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Lyric Theatre’s ‘Sharp Ears’ Aims For All Audiences

Poster art for The Adventures of Little Sharp Ears

Lyric Theatre @ Illinois

The latest production from Lyric Theatre at Illinois opens Friday night at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.

The Adventures of Little Sharp Ears” by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček follows wildlife as they move from the farmyard through the forest.

Illinois Public Media’s Brian Moline spoke with Berit Johnson, who plays the fox, and Director Sarah Wigley, who says this opera is geared toward an audience of all ages and experience with opera.

"It is geared toward youth, but it has this Disney concept where adults will love it, too," Wigley said. "It's a fantastic beginning opera for those people, if you've never seen an opera, this would be a wonderful introduction."

Wigley and Johnson both said the costumes for this production really stand out, even if they did take some getting used to for the performers on stage.

"We have these rehearsal headpieces. It's the exact same model that we wear for the performances," Johnson said. "You've got this fox nose above your head, so letting that lead, as foxes primarily lead with their noses."

Wigley said the music, which features Moravian folk rhythms and tunes, should appeal to all audiences as well.

"it is definitely tuneful, but also very difficult," Wigley said. "Complex rhythms, it's a difficult sing, and that's why it's great for youth, because it is definitely tuneful, but any musician in the audience will respect how hard and complex the orchestration is as well."

"The Adventures of Little Sharp Ears" has a short run at Krannert Center, with just three performances. Lyric Theatre will be back at Krannert Center next weekend with Sinfonia da Camera for a lightly-staged version of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, "H.M.S. Pinafore."