Lyric Opera Presents Rossini’s LE COMTE ORY Review — Bel Canto Romp

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The piccolos seem to always be giggling…

Every time famed Bel Canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee hits one of the high C’s his title role requires — often at the speed of the fastest highways — prop butterflies on long wands held by chorus members are fluttered…

Mezzo soprano Kayleigh Decker in a trouser role of a page, Isolier, takes this fluttering one step further, getting into superman prone pose and shaking her hands and feet as Brownlee’s song soars to the rafters…

Then comes soprano Kathryn Lewek as Adêle, who dabs her décolletage with powder in sync with her coloratura sprints….

This is one heckuva fun opera, with merriment sized appropriately for the opera hall! As soon as Adêle’s brother rides off to the Crusades, Le Comte Ory’s rake antics begin. What better way to get the maidens and wives wallowing without their husbands-off-to-the-Crusades than to dress as a Holy Man doling out licentious wisdom to the lonely. Even better, get very close to Adêle’s bed by masquerading as a nun abused by that lecher Ory himself so that he as she will be pitied and taken into Adêle’s castle. It’s not just Ory but also his men, all garbed as pious nuns, though some quite bearded. The disguises work until they find the wine cellar to give us one of many famous drinking songs in the opera repertoire. In this reviewer’s opinion, this confection of coloratura and roulade vocal hijinks seasoned with slapstick is a pure delight.  

(SPOILER ALERT:  We even get a ménage à trois when Ory gets his comeuppance of rolling about with his page in the dark, thinking it was Adêle.)

Lyric Opera Presents Rossini’s ONLY French Opera

We learn from the pre-performance lecture by musicologist Elinor Olin that this is Rossini’s only French opera, and the program notes make much of the difficulties this afforded Rossini compared to the ease of scoring songs for the Italian tongue. That may be true, but the composer sure zeroes in on how the French oui can have the sound of pure comedy — one of many musical gag lines that permeate the libretto and score meld! This writer says get your LOL muscles ready and expect memorable performances from the entire cast. Le Comte Ory is not to be missed.


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Lawrence Brownlee- Ory
Kathryn Lewek- Adèle
Kayleigh Decker- Isolier
Zoie Reams- Ragonde
Joshua Hopkins- Raimbaud
Mirco Palazzi- Tutor (Gouveneur)
Lindsey Reynolds- Alice
Lunga Eric Hallam- First Courtier
Wm. Clay Thompson- Second Courtier


By Gioachino Antonio Rossini
Enrique Mazzola- Conductor
Bartlett Sher- Original Director
Kathleen Smith Belcher- Revival Director
Brian Macdevitt- Lighting Designer


November 13 - November 26, 2022

Sunday 11/13 - 2 pm
Wednesday 11/16 - 2 pm
Friday 11/18 - 7 pm
Tuesday 11/22 - 7 pm
Saturday 11/26 - 7:30 pm


Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 860,



For more information and tickets visit the Lyric Opera of Chicago website.

Photos: Todd Rosenberg

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

This story has been added to the Picture This Post roundup article on OPERAS WE LOVE.
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Amy Munice

About the Author: Amy Munice

Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.

Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.


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