An audience of 12,000 people poured into Millennium Park Monday evening to hear maestro Riccardo Muti lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a thrilling performance of works by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky on the Pritzker Pavilion stage.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
A Night of Mirth and Rebirth as Muti and the CSO Bring a Thrilling ‘Concert for Chicago’ to Millennium ParkHedy Weiss | Jun 29, 2022
Thursday evening’s bravura production was a major event in Muti’s penultimate season as the CSO’s music director. And it was a grand homage to both the composer whose work he has long cherished, and the orchestra he has embraced and nurtured since becoming its music director in 2010.
The Flint water environmental catastrophe, with its strong racial overtones, is at the core of “cullud watta,” the expertly written play by Erika Dickerson-Despenza. Her powerful story of three generations of Black women, now receiving a fiercely emotional regional premiere at Victory Gardens Theater, is a model for how to fully humanize a social crisis.
With the pandemic still bedeviling live performance these days understudies have become heroic figures. Now, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has its very own “last minute hero” story, too.
Performed earlier this month, a trio of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts led by guest conductors and featuring guest violinists deserve to be chronicled.
Tony Award-winning Broadway star Kelli O’Hara performed a bravura solo concert Thursday accompanied by that ever dazzling “band,” the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The production not only ideally captures the mix of the comical, satirical, fantastical and romantic aspects of Miguel de Cervantes’ story, but with its beautiful sets, costumes, projections, puppets and aerial tricks it also is an ideal showcase for the Joffrey.
Michelle Renee Bester’s 90-minute show is a quasi-autobiographical story that pays homage to her late grandmother. It spins an intriguing psychological family drama that homes in on the particular fears, frustrations and needs of each of that woman’s four rather different and troubled grandchildren.
“Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations” is an exhilarating, at times heartbreaking, and superbly executed musical now in an all too brief run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.
With ‘Two Trains Running,’ Court Theatre Stages Its Latest Rousing Revival of an August Wilson ClassicHedy Weiss | May 24, 2022
“Two Trains Running” is one of the finest plays in August Wilson’s renowned 10-play “Century Cycle” that captures elements of Black life in each decade of the 20th century. And Court Theatre’s latest revival of this seminal work is not to be missed.
Guest conductor Karina Canellakis led the CSO in “Brio” (by Augusta Read Thomas); Robert Schumann’s lushly beautiful “Piano Concerto in A Minor” (featuring pianist Kirill Gerstein); and finally “Ein Heldenlaben (A Heroic Life),” Richard Strauss’ sweeping, fiercely emotional tone poem.
The current touring production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” playing Chicago for only one week, is an ideal example of how “a classic” can have a whole new resonance at this very moment.
The first half of Evgeny Kissin’s program was devoted to the triumvirate of the masters — Bach, Mozart and Beethoven — and he mastered them all. But it was the second half of the program, devoted entirely to Chopin that clearly held the audience in thrall.
The company’s 15 sensational dancers performed “Decadance/Chicago,” a superbly mixed-and-matched compilation of segments from nine of Naharin’s works. They were created between the years 1993 to 2011, during his long tenure as Artistic Director of Israel’s fabled Batsheva Dance Company.
Lookingglass Theatre Company Stages Bravura, Out-of-This-World Revival of Its Classic ‘Lookingglass Alice’Hedy Weiss | May 12, 2022
The absolutely brilliant (and at moments terrifying) production of “Lookingglass Alice,” the namesake show of Lookingglass Theatre, first arrived on a Chicago stage in 1988. It has now been thrillingly revised and remounted on the company’s uniquely rigged stage.
Throughout this play, Lynn Nottage explores the notion of intimacy in a multitude of ways, suggesting how different social classes, different ethnicities, and different sexes can connect, confide in, and also betray each other. Overall, “Intimate Apparel” is as meticulously crafted as its main character’s creations.
Pianist Yefim Bronfman performed galvanic renderings of Beethoven and an immensely challenging modernist work at his Sunday afternoon Orchestra Hall performance.
The world may be in a terrible state of upheaval at the moment, but two different concerts performed during the past week — played brilliantly by the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — were a potent reminder that music is an astonishingly powerful emotional balm.
Arriving at the very moment the Supreme Court appear to be poised to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision of a half-century ago, this haunting musical is infused with an intensity and a cry for help in the very midst of a retroactive movement.
For its spring season at the Lyric Opera House, the Joffrey Ballet has devised a program composed of two dramatically and stylistically different works.
An exploration of a little-known and fascinating aspect of Black history, “Quamino’s Map” features an exquisite score by Errollyn Wallen, an expertly crafted, character-defining libretto by Deborah Brevoort, an ideal cast under the deft direction of Kimille Howard, and a superb orchestra led by conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson.
Breathtaking is nowhere near a powerful enough adjective to describe Gustav Mahler’s masterwork, “Symphony No. 6 in A Minor,” or its bravura rendering by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that was led by guest conductor Jaap van Zweden.
Some people understandably roll their eyes at the very thought of seeing "The Sound of Music" again. But Marriott’s production’s naturalistic yet fully theatrical quality, along with its subtle sense of dramatic rhythm, creates a level of profound emotion that too often is lost in revivals of this show.
If you needed to be reminded of the genius of two groundbreaking early 20th century composers or hoped for an introduction to a fascinating contemporary composer, Thursday’s concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra unquestionably lived up to expectations.
Fans of the groundbreaking musical “Hamilton” will forever know Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law. Her one-night only performance at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre on Saturday captured the full power of her clarion voice and dramatic flair, as well as her formidable versatility.
Yuja Wang’s astonishing concert at Orchestra Hall Sunday could easily serve as the ultimate proof that she is ever the virtuosic and unpredictable mistress of the keyboard.