Light Opera Works Celebrates Operetta's Greatest Hits Review - A Delightful Evening


George Andrew Wolff, Alicia Berneche, Colette Todd, James Rank, Natalie Ford and Matthew Giebel (Photo Credit Chris Ocken)

A highly enjoyable night of operetta’s greatest hits, with music that delighted Vienna, Paris, London, and Broadway is delivered by Light Opera Works in this third production of the 2012 season. This show features some of the favorite performance stars of Light Opera Works, accompanied by an excellent chamber orchestra. This concert brings together some of the most recognizable tunes from Johann Strauss, Franz Lehar, Sigmund Romberg, Gilbert and Sullivan and other composers and transports the audience to an era where grace and style are ever-present, romance and comedy is in the air, and witty exchanges between singers are guaranteed to bring a smile.

Natalie Ford, George Andrew Wolff and Alicia Berneche (Photo Credit Chris Ocken)

The concert program of delightful music is presented at the stunning and historic Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, a perfect setting for the music from this era. The concert is divided into two acts, with the first act focusing on European composers and the second act featuring American composers. The talented cast appears on stage in period costumes from the late 19th century, and performs vignettes from world famous operettas. They drink champagne; merrily waltz around the stage, and sing of love in all its various moods.


The cast of consummate vocalists work quite well in the ensemble pieces such as the delightful Gilbert and Sullivan patter song medley, and every artist has one or more standout solos displaying his or her vocal prowess and acting abilities.   Natalie Ford, the lead in many of Light Opera Works recent productions, sings like a lark soaring around the stage in a merry rendition of Victor Herbert’s “Italian Street Song.”  Tenor Matthew Giebel possesses a very expressive voice, and gets to the heart and soul of each ballad, such as his tender rendition of “Softly As in a Morning Sunrise” from “The Student Prince.” 


A very humorous version of “Donkey Serenade” is delivered by tenor George Andrew Wolff, who exhibits a wonderfully light comic touch.  Beautiful soprano Collete Todd, recently playing Aldonza in Light Opera Work’s production of “Man of La Mancha,” brings the same fire and passion to the torch song “Huguette’s Waltz” from “The Vagabond King.” 

Natalie Ford and George Andrew Wolff with Gail Crosson (Clarinet) and Joseph Krzysiak (Bass) (Photo Credit Chris Ocken)


James Rank’s voice has a searching introspective quality, and is highlighted to good effect in the interplay with virtuoso violinist Heather Boehm during their performance of “Play, Gypsy” by composer Emmerich Kalman. The superb musical accompaniment, under the direction of pianist Marta Johnson, sets just the right tone for the evening’s festivities.  Alicia Berneche, a powerhouse soprano with a quite an amazing vocal range, sings a stirring rendition of “Vilia” from “The Merry Widow” by Franz Lehar.  

Cast and Musicians in Light Opera Works’ OPERETTA’S GREATEST HITS (Photo Credit Chris Ocken)


Artistic Director Rudy Hogenmiller has done an excellent job of recreating the world of the golden age of operettas. The performance received a very enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience.  This is a performance not to be missed!


Light Opera Works Presents Operetta's Greatest Hits

Runs through Sunday, October 14th, 2012

 Nichols Concert Hall

1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL.

Ticket prices for OPERETTA’S GREATEST HITS are $30, $40, $50 and $60. Ages 21 and younger are half price. To order tickets, or for more information, call the Light Opera Works box office at (847) 920-5360 or order 24 hours a day online at


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