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Oct 15, 2018 – 4:20 pm

Report: After the brief, harrowing intermission of a strike by its orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago is back in business. Members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians ratified a new contract Oct. 14, ending a five-day walkout and clearing the way for the Lyric to declare Oct. 18 as the deferred opening night of Mozart’s “Idomeneo.” The Lyric Opera House actually re-opens its doors Oct. 17 with a performance of Puccini’s “La bohème,” which launched the current season.

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‘We Are Proud to Present’ a play that crawls before it walks – and then knocks you flat

Apr 10, 2012 – 4:14 pm
We Are Proud featured image Victory Gardens 2012 credit Liz Lauren

A stunner at Victory Gardens. 4 stars!

Remy Bumppo romp: Blessing’s ‘Chesapeake’ evades leash, mutes bark of political theater

Apr 9, 2012 – 2:00 pm
Greg Matthew Anderson in Chesapeake at RemyBumppo 2010 credit Johnny Knight

Shaggy dog revenge story. 3 stars.

CSO debut: Pianist Lugansky shows Russian school still thrives with grand Rachmaninoff

Apr 6, 2012 – 5:07 pm

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. ****

Role Playing: Chuck Spencer flashes a badge of moral courage in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Price’

Apr 4, 2012 – 5:55 pm
Chuck Spencer Chicago actor Raven Theatre

Interview: Chuck Spencer relishes poking through the piled clutter during his first long, solitary, silent minutes on stage at the beginning of Arthur Miller’s play “The Price,” at Raven Theatre.

In a week to remember, pianist Mitsuko Uchida bridges the lyrical realms of Schubert, Mozart

Mar 31, 2012 – 5:59 pm
Mitsuko Uchida featured image credit Hyou Vielz

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.

‘Cascabel’ flips theater on its head with cuisine, acrobatics and upside-down wine

Mar 30, 2012 – 2:27 pm
Cascabel featured image Alexandria Pivarel as Bathing Chica Lookingglass Theatre credit Sean Williams

High-wire fun at Lookingglass. 4 stars!

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.

In ‘Freud’s Last Session,’ an ailing analyst wrestles with death and a Christian convert

Mar 28, 2012 – 12:06 am
Freud's Last Session Featured Image Martin Rayner and Mark H. Dold Mercury Theater credit Carol Rosegg

Debating God at the Mercury. 3 stars.

It’s ‘The Seagull’ as smoke-and-mirrors romp in stylish Lunt-Fontanne frolic ‘Ten Chimneys’

Mar 25, 2012 – 10:36 pm
LuntFontanne2

Review: That master of the modern English comedy of manners, Noel Coward, might plausibly have written “Ten Chimneys,” the light-hearted toss of a play now occupying Northlight Theatre. It is so stylish, so wry, so – well, ephemeral. ***

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.

Role Playing: Rebecca Finnegan finds lyrical heart of a lonely woman in ‘A Catered Affair’

Mar 21, 2012 – 7:34 pm
Rebecca Finnegan featured image by Brandon Dahlquist

Interview: So perfectly does Rebecca Finnegan blend her painful lyric pauses into the narrative flow of “A Catered Affair,” at Porchlight Music Theater, that you scarcely notice she has ramped up from speech to song. Then the swelling power of that voice grabs you, and you realize you’re watching something special: an accomplished actor who’s also a genuine singer.

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.

Williams’ ‘Camino Real’ reshaped as director sets lyricism on a collision course with libido

Mar 17, 2012 – 2:39 pm
Camino Real Featured Image Calixto Bieito Tennessee Williams Goodman Theatre 2012

Carnal carnival at Goodman. 3 stars.

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. ****

Role Playing: Bill Norris pulled the seedy bum in ‘The Caretaker’ from a place within himself

Mar 13, 2012 – 4:56 pm
Bill Norris 550 featured image role playing

Interview: The scruffy creature with darting eyes who calls himself Davies looks like his last bed was a cardboard box on the street. He is the elusive but palpably real character at the core of Harold Pinter’s play “The Caretaker,” now on the boards at Writers’ Theatre, and he’s brought to wheedling, calculating life in a masterful piece of acting by Bill Norris.

Raven Theatre sifts through debris and debate of ‘The Price,’ but can’t deliver the payoff

Mar 11, 2012 – 2:10 pm
The Price by Arthur Miller at Raven Theatre Chicago John Steinhagen Chuck Spencer credit Dean LaPrairie

Arthur Miller on memory’s attic. 3 stars.

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? ****

Virtuosity on display, CSO and Zukerman burnish Brahms concerto, 2nd Symphony

Mar 9, 2012 – 5:02 pm
Pinchas Zukerman featured image credit Paul Labelle

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. *****

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!

With a vision of grace in the Arizona desert, Strawdog draws life from ‘Petrified Forest’

Mar 7, 2012 – 1:58 am
Petrified Forest featured image Strawdog 2012 Caroline Neff Adam Shalzi Jamie Vann John Moran

Desperate souls in a diner. 4 stars!

Chicago Shakespeare’s teen-length ‘Shrew,’ pulling out laugh stops, shows way to do Will

Mar 3, 2012 – 6:40 pm
Taming of the Shrew Featured Image Matt Mueller as Petruchio woos Ericka Ratcliff as Katharina Short Shakespeare! Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Spunky side of the Bard. 4 stars!

In a bold CSO debut, English conductor meets twin challenges of Mahler and Schoenberg

Mar 2, 2012 – 7:29 pm
Thomas Nott Featured Image Michelle DeYoung Stuart Skelton Chicago Symphony 2012 credit Todd Rosenberg

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.****

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!

Lyric Opera commissions a young Peruvian’s first stage work, setting of Lima hostage crisis

Feb 29, 2012 – 2:13 am
Lopez

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.

As German bombardment strands Leningrad, political fear feeds desperation in ‘Hunger’

Feb 27, 2012 – 5:50 pm
Ilya and Alena closeup feature first crop

Portrait of duress at Lifeline. 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.

In Porchlight’s ‘Catered Affair,’ a musical about ordinary people proves a dramatic jewel

Feb 24, 2012 – 1:29 am
A Catered Affair Featured Rebecca Finnegan and Kelly Davis Wilson Photo by Brandon Dahlquist

A play verging on opera. 4 stars!

Darn that ‘Dream’ – Chicago Shakespeare does double take on Bard’s lovers, fairies

Feb 20, 2012 – 2:18 am
Midsummer Night's Dream Chicago Shakespeare Theatre 2012 featured image 2 credit Liz Lauren

It’s a midsummer night… 4 stars!

Wrestling with sins of the flesh, a porn star finds salvation comes at a cost in ‘Hesperia’

Feb 18, 2012 – 4:09 pm
Kelly O'Sullivan and Nathan Hosner in Hesperia Writers Theatre credit Michael Brosilow

Sex and religion at Writers’. 4 stars!