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Exclusive with Lyric’s Mother Abbess Christine Brewer

Christine Brewer c.Robert Kusel

Christine Brewer c.Robert Kusel

Web Exclusive with Christine Brewer


Home for Christine Brewer is a Mississippi River town, not far from the corn fields she picked as a girl. Even as she jets around the world for roles like Isolde, or the Mother Abbess in Lyric Opera’s The Sound of Music, Ms. Brewer keeps southern Illinois close to her heart. Sure she basks in critical acclaim, she’s won a Grammy Award – part and parcel to having a major opera career – but Christine Brewer seems to have found something more: balance.

Around the dressing rooms, one gets the impression that Christine Brewer is having as much fun as anyone there, cast or audience. This soprano is a hoot; she loves to laugh. But if you really want to get her excited, ask her about the 6th graders she calls “The Operatunities”: students at the school where she once taught. Even as she hobnobs with the world’s great maestros, Ms. Brewer makes a point of snapping pictures and collecting souvenirs for the kids back in Marissa, IL.  With the help of longtime teacher-friend “Nancy,” these kids get to hear opera recordings, take trips to hear the St. Louis Symphony, and keep track of Ms. Brewer’s stops around the world with maps and clocks. Not every lesson is sunny: opera, and indeed The Sound of Music, confront serious issues, yet Christine Brewer manages to bring enormous heart and joy to this, and to everything she does.

Listen to Christine Brewer (laughing), and talking opera and The Sound of Music with WFMT’s Noel Morris:

The Sound of Music

Christine Brewer with Jenn Gambatese c.Todd Rosenberg


There are two ways to enjoy Lyric Opera of Chicago right now: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music runs through May 25th; and The Lyric Opera of Chicago Radio Broadcast moves to the noontime Saturday slot on WFMT, starting this weekend with Verdi’s Otello.

Read more on Lyric Opera’s Otello.

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