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December 2014
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The Holidays MOB-Style

The Annunciation by Caravaggio

Christmas has many meanings – as cherished as they are personal. Conductor Paul Agnew appeals to the greater community in Music of the Baroque’s holiday special with a theme that anyone can relate to: a mother and the birth of a child.

The Annunciation is explored through the poignant body of works created during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Through a booming brass

Lyric’s Anna Bolena

Sandra Radvanovsky will star as Anne Boleyn

“Divorced, Beheaded, Died,
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”

– It was the fate of six women, one after another, to produce heirs for Henry VIII. On the chopping block were not only women’s heads, but a royal dynasty, the sanctity of the Church, and the unity of a people. With such enormous forces at work, history often overlooks the intimate spaces from which they explode

Teatro Regio at the Harris and on WFMT

Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy

Producing opera is a 400 year old occupation for Italians. They’ve exported the scores of Verdi, Puccini, and Rossini to theaters worldwide, not to mention performers like Pavarotti and Toscanini. They’ve erected sumptuous opera houses; and in spite of their tendency to burn down

Director Mike Nichols and WFMT

Award-winning director and writer Mike Nichols

Today the world is remembering the life and work of writer and director Mike Nichols, who died suddenly on Wednesday at the age of 83. In a career that spanned over six decades, he won nine Tony Awards and an Academy Award for Best Director for the 1967 blockbuster “The Graduate.” Around the offices of WFMT, Mike Nichols is remembered for being among the pioneering forces in the early days of this radio station

Lyric Opera Timeline: the First 60 Years

The interior of Chicago's Civic Opera House

In 1952, a student singer named Carol Fox got to chatting with her vocal coach, Nicola Rescigno, and insurance man Lawrence Kelly about ways to sustain an opera company in Chicago – a series of previous attempts had ended in bankruptcy. They agreed, if they were to attempt such a venture, they would need to marshal community support – and what better way to recruit supporters than to show them an opera? In February 1954

WFMT’s Lyric Opera Weekend

Stars gather at the Civic Opera House to celebrate Lyric's 60th in an unforgettable concert

In February of 1954, Lyric Opera founders Carol Fox, Nicola Rescigno, and Lawrence Kelly launched the first production, hoping it would inspire opera lovers to step forward and offer financial and community support for an opera company in Chicago – it did. Rescigno conducted two performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Nicola Rossi-Lemeni as the Don, and Eleanor Steber

Chicago’s Incubator for Opera Singers

Ryan Opera Center bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba as "Don Giovanni"

Richard Ollarsaba, who was the “cover” for Don Giovanni star Mariusz Kwiecien, got the call at 10:00 am: “Mr. Kwiecien will not be able to sing today. You’re on.” He had four hours until curtain.

“The instant I got the call, adrenaline shot through my system, but after the initial shock I immediately went into work mode and the only thing I could tell myself was ‘Just do your job’

Live from WFMT is Back with Dvorak Concerto

Drostan Hall

Monday nights have long been a showcase for local talent and beyond with a weekly broadcast of live music and conversation on WFMT. After a summer series of broadcasts from the Ravinia Festival, Live from WFMT kicks off a new season on Monday with a broadcast from Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago. Monday’s show presents the ensemble Camerata Chicago with soloist Joshua Roman

Emerging from “Cultural Black-out”

Evacuating the paintings of London's National Gallery

Imagine the walls of the National Gallery stripped bare, a city of 8.6 million people shrouded in darkness; theaters, cinemas, museums – all shuttered. As England entered the Second World War, authorities quickly took measures to remove cultural assets, while reducing the potential for civilian casualties by strictly enforcing black-outs and quashing the city’s night life

Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble Live

Brass

Longtime principals of the Chicago Chamber Musicians continue the first Monday tradition of giving free lunchtime concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center. Trumpeters Charles Geyer and Barbara Butler will sit down with french horn player Gail Williams to play the bookends of the brass repertoire: arrangements of Renaissance and early Baroque pieces