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November 2014
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Verdi

“Il trovatore,” An Operatic Thrill Ride

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Combine a searing love triangle, an odious count, a long lost child, some gypsies, a civil war, a haunting, and a witch burned at the stake, and you’ve got Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il trovatore,” an opera stuffed with devices to delight theater-goers and ruin the opera’s protagonists. “Il trovatore” is designed to feel like the fastest two hours and forty-five minutes in theater, with sword fights, shocking cruelty, and tender

Passings: Licia Albanese, Carlo Bergonzi

Licia Albanese as Cio-Cio-San in "Madama Butterfly"

He gave more than 300 performances at the Metropolitan Opera. She exceeded 400. Two Italian-born, 20th century opera stars passed away in recent weeks: tenor Carlo Bergonzi and soprano Licia Albanese. Bergonzi in particular had a long performance history in Chicago, making his American debut at Lyric Opera in 1955; while Albanese worked primarily in New York

No Abridged Verdi

Party scene from "La traviata"; photo by Todd Rosenberg

When Lyric Opera of Chicago opens its production of La traviata on Wednesday evening, there will be music that has never been heard in that opera house before. In its thirteen previous runs at Lyric Opera, starting with the inaugural season in 1954, La traviata has always been staged with cuts to the score. There’s been a resurgence of interest

Is it Scary to Sing for Muti?

Riccardo Muti rehearsing the Chicago Symphony Chorus, photo by Todd Rosenberg

For Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth, which opens this weekend at Symphony Center, nearly three hundred people will come together under his baton; a chorus, an orchestra, and soloists who’ve collectively logged lifetimes in the practice room. One chorister admits, “When Muti comes out for that first rehearsal, it’s terrifying—but it’s amazing. He’s incredible.”

Muti Takes Orchestra to Cicero High School

Maestro Riccardo Muti

If you believe what you read, the town of Cicero has a troubled history. Iniquitous associations linger for decades, while saying nothing of the men and women who live, work, and raise families here. On Wednesday, the people of Cicero had the opportunity to show something of their fiber: world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti

Bruno Bartoletti (June 10, 1926 – June 9, 2013)

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Bruno Bartoletti, longtime conductor and artistic director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, died Sunday in Florence, Italy, just one day before his 87th birthday. Bartoletti first conducted there in 1956 at the age of 30; Lyric was a fledgling company of two years when founder Carol Fox required a replacement conductor

A Conversation with Angela Gheorghiu

Angela Gheorghiu

Wednesday at 9:00 PM, in an exclusive conversation recorded for the WFMT Radio Network, the acclaimed soprano Angela Gheorghiu discusses with Jon Tolansky her brand new CD

Attila the Hun

Samuel Ramey as Attila

If one discusses the topic of Attila the Hun with Riccardo Muti, it’s best to forget that deeply ingrained, American pronunciation of the barbarian’s name, in favor of the Italian one. Apart from the Maestro’s insistence on the matter

Halloween Tips by Makeup Artist Chantelle Marie Johnson

Quinn Kelsey as Paolo in "Simon Boccanegra"

At Lyric Opera of Chicago, makeup artist Chantelle Marie Johnson doesn’t sashay with Frank Lopardo or Thomas Hampson; but her work does.  Transforming the world’s opera stars into fictional characters takes artistry, inventiveness and above all, a sense of humor.

Opera scholar salvages long-lost Italian masterpieces

Opera scholar salvages long-lost Italian masterpieces Were it not for University of Chicago musicologist Philip Gossett, a long-forgotten opera titled Stiffelio might have been lost forever. Giuseppe Verdi wrote the tale of religion and sex in 1850, and immediately it prompted heavy censorship from Roman Catholic authorities who objected to its themes of adultery and more…