Articles in Classical + Opera
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. *****
“Aida” with four new singers. 4 stars!
Review: Stepping in to pinch hit for Pierre Boulez may not be the least stressful way to make one’s conducting debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Subbing on short notice to take over Boulez’s rare pairing of Mahler’s song-symphony “Das Lied von der Erde” and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto – that’s quite a debut.****
Not your grandfather’s Handel. 4 stars!
The Lyric Opera of Chicago has commissioned the first opera from 33-year-old Peruvian composer Jimmy López, and will present the new work’s world premiere in December 2015.
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.
Song and dance on the Delta. 5 stars!
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.
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.
Complete season highlights, details.
The Princess’ rival is her slave. 3 stars
Review: Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with the Chicago Children’s Choir conducted by Riccardo Muti. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Max Emanuel Cencic, countertenor; Stéphane Degout, baritone. Through Jan. 28. *****