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Nov 21, 2018 – 2:28 pm

Review: When people talk about high-energy spectacle and romantic intensity in Italian opera, “Il Trovatore” is the classic Exhibit A. An instant hit when it opened in Rome, it’s still a winner. Lyric’s three-way production with the San Francisco Opera and the Met is a concept that remains dynamic and fresh, from the flash and wham of gypsy smithies hammering away at their swords in the extravagant Anvil Chorus, to the tragic love triangle that complicates a civil war unfolding. ★★★★

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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
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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
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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!

Lyric Opera ventures into American musical with a ‘Show Boat’ that you can’t help lovin’

Feb 16, 2012 – 1:50 pm
Show Boat Lyric Opera featured image c. Robert Kusel

Song and dance on the Delta. 5 stars!

Riccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony unleash alternative energy of Mason Bates, Anna Clyne

Feb 14, 2012 – 9:01 pm
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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.

It’s all about the verbs, present and veiled past, as lies collide in ‘The Girl in the Yellow Dress’

Feb 13, 2012 – 2:05 am
Girl in the Yellow Dress Next Theatre credit Elissa Shortridge

Student-teacher clash at Next. 4 stars!

Forget brass ring, tenor Jay Hunter Morris appears from nowhere to grab Wagner gold

Feb 9, 2012 – 10:36 am
Deborah Voight and Jay Hunter Morris Met Gotterdammerung featured image credit Ken Howard

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.

To beat of song and dance, ‘Ameriville’ sounds cautionary tales of life on the short end

Feb 9, 2012 – 12:56 am
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Stompin’ at Victory Gardens. 3 stars

Chicago Symphony’s 2012-13 plans highlight Wagner, Stravinsky and waterway themes

Feb 6, 2012 – 7:38 pm
Riccardo Muti Orchestra Hall credit Todd Rosenberg

Complete season highlights, details.

Steppenwolf’s dark view of ‘Time Stands Still’ frames a close-up of war’s toll

Feb 4, 2012 – 9:45 pm
Time Stands Still Steppenwolf Featured Image credit Michael Brosilow Guinan Murphy

Some wounds heal slowly. 4 stars!

When ethnic roots snag the American dream, idealism stumbles in ‘Disgraced’

Feb 2, 2012 – 5:43 pm
Disgraced Featured Image American Theater Co 2012 credit Michael Brosilow

Meltdown at Amer. Theater Co. 5 stars!

‘Aida’ at the Lyric Opera: Verdi’s tragedy hits the pitches but misses some dramatic notes

Jan 28, 2012 – 8:00 pm
Aida Chicago Lyric featured image credit Dan Rest

The Princess’ rival is her slave. 3 stars

In Orff’s earthy ‘Carmina Burana,’ Muti guides CSO and vocal force to Fortune’s throne room

Jan 27, 2012 – 7:14 pm
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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. *****

It’s Mamet, so nothing’s plain as black/white when Goodman taps the bitter humor of ‘Race’

Jan 24, 2012 – 8:00 pm
Race, Goodman Theatre

Cynically, unbearably funny. 4 stars!

Honeck and the Chicago Symphony recall Dvorak on native soil with a dancing Eighth

Jan 20, 2012 – 1:03 pm
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Review: If Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony is a yearning postcard “From the New World,” his Symphony No. 8 in G major is redolent of a composer happily settled on native ground. The Eighth is decidedly of the Old World, as conductor Manfred Honeck and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra so generously demonstrated Jan. 19 at Orchestra Hall. ****

‘Mr. Rickey’ imagines a prelude to history, before Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers

Jan 19, 2012 – 8:11 pm
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Full count at the Lookingglass. 3 stars.

Role Playing: Diane D’Aquila’s twice regal portrait as lover-monarch in ‘Elizabeth Rex’

Jan 9, 2012 – 3:36 am
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Interview: Diane D’Aquila, who brings Queen Elizabeth I to regal and vulnerable life in Timothy Findley’s “Elizabeth Rex” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, says acting in this gripping, keenly honed production “is a like a dance out there, and it’s scary as hell.”

Chailly lifts his quick baton, and Beethoven’s symphonies emerge from the veil of tradition

Jan 6, 2012 – 4:31 pm
Riccardo Chailly Decca Beethoven featured image

CD review: Conductor Riccardo Chailly’s new recording of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, may finally be the document that changes the way we think of these seminal works – and the way the next generation of conductors approaches them. *****

Marriage of true minds: Chicago Shakespeare brings the Bard to Chicago Symphony’s party

Jan 4, 2012 – 4:57 pm
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Preview: Barbara Gaines directs actors from Chicago Shakespeare Theater in concerts Jan. 5-14 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, featuring music inspired by the Bard.

HD sound check at the Berlin Philharmonic: Second look at stellar streaming concerts

Jan 2, 2012 – 11:18 pm
Digital Concert Hall 250

The Berlin Philharmonic began live concert broadcasts over the Internet in mid-2009 amid some high-tech speed bumps. Is 2012 the year it all comes together?

Sip New Year’s bubbly at home, tune in to great performances from around the world

Dec 30, 2011 – 4:57 am
Danielle de Niese  Ariel  Enchanted Island Metropolitan Opera credit Ken Howard

Our selective guide to the best national broadcasts, international radio streams, concert replays and festive downloads to help you ring in New Year 2012.

The holly and the ivories proclaim Yuletide in sparking keyboard riffs on old favorites

Dec 25, 2011 – 1:00 am
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Review: “A Steinway Christmas Album,” a classy bundle of seasonal arrangements compiled and performed by pianist Jeffrey Biegel. (Steinway) ****

‘Penelope’ at Steppenwolf: Four guys in an empty pool, down to life’s last threads

Dec 22, 2011 – 3:38 pm
Penelope featured image Steppenwolf Theatre Yasen Peyankov Scott Jaeck Tracy Letts credit Michael Brosilow

And Odysseus is bearing down. 3 stars.

Role Playing: Dean Evans, in clown costume, enters the darkness of ‘Burning Bluebeard’

Dec 20, 2011 – 7:26 pm
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Interview: His clown suit, a bit tattered and soiled with soot, looks like it once might have been pure white. But the character Dean Evans plays in the Neo-Futurists’ production of “Burning Bluebeard” is decidedly dark, one might even say spectral.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and a wonderful night when ATC revisits ‘radio’ parable of faith

Dec 19, 2011 – 4:02 pm
Wonderful Life featured image American Theater Company 2011

Capra’s film as oldie broadcast. 4 stars!

Like composer on the podium, Salonen leads Chicago Symphony in brilliant Mahler Sixth

Dec 17, 2011 – 10:30 pm
Salonen_Esa-Pekka_featured image credit_Snezana Vucetic Bohm

The Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen shares a peculiarity of temperament and genius with Gustav Mahler. Like Mahler in his time, Salonen today stands among the most important conductors in the world. And again like his great forebear, Salonen would really rather be composing than be saddled with the responsibilities of music director for any orchestra you could name. Even one that might be looking for someone to succeed James Levine in Boston.