By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
April 28, 2012
The full-house crowd present Friday at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club for Maureen O’Flynn: At the Crossroads enjoyed not only a rare entertainment experience but one that was visceral as well.
The debut appearance of international opera star O’Flynn, at the Cabaret, was presented in partnership with the Indianapolis Opera, for whom she is appearing in Faust on May 4 and 6 at Clowes Memorial Hall. It was sponsored by Jane Fortune & Bob Hesse and Bill Fortune, Jr. & Joe Blakley.
Acclaimed for her dazzling soprano voice and powers of interpretation on operatic stages, O’Flynn showed she is equally adept at employing her spectacular vocal instrument and dramatic skills to sing musical theatre, American Songbook classics and pops music in a less formal and more intimate setting.
O’Flynn also showed she is anything but the stereotypical ego-driven, temperamental opera diva. She was charming, funny and relaxed – sprinkling her act with stories and anecdotes about her personal background and career. It was an unpredictable program, featuring tunes, many of them poetic in nature, which reflected some of her life experiences.
The Metropolitan opera star, who is celebrated for her bel canto style and magnificent coloratura soprano, did not disappoint those present who were familiar with her formidable voice. O’Flynn, who was accompanied by her fine pianist and music director Bob Rebic, more than used it to her advantage while singing Make the Most of Your Music, by Stephen Sondheim from Follies, and I’m a Stranger Here Myself, by Kurt Weill from One Touch of Venus.
Not afraid to show her vulnerability, O’Flynn was emotionally affecting during her performance of two songs which communicated profound loss she had suffered. When I Look in Your Eyes, by Leslie Bricusse, was dedicated to Coltry, a treasured pet dog who had to be put down while O’Flynn was away on tour. Another was a heartrending rendition of I Know You by Heart by Diane Scanlon and Eve Nelson. It was a tribute to her late brother whom she said was majorly responsible for her career.
When You Wish Upon a Star, Over the Rainbow and Lerner and Lowe’s Before I Gaze at You Againfrom Camelot, displayed O’Flynn’s effortless talent at making a song her very own and finesse at storytelling that kept the audience spellbound.
Ending the evening with a thrilling musical flourish during her encore, O’Flynn sang Chance to Sing, an exhilarating composition by Billy Goldenberg.
“I’m grateful to see all the wonderful things I’ve seen/Grateful to be all that love expects me to be…” are lyrics from Leslie Bricusse’s At the Crossroads – the inspiration for the show’s title, and a song performed by O’Flynn early in the show.
Incorporating sentiments that summarize O’Flynn’s attitude about life, it was an ideal expression for the gifted artist who showed that she not only has the courage to go outside her comfort zone, but also that she is as self-assured as she is authentic.
For tickets and information about upcoming performances at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club, call (317) 275-1169 or visit www.thecabaret.org.
For tickets and information about Faust, presented by Indianapolis Opera at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University, call the Clowes Hall box office 1-800-745-300 or visit www.indyopera.org
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