A Q & A with David Axelrod, the hottest political consultant between the coasts.
The Newberry Consort at the Newberry Library, January 13 There’s something magical about the sound of disparate women’s voices singing in harmony, and composers such as Mozart and Richard Strauss made the most of it. The operatic literature is full of “girls’ glees.” There are noisy lots: Wagner’s Valkyries and the Maids in Elektra. But […]
Soprano Elizabeth Futral is a rising star in the operatic firmament; she recently scored a major triumph as Lakme with the New York City Opera, made a recording with baritone Thomas Hampson, and sang in an arena concert with Placido Domingo, all to enthusiastic critical acclaim. She has gained this recognition so quickly due (along […]
The Peter Sellars question: Why is this guy working and how does he get those great reviews?
People who hold that classical music programmers don’t speak to the interests of minorities are obviously unacquainted with the Chicago Sinfonietta, which makes a point of including black musicians and new music, some of it by black composers, in its concerts. That’s been a recipe for success for the 65-member orchestra, which will open its […]
The CSO maestro answers his critics, evaluates his players, and expounds his philosphy of music making.
Did Jacques Offenbach sacrifice his true potential to be accepted as a Jew in a Christian world? Was Iago driven by unconscious homosexual feelings for Otello? Did Wagner suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder? These are some of the questions raised in Grand Opera: Mirror of the Western Mind, a new book by psychiatrist Eric […]
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Ravinia, August 5 Choral singers work harder than soloists. They have to be exact in their entrances and cutoffs–holding the high note an extra beat will not garner extra applause, but it will get you into trouble. They also have to blend with the rest of their sections and with the […]
Would it be wise to regulate it just a little? Q & A with U. of C. legal scholar Cass Sunstein
PLACIDO DOMINGO, KALLEN ESPERIAN, AND THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Ravinia, July 8 Musical crossovers come in all varieties, and one borrowing from the pop side has proved remunerative for a very select group of opera singers: the arena concert. In a classical arena concert, as in a pop or rock concert, the aim is […]
Who rates an obituary in the Chicago Tribune? For an obit in the New York Times, one must enjoy proximity to power, fame, wealth, or the newspaper’s office. To garner a handsome write-up in a local newspaper, one need only have lived in the community. The Trib falls somewhere in between. Obituaries are a combination […]
THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE Chicago Opera Theater at the Athenaeum Theatre, May 28 Every opera lover has a list of seldom-performed works she’d like to see and hear at least once. After 20 years of assiduous operagoing, mine has dwindled to an oddball miscellany: things like Der Freischutz, Rusalka, Prince Igor, Benvenuto Cellini, and […]
The later works of Johann Sebastian Bach are seldom heard on the sort of instruments for which Bach wrote them. The period-instrument debate goes back and forth (would Bach have preferred modern instruments if he’d heard them?), but even those who prefer a modern sound can gain new insights from listening to old sonorities. Chicago […]
MINNEAPOLIS GUITAR QUARTET at Unity Temple, April 30 For every minute spent performing onstage, the average musician must spend hundreds of hours working alone. Mother may stand over the youthful musician-in-training to enforce the discipline of daily practice, but she can’t press the keys or strings, provide the breath for the embouchure, or memorize words; […]
Olivier Messiaen’s long-neglected, densely mystical, intensely difficult Quartet for the End of Time has enjoyed several performances in the Chicago area in the last two or three years after being ignored for the previous half-century. It may be a musical fad, but that’s all right–this is a work that rewards repeated listening. Written in 1941, […]