by Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms—guilty pleasures for these players: Brahms didn’t write opera; Mendelssohn dabbled in it unsuccessfully at the age of 15.

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WFMT engineer Mary Mazurek

 

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