Articles by Marta Tonegutti
Chamber operas tell Christmas and Hanukkah tales, with magic to capture hearts of children
Review: A joyful musical double bill by Chamber Opera Chicago was on view at the Royal George Theatre on Dec. 19 for the conclusion of a two-performance run. The traditional holiday staging of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Christmas tale “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was paired with Victoria Bond’s modern-day Hanukkah tale, “The Miracle of Light.” ★★★
Louis Lortie keys on the virtuosity of Liszt’s vivid, peripatetic life as a Romantic artist
Review: The Symphony Center piano series opened Oct. 8 with an astounding concert by the French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie devoted entirely to Liszt’s masterful “Années de pèlerinage.” This was a rare and ravishing performance evoking Liszt’s years of pilgrimage as an itinerant virtuoso. Throughout the two halves of the concert you could hear a pin drop in Orchestra Hall.
From Lyric Opera stage, pair of stars launch into a swinging orbit around the world of song
Review: Musical artistry at 360º was on display April 9 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a joint recital by tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Eric Owens, with the marvelously adroit Craig Terry at the piano. Through a rousing program, the two singers showed their vast, enthusiastic and refreshingly diverse audience a broad and deeply felt repertoire of spirituals, traditional songs and Broadway favorites as well as the opera for which they are celebrated.
Beethoven the symphonist, early and famous, finely etched by Budapest Festival Orchestra
Review: In the second stop of a five-city American tour that started at Lincoln Center last week and ends in Boston on Sunday, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and its conductor Ivàn Fischer offered a thrilling all-Beethoven program at Orchestra Hall that featured the Fifth Symphony and reaffirmed the freshness and sense of discovery that mark Beethoven’s buoyant early style.
Haymarket moves from Baroque to Classical with Joseph Haydn’s ‘Desert Island’ treasure
Review: A sense of joyous buoyancy is the hallmark of productions at the Haymarket Opera Company, where lovingly honed details go hand in hand with imaginative concepts for historical sources. The latest is Haydn’s charming chamber opera “L’isola disabitata” (The Desert Island), first performed at the court theater of the Hungarian Prince Esterhazy. Thus Haymarket departs from its customary Baroque repertoire and races toward the modern sounds of 1779.
Viols and countertenor a novel modernist mix in John Harbison’s reflective ‘Cross of Snow’
Review: A mix of early- and new-music enthusiasts gathered on May 22 in the quietly graceful Church of St. Chrysostom’s, nestled in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast, for the world premiere of a contemplative and compelling new work for four viols and countertenor voice by American composer John Harbison, presented by Second City Musick. A superb group of viols was joined by the outstanding countertenor Nathan Medley.
Haymarket Opera digs into Baroque treasury and finds sparkling Cavalli gem ‘La Calisto’
Review: Thanks to the adventurous Haymarket Opera Company, Chicago audiences experienced one of the jewels of early Baroque opera, Francesco Cavalli’s “La Calisto,” on May 6 and 8 in their own back yard. It was a pure, glistening delight. With a larger stage at their disposal after the move to the spacious Athenaeum Theatre, the company’s seasoned creative team offered a historically informed re-invention of sets and costumes inspired in part by surviving production books from the opera’s 1651 premiere.