Streaming Opera: THE FACTOTUM (Free Viewing of Cinematic Version from Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Post image for Streaming Opera: THE FACTOTUM (Free Viewing of Cinematic Version from Lyric Opera of Chicago)

by Tony Frankel on September 1, 2023

in Theater-Chicago,Virtual


Stage and Cinema‘s review of The Factotum claimed that this Lyric Opera world premiere was redefining opera for the 21st century. “The Factotum celebrates the joys and struggles of African Americans living on the south side of Chicago. Created primarily by Will Liverman and DJ King Rico (who both perform in the show), it offers a mashup of genres and styles that can appeal to a broader and younger audience than the typical Lyric production. Presented as an opera, The Factotum often seems more like a musical because of its spoken dialogue and miked singers. The music owes as much to classical opera as to blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip hop. Fortunately, this makes The Factotum very much unlike most contemporary operas with their austere melodies and lack of popular appeal.

Nissi Shalome as Cece and Norman Garrett as Garby

“I wasn’t sure I was going to like The Factotum, but I loved it. Each of the characters was engaging in a way that made me feel highly invested in the story. I laughed and cried, hopeful that Rose would fall for CJ and sad when Cece got arrested. And I couldn’t stop watching the dancers, who brought so much energy to the production. The Factotum questions expectations and assumptions, redefining and reimagining opera in a way that pushes the boundaries and makes it culturally relevant.”

The Company

Loosely inspired by Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, has grown into a joyful and original piece all its own. Due to its limited run and the high interest in the production, Lyric has released the film of The Factotum for free online viewing via Lyric’s YouTube channel (we have not been alerted as to an end date yet). Beyond capturing the striking stage performances with the original cast, the film will feature behind-the-scenes glimpses on the opera’s journey from page to stage with never-before-seen cast and creative team interviews and footage.

Will Liverman as Mike

The Factotum runs two hours and ten minutes in two acts. Each half is quite different: the first is fun, featuring laugh-out-loud comedy and excellent dancing, while the second turns serious with its protest songs and depiction of police brutality.

The Company

Concept, Music, and Lyrics by Will Liverman and DJ King Rico
Book by Will Liverman, DJ King Rico, and Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj
Dramaturgy by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj

Commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera. Co-production of Lyric Opera of ChicagoHouston Grand OperaPortland Opera, and Washington National Opera.

The Company

photos by Cory Weaver

Leave a Comment