Articles in Classical + Opera
Report: CSO board’s approval due soon.
Update: Talks resume with mediator.
Review: Symphony orchestra seasons typical open with some form of sizzle, maybe a mix of warhorse masterwork and superstar soloist. But music director Riccardo Muti went the opposite direction, kicking off the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new season Thursday night with a complete sleeper of a program, an evening of little-known works and with no soloist at all. It was terrific. ****
Review: The Chicago Opera Theater production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” leaves one with two distinct impressions. For the most part, its young cast sings with stylistic savvy, fetching beauty and engaging spirit – all shaped with unfailing sensibility by conductor Steuart Bedford.★★★
He receives prize Oct. 11 in Pittsburgh.
Even queens get caught in red tape.
Report: Pianist Misha Dichter, who celebrates his 45th consecutive season with the Ravinia Festival on July 29, shares his passion for sketching in a new e-book.
Review: The best antidote to Chicago temperatures in the nineties is this surpassingly cool prospect — free Millennium Park concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where the sound is superb and the ceiling’s a canopy of stars. Cooler still was the addition of big screen video to this outdoor mix that a huge crowd enjoyed June 27, when the Paris Opéra Ballet’s exquisite production of “Giselle” was projected live via the big screen, from inside the Harris Theater, to the traditional classical-loving audience of the Grant Park Orchestra. ****
Review: No doubt the large crowd gathered June 23 at the Ravinia Festival’s Martin Recital Hall was drawn mainly by the prospect of seeing 75-year-old composer-pianist Philip Glass perform a program of his own music. And no doubt they came away delighted by the 90-minute sampler of Glass’ music through the decades and his affable flair for story-telling. But the brightest light on this evening was cast by the youthful, California-born violinist Tim Fain, who played – among other things — one prodigious movement from an unaccompanied suite that Glass has written for him. *****
Review: One of the fascinations of this Chicago Symphony Orchestra season — which drew toward its close Sunday with the final performance of Bruckner’s Sixth in its sumptuous glory — has been to hear various conductors come into the same acoustical space of Orchestra Hall, stand in the same spot where music director Riccardo Muti stands, and ply their art with the same band of a hundred-plus that Muti conducts. ****
Exclusive Interview: When conductor Riccardo Muti recorded Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major with the Berlin Philharmonic 25 years ago, he came to the task steeped in the Bruckner tradition of the Vienna Philharmonic – a distinctively Austrian way of looking at this thoroughly Austrian Late-Romantic composer. Now, to close out his second season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Muti says he will bring that perspective to the Bruckner Sixth on June 22-24.
Will shuttle between continents.
Review: It’s one thing to hear a hair-raising orchestra performance on a CD, and quite another to experience it happening right in front of you, live, in the splendorous acoustics of a concert space. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s rocket-sled finale in Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on May 15 at Orchestra Hall, with conductor Jaap van Zweden, was one to send a writer combing his thesaurus for a higher form of wow. *****
Alexander Hanna, 26, was groomed at Curtis, Tanglewood and Verbier.
Review: Lang Lang’s debut at Chicago’s 3500-seat Civic Opera House was quietly elegant, cogently argued and intensely focused. That is, until the abundantly gifted pianist gave himself over to some astonishing fireworks. With a technique like that, who can blame him? ****
Beijing, Mexico City, Seoul among stops.
Preview: When Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang steps onto the stage at the Civic Opera House for his recital Saturday night, it will be a special moment for everyone in the house – including the pianist.
Starts in 2013 as 13th music director
‘Beyond the Score’ with Riccardo Muti
Medea’s very, very jealous. 4 stars!
‘Moscow, Cheryomushki.’ 4 stars!
Review: From the admixture of opulence and asceticism that constituted conductor Charles Dutoit’s program of French music with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this weekend, one might have taken away good lessons offered in a perhaps subversively gleeful spirit. ****
Preview: It sounds like a perfect mix of guests for a dinner party, the composers queued up for the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s concert April 15 at Orchestra Hall. George Crumb and Anton Webern will be arriving together, so to speak, along with Schubert and Grieg – and a newcomer whose radical voice should give the affair a good jolt.
Review: Sensational. That, in a word, was Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky’s debut April 5 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Charles Dutoit. The tall, assured pianist – one could only think of the young Van Cliburn – made epic poetry of Rachmaninoff’s formidable Third Piano Concerto in a performance that probed a deep vein of lyricism and simply transcended technical issues. ****
Commentary: Pianist Mitsuko Uchida’s two appearances this last week at Orchestra Hall, in a recital of Schubert’s late sonatas March 25 and her current concerts playing and conducting Mozart concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, resonate not like discrete encounters but rather like an epic testimonial to her phenomenal art.
Receive management fellowships.
Soprano and cello, burgers and pizza.
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. ****
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? ****
Review: Sometimes, in the course of a symphony orchestra season, it’s good just to hear the band dial up the core German repertoire and show what it can do. That’s exactly what the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director Riccardo Muti did March 8 in a sumptuous double dose of Brahms, the Violin Concerto with soloist Pinchas Zukerman and the Second Symphony. *****