A recent Chicago Symphony Orchestra program juxtaposed works by three masterful yet radically different composers of classical music: Wolfgang Mozart, William Kraft and Ottorino Respighi.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
At the CSO: Knockout Timpani Concerto and Glorious Rendering of Respighi Masterworks
May 30, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Concertmaster and Performs Dazzling Works by Mozart
May 22, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The latest program by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra honors Robert Chen, the orchestra’s invaluable concertmaster and masterful violinist. It also features a glimpse of a rarely revived opera.
Maestro Riccardo Muti Still on Fire at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
May 17, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Something magical happens when Maestro Riccardo Muti arrives on the podium at Orchestra Hall to lead the invariably superb musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
‘Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ a Stellar Musical That Grabs Hold of Mercury Theater’s Stage
May 5, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The Mercury Theater production of this show, with its tragi-comic book by William Hauptman drawn straight from the Mark Twain classic and a wonderfully varied score by country music master Roger Miller, is ideally realized on every front.
Bravura Ballerina Leads a Strange but Stunningly Performed Take on ‘The Little Mermaid’
Apr 21, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The ballet, now receiving its Chicago premiere in a grand-scale production by the Joffrey Ballet on the Lyric Opera House stage, is a strange but compelling work inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s enduring classic and features impeccible dancing.
Chekhov’s Play About Change Also Marks a Moment of Change for Director Robert Falls
Apr 12, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
“The Cherry Orchard,” Anton Chekhov’s masterful play, is about change — social, historical, financial and emotional. And change is of the essence at the Goodman Theatre too, with this production marking the retirement of artistic director Robert Falls.
Bell and Trifonov on Fire at Orchestra Hall
Mar 31, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Daniil Trifonov dazzled an Orchestra Hall audience Wednesday night, writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss. The musicians, in top form, even treated the enthusiastic crowd to two encores.
‘Alan Turing’ Opera Captures the Tortured Private Life of a British Genius
Mar 28, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Alan Turing was a genius — a brilliant English mathematician and logician who is renowned for his invaluable work as a codebreaker during World War II. But he also was a tragic figure, driven to an early death by chemical castration (and possibly by suicide) because of his homosexuality, which during his lifetime, was treated as a crime.
Advice By Way of a CSO Rehearsal: Seek Out This Weekend’s Concerts
Mar 24, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
A Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert featuring works from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Aaron Copland and Antonin Dvorak is well worth seeking out.
Dramatic Life of a Powerhouse Performer Captured in the Knockout ‘Tina Turner Musical’
Mar 16, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Tina Turner’s fiercely dramatic, profoundly painful and wildly successful life unfolds on stage in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.”
Capturing the Darkness of a Totalitarian State in ‘Describe the Night’
Mar 14, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Part history, part imagination, and awash in clever verbal interplay, “Describe the Night” captures the spirit of Russian author and war correspondent Isaac Babel. The play follows certain aspects of his life and times — from his romantic attachments to his tense interaction with Soviet intelligence.
Celebrating the Irresistible Songbook of Stevie Wonder at the Mercury Theater
Mar 11, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered: A Stevie Wonder Experience” is driven by an impressive performance from singer, actor and pianist John-Mark McGaha. The show captures the sound and sensibility of Wonder while interweaving aspects of his personal life.
The Enduring Allure of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Mar 10, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
There is a palpable electricity in the air whenever the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater arrives on stage at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre. A recent performance featured pieces both old and new.
Maestro Muti Leads CSO in Breathtaking Performances of Works by Schumann, Tchaikovsky
Feb 25, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
At a recent concert, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played Schumann’s “Violin Concerto in D Minor” and Tchaikovsky’s fiercely dramatic “Manfred Symphony.” The beauty and dramatic energy of both works were wholly captivating, critic Hedy Weiss writes.
High Anxiety in Visceral Dance’s Expertly Performed Winter Concert
Feb 23, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Of the four feverishly performed works that comprise Visceral Dance Chicago’s winter engagement, three were created in the wake of the pandemic years. But every one of the four might well have been given the all-embracing title of “Pandemic-Era Fever.”
A Dazzling Musical Showcase at the CSO
Feb 18, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was back on the stage at Orchestra Hall on Thursday. Klaus Mäkelä, the wonderfully graceful yet powerfully dynamic 27-year-old Finnish conductor, was on the podium to lead a stunning program.
Love Versus Passion in the Joffrey Ballet’s Feverish Production of ‘Anna Karenina’
Feb 17, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The performance is a fascinating hybrid of ballet technique, modern drama and evocative projection design. Bringing the show fully to life is both the technical polish of the Joffrey dancers and their exceptional gift for acting that so vividly captures the difference between love and passion.
Paramount Theater’s Production of ‘Into the Woods’ a Grand-Scale Homage to Stephen Sondheim
Feb 13, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Enter Aurora’s beautiful 1,800-seat Paramount Theatre for an ideally cast production of a the grand-scale Stephen Sondheim classic "Into the Woods." This is a production that not only entertains but also pays a winning tribute to the late Sondheim
A Stellar Evening for the CSO and Two Exceptional Visiting Artists
Feb 10, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
It was an evening to remember at Orchestra Hall this Thursday with sublime and exceedingly fresh performances of works by two Russian musical geniuses: Sergei Prokofiev and Sergei Rachmaninov.
Transcendent Performance Captures the Life and Music of a Profoundly Gifted but Troubled Singer
Feb 10, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The production is set in a South Philadelphia bar in March, 1959 — about five months before Billie Holiday died of drug and alcohol abuse at the age of 44. And the Mercury Theater’s intimate Venus Cabaret space serves as an ideal backdrop.
‘The Factotum,’ Groundbreaking Opera Set in a Chicago Barbershop, Receives Its World Premiere
Feb 6, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The true magic of the opera “The Factotum” is rooted in its seamless interweaving of countless musical styles that take operatic voices into the realm of funk, rap, hip-hop, gospel, R&B, barbershop quartet and even electronic.
‘Andy Warhol in Iran’ a Blistering, Thought-Provoking Play About Art and Revolution
Jan 31, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
During the course of just 75 intensely compelling minutes that unfold entirely in a posh hotel room in Tehran in 1976, the play poses profound questions about both art and revolution and the forces that shaped two very different men.
A Repressed Mother’s Boy Breaks Free in Benjamin Britten’s Satirical Opera ‘Albert Herring’
Jan 28, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The Chicago Opera Theater’s production of “Albert Herring” is alternately amusing and heartbreaking. To mark an early celebration of its 50th anniversary season, the ever-adventurous company has welcomed acclaimed British conductor Dame Jane Glover (DBE).
Lyric Opera’s Production of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ Cooks Up a Winningly Imaginative Theatrical Feast
Jan 26, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Fairy tales do come true, but sometimes they arrive on the stage in the most fantastical way. “Hansel and Gretel” at the Lyric Opera House proves to be an altogether richly imaginative dramatic, musical and visual treat.
Porchlight’s ‘Cabaret’ a Bravura Production of a Chillingly Timely Broadway Classic
Jan 25, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Read the headlines these days, and the sharply sardonic edge of “Cabaret" feels more chillingly ironic and on target than ever.
A Whale of a Show Opens the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
Jan 23, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, which runs through Jan. 29, will unquestionably change your conception on how puppets can be used in staged productions.