Top Story »

Aug 20, 2018 – 3:28 pm

Second in a series of season previews: TimeLine Theatre launches its 22nd season from the company’s familiar, Janus-faced perspective on historical events: seeing human events of the past in the mirror of the continuing present. “We are, first and foremost, theater makers,” says artistic director PJ Powers. “But we use the lens of history to provide social context.” TimeLine opens its season with Barbara Lebow’s post-Holocaust drama “A Shayna Maidel.”

Read the full story »
Latest Arts News
Classical + Opera
Theater + Stage
Streaming + Disc
Chicago Wine Journal

French conductor Stéphane Denève scores a triumph in Chicago Symphony debut

Nov 11, 2011 – 1:40 pm
Stephane_Deneve featured image

Review: The French conductor Stéphane Denève made a thrilling debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Thursday night. Denève, who turns 40 this month, is going to be an international force, and his concert with the CSO amply demonstrated why. *****

Lyric Opera’s powerful ‘Boris Godunov’ recaptures tragedy’s original stark beauty

Nov 10, 2011 – 8:24 pm
Boris featured image

Tortured soul of a Russian czar. 4 stars!

Da capo al fine, sharply accented ‘Bernstein’ sketches life of a great American conductor

Nov 10, 2011 – 7:12 pm
LennyImage2

Maestro at the Royal George. 3 stars

CD Review: Invention, finesse of Mozart’s ‘Prussian’ Quartets revealed in Emerson’s hands

Nov 8, 2011 – 4:05 pm
Emerson String Quartet records Mozart's "Prussian" Quartets for Sony Classical

The last three string quartets Mozart composed, in 1789 just two years before his death, utterly belie the desperate financial straits into which he had fallen. These sunny, and technically brilliant, performances by the Emerson String Quartet reveal Mozart at the zenith of his creative powers.

Motley travelers looking to get their tickets punched at Raven’s snowbound ‘Bus Stop’

Nov 7, 2011 – 4:09 pm
Michael Stegall and Jen Short in Raven's Bus Stop credit Dean LaPrairie

Engagingly off-kilter charms. 3 stars
.

Role Playing: Brent Barrett’s glad he joined ‘Follies’ as that womanizing, empty cad Ben

Nov 4, 2011 – 5:28 pm
Brent Barrett in Follies at Chicago Shakespeare featured image

Interview: At the center of Stephen Sondheim’s acerbic musical “Follies”stands Benjamin Stone, worldly, rich, the envy of his old acquaintances gathered at this reunion of theater folks. Ben is all of that, and one more thing — miserable. Veteran actor Brent Barrett offers a candid analysis of the self-centered cad and womanizer.

In Handel’s ‘Water Music,’ Labadie and Chicago Symphony provide a splash of Baroque authenticity

Nov 4, 2011 – 12:43 pm
Portrait of Handel by Edouard Jean Conrad Hamman (1819–88)

What a pleasure it was Thursday night to hear Handel’s vivacious “Water Music” in the hands of a conductor who knows it so intimately that he doesn’t require a score – and who understands what charms it possesses that induced a delighted monarch to command repeated performances at its first hearing.

Calling all composers! Win up to 5 minutes on a Hilary Hahn recital! And be recorded!

Nov 2, 2011 – 3:06 pm
HilaryHahnYouTube

No, this is not an appeal on the back of a cereal box, although it’s definitely got that gee-whiz feeling.Leave it to Hilary Hahn, the nimble-witted concert violinist and Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, to announce her Encore Contest in a whisper on YouTube by candlelight.

Review: Pacifica Quartet pairs Shostakovich and Beethoven, showing them as peers

Oct 31, 2011 – 5:37 pm
PacificaPerformingD

Review: The Pacifica Quartet offered a stunning reminder in its concert Sunday at the University of Chicago that the quartets of Shostakovich stand shoulder to shoulder with Beethoven’s as exemplars of the form, great and deeply personal expressions. *****

In a meeting of grey eminences, Haitink scores a fine first in Haydn’s oratorio ‘The Creation’

Oct 28, 2011 – 6:27 pm
Bernard Haitink conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra Bostridge Ek Mueller-Brachman

Review: Is there an optimal year in one’s life to conduct a masterpiece of Haydn for the first time? In the case of Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink and Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation,” the magical number would appear to be 82. ****

Amid Beethoven and Shostakovich quartet cycles, Pacifica to glimpse both at University of Chicago

Oct 27, 2011 – 10:17 am
PacificaPortraitC

The Pacifica Quartet has been playing complete cycles of Beethoven’s 16 string quartets and Shostakovich’s 15 in international venues over the last couple of years. Violist Masumi Per Rostad talks about the enduring importance of both composers.

CD review: Guitarist David Russell’s Albeniz displays mastery of instrument, style

Oct 26, 2011 – 4:11 pm
DavidRussellCD

The American guitarist David Russell got my attention a few years back with a CD of Renaissance music that included some very fine readings of works by John Dowland. That same technical finesse and artful musicianship grace this wide-ranging collection of pieces by Isaac Albeniz.

Profiles’ ‘Behanding in Spokane’ bundles laughter and terror in the same dark bag

Oct 25, 2011 – 10:16 pm
ProfilesBehanding2

Sardonic, but clear-sighted. 3 stars

Role Playing: Sadieh Rifai zips among seven characters in one-woman ‘Amish Project’

Oct 24, 2011 – 1:25 pm
Sadieh Rifai Amish Project feature

Interview: Actor Sadieh Rifai thought Jessica’s Dickey’s play “The Amish Project,” at American Theater Company, would be a pretty straight-forward one-woman show. The plays is based on the 2006 shooting of 10 school girls in Pennsylvania. Rifai would be switching among seven characters, but she didn’t see that as a big deal. She was in for a big surprise.

Bernard Haitink charms Chicago Symphony with twin beauties from Schubert and Mahler

Oct 21, 2011 – 5:42 pm
Bernard Haitink Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Review: Conductor Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra summoned performances of exceptional clarity in Schubert’s chamber-size Fifth Symphony and Mahler’s grand-scaled Fourth Symphony. *****

The Doyle & Debbie Show: Singin’ hits that’ll warm you up like hog rasslin’ in the July sun

Oct 20, 2011 – 4:12 pm
Doyle and Debbie Show featured image

At the Royal George Theatre. 4 stars!

Chicago Symphony MusicNOW opens season with ping-pong balls and rhythms a-tumble

Oct 19, 2011 – 5:34 pm
Music Now

Review: MusicNOW, the contemporary series of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, began its 2011-12 season alive with the music of ping-pong balls, marimba, country fiddle and eerie vocals. Composers converged from Dublin, Connecticut, Minnesota and London to hear their works performed.

What’s under that skirt? Chicago Lyric Opera’s coloratura Anna Christy kicks Olympia into top gear

Oct 18, 2011 – 4:26 pm
Olympia wheels featured

Lyric Opera close-up: We had to know. How is it that soprano Anna Christy is able to zip around like a hovercraft while pinging those sparkling high notes as Olympia, the mechanical doll, in “The Tales of Hoffmann”?

Role Playing: Kirsten Fitzgerald inhabits sorrow, surfs the laughs in ‘Clybourne Park’

Oct 16, 2011 – 12:23 pm
Kirsten Fitzgerald Act 1 housewife Clybourne Park Steppenwolf 2011 featured

Interview: Actor Kirsten Fitzgerald portrays two very different characters amid the hurlyburly of “Clybourne Park, the double-edged drama by Bruce Norris now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre through Nov. 13. She’s a grieving mother in 1959 and a self-interested lawyer 50 years later.
It’s a theatrical tour de force that Fitzgerald likens to acting in two different plays the same night.

Finnish conductor answers every question in CSO debut

Oct 14, 2011 – 9:33 pm
Musgrave Bloom and Malkki

Susanna Mälkki, the 42-year-old music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 13 with a program of Charles Ives and Richard Strauss that, in every way, placed her among the most important conductors of her generation.

Sondheim’s ‘Follies’ at CST: Broadway glitz and glamour, with all the endearing bruises

Oct 14, 2011 – 12:17 pm
CST_Follies_11 featured

At Chi. Shakespeare Theater. 5 stars!

Riccardo Muti receives Birgit Nilsson Prize of $1M

Oct 13, 2011 – 2:07 pm
Muti Birgit Nilsson press conf

Video: In acceptance speech, he stresses social commitment thru music.

With new honors falling like autumn leaves, Riccardo Muti reflects on the conductor’s art

Oct 13, 2011 – 12:54 am
Arturo-Toscanini

In Part 2 of an interview with Chicago On the Aisle, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director extols Italian training, calls Toscanini his hero and admits impatience with routine effort – and prima donnas.

Lyric Opera’s ‘Lucia’: New production casts a shimmering light on tale of love and madness

Oct 12, 2011 – 8:57 am
Susanna_Phillips_Lucia_di_Lammermoor_DBR_6255_cDan_Rest

Donizetti’s bel canto dazzler. 5 stars!

From ‘naughty’ composer, young Baroque troupe gets a nice boost

Oct 11, 2011 – 4:50 pm
Wayward Sisters ensemble

It’s the phone call all struggling musicians hope for — the announcement of a competition prize complete with recording contract. For Wayward Sisters, a Baroque ensemble specializing in 17th-century music, the news lit up lines in Chicago and three other locales where its four members reside.

After slaughter and heartbreak, radiant grace

Oct 9, 2011 – 11:06 am
Sadieh Rifai stars in "The Amish Project" at American Theater Company 2011

Jessica Dickey’s “The Amish Project,” echoes of a massacre at ATC. 5 stars!

CD review: Back-country music, toned up with Kodaly

Oct 7, 2011 – 4:38 pm
Violinist Viktoria Mullova's album "The Peasant Girl"

This off-beat CD takes the Russian-born violin virtuoso Viktoria Mullova back to her ancestral roots in the Ukrainian outback, in the traditional music of gypsies and other rural folk. 3 stars

Riccardo Muti unearths gem in Mahler tribute

Oct 7, 2011 – 2:25 pm
Gustav_Mahler_Crop_Emil_Orlik_1902

Mahler conducted the world premiere of Busoni’s “Berceuse élégiaque” at the last public performance of his life, with the New York Philharmonic in 1911. At the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s re-creation of the event, the nine incredible minutes of the “Berceuse” alone are sufficient reason to attend.

Chicago’s fast burn is a dramatic flame-out

Oct 6, 2011 – 5:35 pm
TheFireGreatFire-3

John Musial’s “The Great Fire” flames up at Lookingglass. 2 stars

Sidestepping Mahler, Muti points toward Bruckner and plans that will stretch the CSO

Oct 5, 2011 – 5:13 pm
Music Director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra 2011 European Tour

In an exclusive interview with Chicago On the Aisle, Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti explains his limited enthusiasm for Mahler and reflects on a lifelong struggle with the immensity of Beethoven.