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Catering to opera-goers hungry before show, Lyric’s restaurant, bistro take it up an octave

Jan 19, 2018 – 4:59 pm
Lyric opera's Pedersen Room (lyricopera.org)

Around Town: Lyric’s onsite restaurants are fiercely dedicated to the principle that Yes, you absolutely will make curtain, and Yes, you can come back to your table at intermission for coffee, dessert, and the rest of the wine.

Ailyn Pérez replaces Erin Wall as Marguerite for Lyric Opera’s new production of ‘Faust’

Jan 18, 2018 – 12:11 pm
Perez

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Canadian-American soprano Erin Wall has withdrawn from “Faust” at Lyric Opera of Chicago to undergo chemotherapy, Anthony Freud, …

Chicago native Janai Brugger joins ‘Turandot,’ another bright spot in Lyric Opera production

Jan 15, 2018 – 4:34 pm
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Second Look: It was soprano Janai Brugger’s scheduled mid-run insertion as Liù, in Puccini’s “Turandot,” that drew me back for a second look at the Lyric Opera of Chicago production. But while Brugger’s performance rewarded my reprise, the experience also underscored some important truths about this last of Puccini’s operas – and about the real merit of the Lyric’s success with it.

Sinfonietta unfurls evocative musical tapestry of a Langston Hughes African-American epic

Jan 14, 2018 – 3:14 pm
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Preview: Chicago Sinfonietta’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert is consistently the orchestra’s best-attended event of the year, says music director Mei-Ann Chen. But this year’s MLK affair – Jan. 15 at Orchestra Hall — will also be Sinfonietta’s most ambitious enterprise: composer Laura Karpman’s musically multicultural setting of Langston Hughes’ epic poem about the African-American experience, “Ask Your Mama.”

Muti to lead CSO in Kennedy Center, Carnegie concerts, kicking off East Coast tour Feb. 7-17

Jan 11, 2018 – 4:34 pm
Top of story

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Music Director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will make a five-city, eight-concert East …

Grant Park Festival will celebrate youth, honor composer Bolcom at 80 and roll out premiere

Jan 9, 2018 – 3:51 pm
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Report: A large-scaled world premiere for chorus and orchestra, a celebration of composer William Bolcom’s 80th birthday and a parade of stellar young soloists highlight plans for the Grant Park Music Festival’s 2018 summer, announced June 9. Centerpiece of the 10-week series of free concerts, June 13-Aug. 18 at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and other venues throughout the city, will be the premiere of an as yet untitled work for orchestra and chorus by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.

Russian-born pianist Igor Levit, 30, receives Gilmore prize in novel undeclared competition 

Jan 7, 2018 – 9:50 pm
Igor Levit

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
NEW YORK — Pianist Igor Levit has been named the recipient of the 2018 Gilmore …

Auditorium Theatre to launch Tuesday tours spotlighting building’s history, architecture

Jan 7, 2018 – 8:59 pm
AuditoriumTheatre

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
The Auditorium Theatre announces new evening tours on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., beginning Jan. 16, when visitors will have the …

Lyric Unlimited presents Lawrence Brownlee in Chicago premiere of ‘Cycles of My Being’

Jan 7, 2018 – 2:07 pm
Tenor Lawrence Brownlee

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Lyric Unlimited, a division of Lyric Opera of Chicago, is excited to present Cycles of My Being, …

One, two, (maybe) three: Muti again waltzes Vienna through beloved New Year’s concert

Dec 30, 2017 – 1:49 pm
Druck

Preview: When Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert for the fifth time in his career, it will be 11:15 a.m. in the city of Mozart, Beethoven and Johann Strauss Jr., but only 4:15 a.m. in Chicago. Worry not, there are multiple ways to enjoy this event, which epitomizes the close friendship that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director has had with the esteemed Vienna Philharmonic, dating back some 47 years.

Chamber operas tell Christmas and Hanukkah tales, with magic to capture hearts of children

Dec 20, 2017 – 3:36 pm
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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.” ★★★

In Rachmaninoff concerto, Denis Kozhukhin embodies glittering wave of Russian pianists

Dec 19, 2017 – 4:41 pm
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Review: Pianist Denis Kozhukhin’s imposing and poetic turn through Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jaap van Zweden on Dec. 16, drove home a striking reality about today’s pianistic landscape: It is dominated by a clutch of Russians in their forties or younger.

‘Turandot’ at Lyric Opera: Recapturing mythic exoticism with theatrical flair, on a grand scale

Dec 8, 2017 – 11:22 am
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Review: A dark and mythical love story set long, long ago in an imaginary locale in China, Giacomo Puccini’s final opera, “Turandot,” has traditionally brought out the grand in grand opera. And so it does again in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s lavish production, which is dominated by a massive, eye-grabbing sculpture of a serpentine dragon that undulates across and through a steeply raked set with an array of other changing scenic touches. ★★★

‘Saw My Neighbor on the Train’ at Redtwist: Amid pain and plain talk, generations collide

Dec 2, 2017 – 11:12 pm
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Review: Just when you think you’ve seen the ultimate dysfunctional family on stage, along comes Suzanne Heathcote’s gritty play “I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile,” a stunner that touches a core of hope in a mesmerizing production at Redtwist Theatre. ★★★★

‘The Pearl Fishers’ at Lyric Opera: Mirroring Bizet’s exotic poem of love in a distant world

Nov 21, 2017 – 5:13 pm
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Review: For a living, pulsating definition of Romanticism, look no further than the 25-year-old Georges Bizet’s opera “The Pearl Fishers.” Worlds away from the verismo terrain of “Carmen,” which would cap Bizet’s brief life just 12 years later, “Les pêcheurs de perles” is an exotic love poem set in ancient Ceylon, its soaring lyricism consummated in one man’s ultimate sacrifice offered to another in the name of both love and friendship. The whole seductive package – remote enchantment, grand singing, evocative costumes, stylized sets – comes together in a splendid production at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. ★★★★

Muti leads CSO, pianist Gerstein in eloquent Brahms and chamber-scaled rarity by Strauss

Nov 19, 2017 – 12:22 pm
11/16/17 10:44:13 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, Conductor 
Kirill Gerstei, piano


Puccini Preludio sinfonico
R. Strauss Suite from Le bourgeois gentilhomme
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1

©Todd Rosenberg Photography

Review: Any deeply satisfying concerto performance bespeaks a close collaboration between soloist and conductor, yet even by that measure the majestic and probing Brahms First Piano Concerto delivered by Kirill Gerstein with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 17 was a rare, one might say time-stopping, experience.

CSO, two stellar guests in music from Vienna: Some of it in C major, and all of it great

Nov 13, 2017 – 3:20 pm
11/9/17 9:13:34 PM -- Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck Conductor
Arabella Steinbacher violin

Bach, Orch. Webern Ricercar No. 2 from The Musical Offering
Berg Violin Concerto 
Schubert Symphony No. 9 (Great)

  © Todd Rosenberg Photography

Review: When the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s current season is well into the books, I will remember in detail the perfect convergence of music and moment that was the Nov. 11 concert with conductor Manfred Honeck and violinist Arabella Steinbacher. The pairing of Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major was ideally suited to Honeck, the 59-year-old, Austrian-born music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Orchestra, trekking across U.S., makes a power stop in Chicago

Nov 9, 2017 – 3:47 pm
11/8/17 10:06:51 PM -- Symphony Center Presents the Marinsky Orchestra. 
Valery Gergiev conductor
Denis Matsuev piano

  © Todd Rosenberg Photography

Review: Many an admiring adjective could be attached to the Mariinsky Orchestra, the St. Petersburg ensemble conducted by Valery Gergiev that lit up Orchestra Hall on Nov. 8 with a big, blazing concert of works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Strauss – not to mention two Wagner encores that measured up to everything that had gone before. But the encomium that ruled my dizzied head by the end of this ambitious and thoroughly rewarding performance was durable.This troupe is in the midst of a coast-to-coast U.S. tour that would test the strength and spirit of, well, a rock band.

In luminous concert, Newberry Consort recalls music of Spanish Jews in Renaissance tumult

Nov 8, 2017 – 11:21 am
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Review: In 1492, while Columbus was unveiling a new world far to the west across an uncharted ocean, the Jews were being thrown out of Spain. Those who would not convert to Catholicism were ordered, on pain of death, to leave. This suddenly banished people, compelled to find new lives around the Mediterranean basin and across Europe, took with them a long and rich musical tradition nurtured in Spanish soil. The multifaceted musical legacy of the Sephardim – literally Spanish Jews – was the enchanting theme of the Newberry Consort’s first program of the season.

András Schiff, pianist and conductor, doubles the pleasure of an elegant night with the CSO

Nov 6, 2017 – 11:37 pm
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Review: The consummate musicianship of András Schiff is well known to Chicago aficionados of the piano. He’s a familiar face in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s annual recital series. Yet even his most ardent fans might have been surprised by Schiff’s masterly conducting – from the keyboard and in strictly orchestral fare – in a diverse and delightful program with the CSO.

‘Die Walküre’ at Lyric Opera: Heroic singing, lots of blood, and Wagner caught in a muddle

Nov 4, 2017 – 10:02 pm
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Review: There are times in opera when great singing rises above problematic production. Voices triumph over Konzept. But not even a glorious performance by bass-baritone Eric Owens – or the exemplary musical leadership of Andrew Davis – could compensate for the sum of gruesome design and muddle-headed staging heaped upon Wagner’s “Die Walküre” at Lyric Opera of Chicago. ★★★

‘Rigoletto’ at the Lyric Opera: Not for the eye, but it’s a triple treat vocally, and that’s no jest

Oct 10, 2017 – 8:31 pm
10/4/17 1:17:13 PM -- Lyric Opera Chicago Presents 
Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto 

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Review: Thanks to the vocally resplendent and emotionally engaged performances by baritone Quinn Kelsey as the hateful and paranoid court jester Rigoletto, soprano Rosa Feola as his sheltered and naïve daughter Gilda and tenor Matthew Polenzani as the sexually predatory Duke of Mantua, the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s take on Verdi’s “Rigoletto” pays significant rewards as psychological drama. But this bleak, objectified production created 20 years ago for the San Francisco Opera with sets by Michael Yeargan – and directed here by E. Loren Meeker – all but nullifies the work as theater. ★★★

Louis Lortie keys on the virtuosity of Liszt’s vivid, peripatetic life as a Romantic artist

Oct 10, 2017 – 4:22 pm
Louis Lortie 23 feature image (Elias)

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.

Muti and Chicago Symphony set the bar high for new season in stellar Bruckner, Schumann

Sep 30, 2017 – 9:14 am
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Review: I caught up belatedly with the Chicago Symphony’s season-opening program under music director Riccardo Muti – a spritz of modernism in Penderecki’s “The Awakening of Jacob,” soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter’s spell-binding flight through the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Muti’s revelatory account of Schumann’s Second Symphony — then two nights later heard the program that continues through Oct. 1: the world premiere of CSO resident composer Elizabeth Ogonek’s alluring “All These Lighted Things” and perhaps the greatest performance of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony that I’ve witnessed in 50 years as a critic.

Lyric Opera hit ‘Orphée,’ with Joffrey Ballet, will be aired on ‘Great Performances’ in 2018

Sep 29, 2017 – 11:13 am
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This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Lyric Opera of Chicago is pleased to announce that Thirteen Productions LLC for WNET New York has …

Lyric Opera, in stylish step with Joffrey Ballet, dances into new season with Gluck’s ‘Orphée’

Sep 26, 2017 – 2:48 pm

Review: My first reaction to the sublime Elysium Fields scene in “Orphée et Eurydice,” as conceived by John Neumeier for the Chicago Lyric Opera, was that I was actually looking at Gluck’s music — that I was “seeing” the sound, so perfectly twinned were the diaphanous movements of the dancers to the serene music representing spirits in afterlife. My second reaction was that Neumeier knows his Freud. With plenty of insight and practical know-how, he has crafted a brilliant contemporary scheme for this 1774 Paris version of Gluck’s opera, which draws from the ancient myth of Orphée’s rescue attempt in the underworld. ★★★★★

Music of Sephardic Jews in Renaissance Spain leads off season for Newberry Consort

Sep 21, 2017 – 11:29 am
Top of story

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
The Newberry Consort will present the music of the Sephardic Jews in Renaissance Spain at their …

Lyric Opera’s Ryan training center adds six young singers to its ensemble for 2018-19

Sep 20, 2017 – 9:18 am
Top of story

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Dan Novak, director of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist development program at Lyric Opera of Chicago, …

Muti to open Chicago Symphony season with concerts spotlighting Mutter and a premiere

Sep 15, 2017 – 4:21 pm
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This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Music Director Riccardo Muti returns to Chicago in September for his first Chicago Symphony Orchestra residency …

Chicago Sinfonietta opens 30th-anniversary season with diverse fare touting its Trademark

Sep 15, 2017 – 2:25 pm
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This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.
Chicago Sinfonietta, the nation’s most diverse orchestra, kicks off its 30th anniversary with concerts on the theme Trademark, showcasing unusual …