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September 2014
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Archive for September, 2014

A Grande Dame, Dame Kiri at Ravinia

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Skypes with composer Jake Heggie from her home in England

When she made an appearance on Downton Abbey as the turn of the century opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, producer Gareth Neame told “The Telegraph” the whole crew rushed to hear her sing, “It was the sight of all these tough electricians and grips and all the people you see on a film set with tears

Lyric Opera Opening Night

Mariusz Kwiecien as Don Giovanni, Metropolitan Opera

The 60th season at Lyric Opera of Chicago begins on Saturday with a bit of nostalgia: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the same opera that launched the company 60 years ago.

Lyric Opera’s new production won’t look much like the original, however. It is directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls, who is putting a more modern spin on the classic tale.

Channeling Johnny Cash on The Midnight Special

American singer-songwriter Johnny Cash

October marks the 50th anniversary of the Johnny Cash concept album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, a collection of songs intended to raise awareness of the plight of the native American. In typical “Man in Black” fashion, Cash eschewed the musical trends of the day – and even the societal trends – to identify a minority who needed a voice in the American Civil Rights

Early Music Specialist Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)

chrishogwood

Conductor and early music specialist Christopher Hogwood died on Wednesday at the age of 73. As one of the original proponents of what came to be called “historically informed performances,” he helped reshape the way musicians around the world approach Baroque music.

After studying at Cambridge in the early 60s, Christopher Hogwood became the keyboard

Songs about Life: the Jewish Cabaret

Mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley with the New Budapest Orpheum Society

The New Budapest Orpheum Society is an ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago. The ensemble is part of the Humanities Division and draws upon a wide range of repertories. Some tunes are all but forgotten, many have been rediscovered in European archives; all celebrate the tradition of Jewish cabaret.

Jewish cabaret tended to be urban, edgy, and packed with social commentary and adult situations

CSO at Millennium Park: Allegro con Muti

Fans crowd Millennium Park to see Riccardo Muti conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Update: 7:43 pm CDT

Friday’s crowd is estimated at over 20,000 people. Hundreds more are being turned away at the park entrance.

Riccardo Muti brings the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Millennium Park on Friday for a free, all-Tchaikovsky concert. It’s been four years to the day since Maestro Muti gave his inaugural concert in the park’s

Documentary Filmmaker Phil Grabsky at WFMT

Filmmaker Phil Grabsky at WFMT, photo by Noel Morris

When Phil Grabsky looks out into the world, he sees stories that need to be told. As an independent filmmaker, he’s followed his passion from Brazil to Angola, from Chernobyl to Afghanistan. He also has a fascination for great composers. Phil Grabsky is in Chicago to introduce his new film In Search of Chopin

CSO Will Roll Out with a Bang

Riccardo Muti on stage at Millennium Park, c. Todd Rosenberg

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra makes a joyful noise this weekend, performing to capacity crowds. Riccardo Muti opens the concert season with four sold-out performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and a free Tchaikovsky concert at Millennium Park.

With orchestra and chorus declaring Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy

Winners of Genius Grants “Inspire us all”

Public artist Rick Lowe

People who win don’t even know they’ve been considered, but on Wednesday they were identified by international news agencies as “21 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all.” Some are scientists; others are historians, poets, or lawyers. There’s an artist, a jazz musician, and a cartoonist. They are the 2014 MacArthur Fellows, recipients of what’s often called the genius grant, a $625,000 cash prize – no strings attached

Fisching for Excellence in Chamber Music

Akropolis Reed Quintet

This week’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert welcomes the 2014 Fischoff Competition gold medalists. They had walked away with the silver medal in 2012, before clenching the gold in 2014. In July, the Akropolis Reed Quintet was presented with the 2015 Fischoff Educator Award for their imaginative programming for children