Who doesn’t love a singalong? Belting out beloved tunes with a bunch of people who share a collective history of and affection for those melodies? Irresistible—especially when the songs in question are from beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.
Because of this collective love, My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music, Houston Grand Opera’s event at the University of Houston’s TDECU Stadium on May 8, is likely to be the kind of event that attracts everyone from Broadway buffs to opera lovers to families with kids.
“It’s pretty exciting,” says Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique, who sings the role of Maria. “I’ve been watching the musical since I was a child. I feel so humbled and grateful to do what I do.”
With Maria, De Bique is making her Houston Grand Opera debut, though not in the sense she imagined. Originally, the opera company planned to mount a full-scale production of the musical, but Covid-19 meant a change of plans. So instead, De Bique and the rest of the cast, which includes Michael Mayes as Captain von Trapp and Katie van Kooten as the Mother Abbess, will perform the musical as more of a concert, complete with the HGO orchestra and chorus.
And yes, the audience will be encouraged to sing along.
“You can’t not sing to it,” De Bique laughs. “So, I am really hoping people do.”
In fact, people have been singing to the Sound of Music since it opened on Broadway in 1959. Five Tony Awards and six years later, the film adaption starring the now-legendary (read: queen) Julie Andrews hit screens, raking in more than $100 million (the first movie to ever do so), nabbing five Oscars, and becoming the soundtrack to generations along the way.
One of the reasons the musical endures, De Bique thinks, is because it’s ultimately about love in all its facets.
“There’s the love between Maria and the Captain,” she says. “But it’s also about her love for the children. I think families can relate to all the personalities in the show, all these different relationships. And the music ties it together.”
De Bique says she feels grateful for being able to perform when so many artists are still sidelined and hopes the singalong will give Houstonians an opportunity to be together and “take a breath for a moment and get a sense of healing and peace” after a long, tumultuous year.
Plus, getting a chance to sing these sparkling songs onstage never hurts.
“My favorite song is ‘The Sound of Music,’” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Switzerland, in the Alps, and the first time I sang the song in rehearsals, I started to tear up. The song captured exactly how I feel.”
May 8. From $7.50. University of Houston’s TDECU Stadium, 3874 Holman St. More info and tickets at houstongrandopera.org.