Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

I first heard violinist Nikolaj Znaider live in 2003, when he performed Schoenberg’s concerto with the CSO under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. He was incredible. He made this difficult work, with all its technical challenges, graspable, playing with great emotion, musicality, and an intensity and purity of tone that made for an exceptional balance […]

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Orpheus Descending

With a recurring role on Law & Order and regular bookings in east-coast regional theaters, Carmen Roman doesn’t turn up in Chicago much these days. But she’s returned for what may be the performance of a lifetime in Tennessee Williams’s tragic swoon Orpheus Descending. Roman plays Lady Torrance, an Italian immigrant stuck in a loveless […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

William Shakespeare was the greatest English-language writer of all time. I know this because everyone says so. Heck, I even read some Shakespeare back in high school. The hitch is simple–I don’t get it. Sure, Willy’s plays are timeless tales of love and revenge and whatnot. Lots of people die in them. These attributes are […]

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Dirty Three

It’s an event when this Australian trio puts out a new album these days; after all, the members live on three different continents, and violinist Warren Ellis–a true guitar hero without a guitar–has actually been more prolific over the last half decade as a member of the Bad Seeds. Cinder (Touch and Go), their first […]

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Conrad Brunst Presents . . . Danse Macabre!

This annual offering from Teatro Bastardo–an improvised “movie” in the style of fictional 30s horror director Brunst–has some things going for it. The talented actors, like their droll little program bios, display more than passing familiarity with the oeuvre they’re sending up, and the evening’s deadpan torch-song overture and melodramatic piano accompaniment set the perfect […]

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McCoy Tyner Trio

Pianist McCoy Tyner turns 67 in a couple of months, and you’d think time would have taken its toll on the sheer physicality of his playing: barreling sonic booms from the left hand, stippled knife-edge melody lines from the right, and karate-chop chords from both. Despite the almost unnerving delicacy that also plays a vital […]

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Darling of the Day

The program lists one intermission, but the show has two. Light Opera Works’ Web site says New Yorker Michael Montel, who resurrected this 1968 Broadway flop with an ecstatically reviewed 1998 concert reading, is directing, but it turns out it’s staged by artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller. These last-minute shifts, earmarks of a troubled production, might […]

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New Pornographers

Twin Cinema (Matador) is easily the least immediate album that Vancouver’s New Pornographers have made–nothing on it leaps out and grabs you like, say, “Letter From an Occupant” or “All for Swinging You Around.” But the record has abundant pleasures for anybody willing to spend time with it. On 2003’s Electric Version, the band began […]