Review: “Sweeney Todd” by Opera Notre Dame

Last weekend, my friend Chris and I drove up to South Bend to meet another cherished friend’s brother.  Our friend lives in Australia but his brother divides his time between Australia, Greece, Prague, Italy…and Indiana.  The brother is opera conductor John Apeitos.  It was such a treat to meet him and to live in his world for a little while!

Every spring John conducts a show for Opera Notre Dame. Students and faculty from Notre Dame University participate but so do selected members of the local community.  A woman that happened to chat with me in the lobby said she was there because her hairdresser’s son was in the show. A lead singer’s fraternity brothers (I assume) sat behind me and grunted in secret code whenever their brother finished a solo. One brother had even worn a suit coat over his shorts for the occasion.  I worried at first that they would be disrespectful of the performers and the other audience members, but it wasn’t like that.  Their behavior was funny AND appreciative. I relaxed when I realized that they were engaged in the show and managing to call attention to themselves without detracting from anyone else’s enjoyment.

As far as the show itself went, I bet I would have enjoyed whatever piece Opera Notre Dame had selected to perform this year, but as it happens, this year’s opera was actually a sort of hybrid opera/musical theatre piece that I had heard a lot about but never actually seen.

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