Posted inArts & Culture

Grimm and surreal

This surrealistic production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s 1893 opera version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale—seen twice before at Lyric—should probably be a Christmas show. But since Joffrey became Lyric’s roommate, we’re getting it now. Visually it’s nightmarish, claustrophobic, and monochromatic as a gray January day—but also striking: think fish-headed dream-scene maitre d’ overseeing a troop […]

Posted inOn Culture

Who’s getting tarred?

No industry has been more of a closed and creaky old white boys club than classical music. Things are grudgingly changing now that the Western canon appears to be on its deathbed, but, according to research by the League of American Orchestras, “Women conductors are still rare, especially in the high-status position of music director.” […]

Posted inOn Culture

No walk in the park

Update: 01/12/2023In an email today seeking to “clarify misinformation posted on the museum’s website,” Chicago Park District Director of Communications Michele Lemons said this: “The Chicago Park District did not approve construction on a 5,000 square foot facility nor did the District approve a structure of any size.” Juanita Irizarry delivered a gut punch of […]

Posted inOn Culture

Fusion and firearms

The best we can say about 2022? It’s been transitional. If we’re lucky, the shift will be to something better. In the meantime, the war in Ukraine drags on. Predictably, unconscionably, we’ve become inured to it. Inflation rages at a pace new to most of us. The experts pushing and pulling the levers on the […]

Posted inOn Culture

Hey, it’s getting warm in here!

Peter Friederici has a history in these pages. In 1987, the Chicago native—then a recent Northwestern University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and no clear path to a career—got hired as a Reader editorial assistant. He spent two years in that job, working under editors Michael Lenehan and Alison True. Now an […]

Posted inOn Culture

Long COVID for the arts

Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for nonprofit theater, is about to release its latest annual report on the fiscal health of the field, Theatre Facts 2021. (Yes, it’s almost 2023, but this stuff takes time to collect.) The news is not great. The report, which compares results over a five-year period, tracks the startling […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Don and the Count

Deeply committed Verdi fans ought to get themselves to Lyric Opera’s first ever production of Don Carlos, the four-hour, five-act, 1867 French language version of the shorter Verdi opera they already know as the Italian language Don Carlo. This love vs. duty tale of historical fiction, loosely drawn from the life of a 16th-century Spanish […]

Posted inCity Life

The Chicagoans

The People Issue’s class of 2022 showcases folks from many walks of life. As subjects, their common thread is an incessant need to create welcoming spaces for other individuals like them, enact change, further their craft, do good, and in one instance, amplify the representation of stoner lesbians in graphic novels. Read profiles of 21 people by and as told to 15 Chicago Reader writers.

Posted inOn Culture

You will die. Then what?

Is death life’s greatest mystery? Or would we just like it to be? (Therefore, ghosts, devils, heaven, hell, organized religion, and Halloween candy.) Those are not among the five major questions that serve as an organizing mechanism for the Field Museum’s expansive new exhibit, “Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery,” however much they hang in the air. […]

Posted inOn Culture

Anti-abortion activists float a new argument: ageism

Move over, Grandpa. You think ageism is your cause? Last week, Created Equal, an Ohio-based organization opposed to ending unwanted pregnancies came to town, making stops at the city’s largest college campuses. At Northwestern, they set up shop on Sheridan Road, displaying enlarged images of dismembered fetal parts and passing out leaflets announcing that “Abortion […]

Posted inTheater Review

Tradition with a twist

Lyric Opera introduced Chicago audiences to director Barrie Kosky last year, when it brought his production of The Magic Flute—created for Komische Oper Berlin, where he’s been music director for a decade—to the Opera House on Wacker. Kosky staged the Mozart favorite as a silent film. So the announcement that Kosky’s production of Fiddler on […]

Posted inOn Culture

The U.S. and the Holocaust

Starting Sunday, for three consecutive nights, WTTW will air a new six-hour Ken Burns documentary series, The U.S. and the Holocaust. Burns and his filmmaking partners, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, based the series on a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibit curated by Chicago-area native and current Newberry Library president, Daniel Greene. From 2014 […]