Articles tagged with: Eric Owens
Review: If there was a moment during the season-ending concert that summed up the singular achievement of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the long-term influence of Riccardo Muti, it came near the end of Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” a Catholic hymn to Mary that pulls the listeners into the mother’s grief at the foot of the cross and offers transcendence. The three-line prayer “Quando corpus morietur” (“When my body dies, let me live in Paradise, too”) is so very human and humble that the listener might not notice how treacherous it is to sing. The Chicago Symphony Chorus imbued it with a powerful emotion that filled the hall, yet with sound so soft it barely hung on a thread.
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. ★★★
Review: Musical artistry at 360º was on display April 9 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a joint recital by tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Eric Owens, with the marvelously adroit Craig Terry at the piano. Through a rousing program, the two singers showed their vast, enthusiastic and refreshingly diverse audience a broad and deeply felt repertoire of spirituals, traditional songs and Broadway favorites as well as the opera for which they are celebrated.
Review: If the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s enchanting production of “Das Rheingold” proves to be, like the opera itself, an augury of things to come, we’re in for a magical ride across the company’s four-year project to re-create Wagner’s epic tetralogy “The Ring of the Nibelung.” ★★★★
Review: Andrew Davis, music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and conductor of the company’s new four-year “Ring” cycle, which gets underway Oct. 1 with “Das Rheingold,” speaks with resolute pride about the focus of this prodigious enterprise. “We all wanted very much to make sure the characters were the most important thing,” says the maestro.
Report: Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was about to make her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut with music director Riccardo Muti in a rare Italian work, and bass-baritone Eric Owens, over at the Lyric Opera, was readying the role of Wotan, king of the gods in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, for the first time in his career. Yet these three internationally celebrated artists made time to perform for youths within the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, where boys in conflict with the law, most in their mid to late teens, are held for an intensive period of education and intervention designed to set them on a safer course.
Review: A concert exhibition of “Stars of the Lyric Opera,” which brought down the curtain on this summer’s Grant Park Music Festival on Sept. 9, offered a promising augury of the Lyric’s impending season, which opens Oct. 1 with Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” – herald of the company’s planned “Ring” cycle.
Review: When Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra open their 2016-17 season at Orchestra Hall in September, it’s going to feel very much like picking up where the current season ended, with one of the splendorous symphonies by the 19th-century Austrian composer Anton Bruckner. To have just heard the Ninth is to look forward to next season’s opener, Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, with electric anticipation.
Season Preview: Not many people can put a ten-year life plan on a single piece of paper. But Anthony Freud, general director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, has got his drill down when it comes to the properly balanced life of a grand opera company. Merrily goaded on Jan. 14 by music director Andrew Davis, who was clearly amused, Freud pulled from his pocket, in a tantalizingly brief “reveal,” a carefully folded, well-worn document crammed with the titles of dozens of operas on a grid. Here are the highlights.
Review: It isn’t every Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert that ends with the conductor leading a gaggle of children across the stage like the pied piper. But there he was, Esa-Pekka Salonen, smiling ear to ear, a little child’s hand in his, marching the Anima-Young Singers of Greater Chicago into view for their ovation after a deliciously witty performance of Ravel’s one-act opera “L’enfant et les sortilèges,” an evident if unexpected hit at the CSO’s “French Reveries and Passions” festival.
Review: The Lyric Opera’s revival of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” is a thing of beauty not to be missed. More than that, it’s a ringing affirmation of this iconic American stage work as a great opera. Bass-baritone Eric Owens empowers Porgy with a voice larger than life yet scales this poor, crippled, yearning character to the credible proportions of a man. His woman, in a fragile union forged from convenience and necessity, is soprano Adina Aaron’s lithe and sexy Bess, vulnerable and gorgeously voiced. ★★★★★
Review: The cantata Beethoven composed to Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” – that is, the grandiose finale to the Ninth Symphony – may be a rousing crowd-pleaser, but it’s also a good deal more. It’s the peroration of a sweeping dialectic on man’s fate, a closely and tumultuously argued essay spun out in wordless majesty for three-quarters of an hour before the first syllable is uttered.Such was the sum and the magnificence of music director Riccardo Muti’s season opening performance of the Ninth Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 18 at Orchestra Hall.
Interview: Soprano Susanna Phillips, hot from back-to-back Metropolitan Opera HD simulcasts that reached a couple of hundred thousand international viewers each, is heading into a week-long and half-unplanned stint in Chicago, where many classical music enthusiasts doubtless think of her as the auspiciously talented soprano from the Ryan Opera Center, Lyric Opera’s professional artist development program. But that was 2005-07. How great it must now feel to be in the shoes of this pure-voiced, luxurious-sounding singer at the top of her game.
Review: The musical legacy of Antonín Dvořák has always held favor with the public and esteem among musicians. Until recently, however, few this side of Prague would have mentioned Dvorak’s opera “Rusalka” with his most important works, much less listed it with the greatest achievements in the operatic canon. But the Lyric Opera’s first-ever production of “Rusalka,” a musical fairy tale of consummate beauty and profound humanity, dictates acknowledgement of this opera in the first rank of music-dramas. ★★★★★
Report: Russian dramatic soprano Tatiana Serjan, who riveted audiences as Riccardo Muti’s Lady Macbeth with the Chicago Symphony in 2013, will return to the Windy City next January at the Lyric Opera of Chicago to sing another knife-wielder, Floria Tosca, the tempestuous diva who tries to outwit a tyrant and foil her lover’s assassination. The Lyric’s 60th anniversary season, announced Jan. 27, also will feature soprano and Lyric creative consultant Renée Fleming in a signature role as Countess Madeleine in Richard Strauss’ final opera, “Capriccio.”
Report: With headliners Christine Goerke and Eric Owens — two breakthrough American Wagner singers that everyone is seeking – Lyric Opera of Chicago announced Friday that it will embark on a new David Pountney production of the “Ring” Cycle starring Owens as the great god Wotan and Goerke as Brünnhilde, his beloved Valkyrie daughter. The cycle’s four operas are to be unveiled one by one in consecutive seasons beginning in 2016-17, and then in total-immersion festival form, over the course of three weeks in April 2020.