HGO's Carousel Offers a "Grounded Reality" and Beautiful Music

When Australian Alexander Lewis began singing as an adult, he was a baritone, usually performing in music theater. The son of two opera singers he grew up around the Sydney Opera House, but went a slightly different way in his own singing career.

As it turns out, his previous training and experiences — and the fact that along the way he discovered he was really a tenor — made him the perfect candidate to take on the role of Enoch Snow after HGO released Norman Reinhardt from his contract after Reinhardt was offered the role of Tony in West Side Story in Salzburg.

It's Carousel, the Rodgers and Hammerstein second collaboration (after Oklahoma) in 1945 and Houston Grand Opera's musical theater offering this season. Carousel may be particularly appropriate for an HGO appearance since Rodgers was reported to have said he thought this work was operatic in nature with its long musical passages.

Millworker Julie Jordan and carnival barker Billy Bigelow meet and as a result of their instant infatuation, both lose their jobs. They marry, but the happily-ever-after is tarnished when he starts hitting her. Meanwhile her best friend Carrie Pipperidge marries fisherman Snow who dreams of being rich and having lots of children.

“The Enoch Snow character can be a very light-hearted character and his relationship with Carrie is trying to set up the stereotypical perfect couple to kind of counter the somewhat more flawed relationship of Julie and Billy,” Lewis says. "We then might see Carrie and Enoch in a slightly different light later on when everyone accepts that everyone has flaws and you love them despite that or for that sometimes. So it's being played in a grounded reality and realism that I think will relate to the modern world and some of the subject matter is sadly relevant today."

And then, of course, there's the songs: “You'll Never Walk Alone,” “June is Bustin' Out All Over,” and “If I Loved You,” are just some of the musical's memorable songs.

Performances are scheduled for April 22 through May 7 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays Saturdays, and Wednesday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. Sung in English with projected English text. For information visit houstongrandopera.org or call 713-228-6737. $18-$302.25.

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