A guide to the Second City Guide to the Opera | Bleader

A guide to the Second City Guide to the Opera

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I'm not a fan of events that turn the stages of great theaters into makeshift seating areas for productions so small they clearly belong somewhere else, like a nightclub.

It smacks of desperation.

As for dubious recorded preshow and intermission pop music issuing from big speakers in a grand opera house?

A desecration.

A curtain strung shower-stall-style across the front of the stage to block the jaw-dropping view behind it and provide a backdrop for the little show?

Tacky.

Seeing the vast Lyric Opera lobby and auditorium devoid of their usual festive throng of 3,600 revelers, dressed to the nines and in just the right state of aria-and-alcohol-induced intoxication?

Creepy, and depressing.

So how did it happen that I had a wonderful time at the Second City Guide to the Opera, which has done all those dastardly things to the opera house, where it runs through June 30?

It's funny. Very, very funny.

From the opening bit on long, boring overtures through a monologue for the cognoscenti by a hilariously irritated Schoenberg, a psychoanalytic session for Faust, a glimpse of the madness that goes on in the orchestra pit, a masterful take-down of the master class, and much more, right up to the finale—all performed and sung with aplomb by a troupe of six Second City actors and two real live opera singers (tenor Bernard Holcomb and mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow)—it's a good-natured, thoroughly enjoyable roast, likely to appeal to both the occasional and regular opera-goer and to tourists who can check off the opera house and Second City on a single ticket.

Appetizers and drinks are available for purchase, and the view from the stage is a photo op; bring your camera or iPhone. You're treading in the footsteps of Callas and Pavarotti—before former Lyric general director Ardis Krainik fired him, which, of course, is good for its own laugh.

Tickets are zoned: $35, $45, and $75; arrive early for general seating in your area. Call 312-332-2244 for more information.

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