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Cultural twins, tied to Chicago and Poland, set to make their mark in the orchestra world

Mar 29, 2012 – 8:49 am
Eska Laskus featured image

Receive management fellowships.

August Wilson’s legacy resonates in vitality of African portraiture by playwright Danai Gurira

Mar 24, 2012 – 4:36 pm
Danai Gurira collage credit T Charles Erickson background

Report: All 20 precociously accomplished high school actors who took part in the August Wilson Monologue Competition at the Goodman Theatre were offered, as part of their winnings, free tickets to American playwright Danai Gurira’s “The Convert,” onstage at the Goodman through March 25. I hope they took the Goodman up on it. Wilson’s legacy is strongly continued with Gurira’s reflection upon her own African roots in a former capital of British colonialism.

Nathan Lane and straight man Brian Dennehy break the ice with a blitz of interview zingers

Mar 21, 2012 – 12:29 pm
Nathan Lane featured image

A bit o’ comic relief at the Goodman.

Surprise! Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma spring serenade on lunch crowd at Thompson Center

Mar 19, 2012 – 5:17 pm
Renee Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma jam on 3-19-2012 at James T. Thompson Center Chicago  credit Nancy Malitz

Soprano and cello, burgers and pizza.

Solemnity rules as Riccardo Muti guides CSO through musical perspectives on human spirit

Mar 16, 2012 – 4:31 pm
Riccardo Muti music director Chicago Symphony 2012

Review: Riccardo Muti has given Chicago many reasons to celebrate his music directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but perhaps the most perfect expression of his belief in art’s purpose comes in the current run of rarely heard works for chorus and orchestra by Brahms, Schoenberg and Cherubini. ****

In a program of Handel arias, Iestyn Davies illuminates Baroque art of the countertenor

Mar 10, 2012 – 6:48 pm
Iestyn Davies Photo: Marco Borggreve

Review: You’ve got to hand it to countertenor Iestyn Davies and conductor Harry Bicket. When they take a night off from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where they’re performing music of George Frideric Handel, they’re in another part of town performing … George Frideric Handel. Is this love or what? ****

Soprano Hui He takes over as Aida in Lyric’s new cast, and suddenly the chemistry bubbles

Mar 9, 2012 – 11:21 am
Aida featured image Quinn Kelsey Amonasro Hui He Aida Chicago Lyric Opera DAN_7621 c. Dan Rest

“Aida” with four new singers. 4 stars!

Handel trips back to the future as Lyric Opera proclaims the outrageous genius of ‘Rinaldo’

Mar 1, 2012 – 3:30 pm
RINALDO featured image Elza van den Heever, dancers,  RST_2961 c. Dan Rest

Not your grandfather’s Handel. 4 stars!

‘Meistersinger’ to ‘Streetcar,’ Lyric Opera’s new season offers scenic route with 9 stops

Feb 27, 2012 – 3:55 pm
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The Chicago Lyric Opera’s new season begins and ends with shows that should attract aficionados of opera and theater: “Elektra” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Here’s the show-by-show breakdown.

Riccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony unleash alternative energy of Mason Bates, Anna Clyne

Feb 14, 2012 – 9:01 pm
Clyne_Anna_Bates_Mason_featured image credit_Todd_Rosenberg

Feature: Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances in California and at Carnegie Hall will introduce new works by young resident composers Feb. 14-19 and Oct. 4.

Forget brass ring, tenor Jay Hunter Morris appears from nowhere to grab Wagner gold

Feb 9, 2012 – 10:36 am
Deborah Voight and Jay Hunter Morris Met Gotterdammerung featured image credit Ken Howard

Interview: The Texas native talks about his unlikely mid-career burst into stardom at the Metropolitan Opera. Morris plays the hero Siegfried in the Met’s HD broadcast of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” at cinemas worldwide Saturday, Feb. 11.

Chicago Symphony’s 2012-13 plans highlight Wagner, Stravinsky and waterway themes

Feb 6, 2012 – 7:38 pm
Riccardo Muti Orchestra Hall credit Todd Rosenberg

Complete season highlights, details.

HD sound check at the Berlin Philharmonic: Second look at stellar streaming concerts

Jan 2, 2012 – 11:18 pm
Digital Concert Hall 250

The Berlin Philharmonic began live concert broadcasts over the Internet in mid-2009 amid some high-tech speed bumps. Is 2012 the year it all comes together?

Sip New Year’s bubbly at home, tune in to great performances from around the world

Dec 30, 2011 – 4:57 am
Danielle de Niese  Ariel  Enchanted Island Metropolitan Opera credit Ken Howard

Our selective guide to the best national broadcasts, international radio streams, concert replays and festive downloads to help you ring in New Year 2012.

The holly and the ivories proclaim Yuletide in sparking keyboard riffs on old favorites

Dec 25, 2011 – 1:00 am
Steinway Christmas Album cover featured image green

Review: “A Steinway Christmas Album,” a classy bundle of seasonal arrangements compiled and performed by pianist Jeffrey Biegel. (Steinway) ****

New talents refresh evergreen tradition in sharp-shooting musical ‘A Christmas Story’

Dec 16, 2011 – 4:26 am
A Christmas Story The Musical Clarke Hallum as Ralphie and kids Chicago 2011

Debut tour at Chicago Theatre. 4 stars!

Early music vocalists Anonymous 4, bearing gifts from new CD, to offer Chicago concert

Dec 13, 2011 – 4:56 pm
Anonymous 4 featured image

Profile: Anonymous 4, the vocal quartet renowned for its plainchant and medieval music recordings, celebrates 25 seasons with a holiday concert of favorites at Chicago’s Art Institute Dec. 18, and a new release called “Secret Voices.”

Once more, Lyric’s treasured ‘Magic Flute’ spins its noble, wacky tale of love and light

Dec 9, 2011 – 11:12 am
Charles Castronovo Magic Flute c Dan Rest Lyric Opera Chicago

Mozart’s classic opera revives. 3 stars.

New York ‘Follies’ stars Broadway babies old enough to have a boffo then and now

Dec 7, 2011 – 1:32 pm
Follies Set-Ups

Appreciation: The showgirls of Broadway’s “Follies” have histories of their own. Hats off to these flawless charmers and their former selves in a present — and past — perfect production.

Goodman Theatre’s magical ‘Christmas Carol’ redeems sour Scrooge with heart and laughter

Dec 3, 2011 – 6:34 am
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Festive retelling for all ages. 4 stars!

‘An Iliad’ reconsiders the poet who brought us Achilles, Agamemnon, Hector and all that

Nov 28, 2011 – 6:23 pm
An Iliad Featured Image Timothy Edward Kane credit Michael Brosilow

One-man invasion at the Court. 4 stars!

In a claustrophobic space, Writers’ frames psychological chill of Pinter’s ‘Caretaker’

Nov 21, 2011 – 6:09 pm
Caretaker feature Jethmalani  Norris

Deliciously bizarre test of wits. 4 stars!

Glass’ meditative ‘Satyagraha,’ on Gandhi, takes Met’s Live HD series to new ground

Nov 17, 2011 – 7:41 pm
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Preview: The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts throughout the U.S. feature a landmark of American minimalism not to miss — ”Satyagraha” by Philip Glass, Nov. 19 and Dec. 7. Here’s a peek.

Contempo doubles down on new music, plays matchmaker for separate audiences

Nov 13, 2011 – 9:21 am
Hiromi feature

Preview: U.S. and Chicago premieres abound in the season opener of the new-music series Contempo, at the Harris Theater Tuesday. The concert is a double bill featuring a second set with Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara and her trio.

Lyric Opera’s powerful ‘Boris Godunov’ recaptures tragedy’s original stark beauty

Nov 10, 2011 – 8:24 pm
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Tortured soul of a Russian czar. 4 stars!

In a meeting of grey eminences, Haitink scores a fine first in Haydn’s oratorio ‘The Creation’

Oct 28, 2011 – 6:27 pm
Bernard Haitink conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra Bostridge Ek Mueller-Brachman

Review: Is there an optimal year in one’s life to conduct a masterpiece of Haydn for the first time? In the case of Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink and Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation,” the magical number would appear to be 82. ****

Chicago Symphony MusicNOW opens season with ping-pong balls and rhythms a-tumble

Oct 19, 2011 – 5:34 pm
Music Now

Review: MusicNOW, the contemporary series of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, began its 2011-12 season alive with the music of ping-pong balls, marimba, country fiddle and eerie vocals. Composers converged from Dublin, Connecticut, Minnesota and London to hear their works performed.

What’s under that skirt? Chicago Lyric Opera’s coloratura Anna Christy kicks Olympia into top gear

Oct 18, 2011 – 4:26 pm
Olympia wheels featured

Lyric Opera close-up: We had to know. How is it that soprano Anna Christy is able to zip around like a hovercraft while pinging those sparkling high notes as Olympia, the mechanical doll, in “The Tales of Hoffmann”?

Sondheim’s ‘Follies’ at CST: Broadway glitz and glamour, with all the endearing bruises

Oct 14, 2011 – 12:17 pm
CST_Follies_11 featured

At Chi. Shakespeare Theater. 5 stars!

From ‘naughty’ composer, young Baroque troupe gets a nice boost

Oct 11, 2011 – 4:50 pm
Wayward Sisters ensemble

It’s the phone call all struggling musicians hope for — the announcement of a competition prize complete with recording contract. For Wayward Sisters, a Baroque ensemble specializing in 17th-century music, the news lit up lines in Chicago and three other locales where its four members reside.