International opera star Bryn Terfel will star as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in a new production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The staging, which will comprise 12 performances Nov. 18 Dec. 22, offers Terfel a second chance at the role and its titanic vocal demands. In early 2000, he was announced as the Sweeney for an all-star New York Philharmonic production of the Sondheim work, starring Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald and Neal Patrick Harris. But Terfel has to bow out "due to his continuing recuperation from a recent back operation." George Hearn took his place in the concerts, which ran May 4-6, 2000.
Terfel will be guided by stage director Neil Armfield and the revered Broadway conductor and orchestrator Paul Gemignani. His co-stars will be Judith Christin (as Mrs. Lovett), Nathan Gunn (Anthony), Timothy Nolen ( the Judge), Celena Shafer (Johanna), David Cangelosi (Tobias), Sheri Greenawald (the Beggar Woman), Matthew Lord (the Beadle) and Bonaventura Bottone (Pirelli).
The production is only the latest Sondheim staging in what is proving a landmark year for the composer. Broadway will soon see a new revival of Into the Woods while the Kennedy Center is producing a full half-dozen of the master's musicals this summer (including Sweeney Todd). Additionally, new looks at Follies will soon be on view in London and at the Signature Theatre Company of Arlington, VA.
The Opera House is located on the northwest corner of Madison and Wacker. Subscriptions are currently available for purchase. Individual tickets will not go on sale until July. Call (312) 332-2244, ext. 5600. —By Robert Simonson