Lyric Opera’s free outdoor concert in Millennium Park served as an ideal introduction to the six operas to be performed during the 2023-24 season. The absence of scenery and costumes only put the focus entirely on the singers, but also made the characters come fully to life.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
Aug 23, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a Stunning Ravinia Performance of Shostakovich’s ‘Symphony No. 5’ and More
Aug 21, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
For the second half of its Ravinia Festival concert this past Thursday the Chicago Symphony Orchestra delivered a bravura performance of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich’s extraordinary “Symphony No. 5” and it couldn’t have been more timely in subtle way.
Aug 11, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Michael Jackson was an iconic singer, dancer, songwriter, producer, philanthropist and intensely complex (and controversial) figure who transformed pop culture in the second half of the 20th century.
Jul 28, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
“Rock of Ages” is a funky, feverish, hard-driving musical that is now storming across the stage of the Mercury Theater. A large, fearless and very talented cast, along with an exceptional band, capture the tumultuous beat of a decidedly “rocky” decade.
Jul 26, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Four lost souls are the variously screwed-up men living in “No Man’s Land,” Harold Pinter’s strange, angry, status-conscious and somewhat absurdist talkathon of a play. It first opened in London in 1975 and is now on stage at Steppenwolf Theatre in a production directed by Les Waters.
Jul 20, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
“Marie and Rosetta” tells the tale of singers Marie Knight and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The play is a story of personal liberation as achieved through a hybrid of musical styles and the friendship of opposites.
Jul 17, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Whether she is performing songs from a Broadway musical, a familiar hymn or a gospel classic, Heather Headley possesses a voice and personality that can easily mesmerize an audience. And so she did with a grand-scale performance at Ravinia Pavilion.
CSO’s ‘Concert for Chicago’ Signals a Change of Title for Maestro Riccardo Muti, But It’s by No Means a Farewell
Jul 1, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
With an audience approaching about 8,500 people, Maestro Riccardo Muti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the “Concert for Chicago” in Millennium Park. He ended his 13-year tenure as CSO music director but will continue to conduct some performances.
Jun 24, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Maestro Riccardo Muti chose Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis” as the work he wished to conduct to mark “the official end” of his glorious 13-year tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has been named music director emeritus for life and will continue to lead occasional CSO performances.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Salutes the Tuba, With Musician Gene Pokorny Performing Work by Lalo Schifrin
Jun 18, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
The tuba may be one of the largest instruments in a symphony orchestra and an important source of the brass sound, but it is rarely celebrated in a work that puts it front and center by way of a masterful composer and musician.
Jun 14, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Chicago’s dance scene is in high gear these days with formidable performances by ballet, modern, jazz, tap, Spanish and classical Indian companies on stages in and around the city. A case in point was this past Saturday’s one-night-only world premiere performance of “Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley” by South Chicago Dance Theatre.
Jun 10, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
If one needs any proof that calamity, whether personal and/or political, also has the power to inspire great works of art, Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 9 in D Major” can easily serve as a prime example.
Jun 8, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
Two very different musicals now on stage in Chicago — a revival of “West Side Story” at Lyric Opera, and a new work, “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon,” at Lookingglass Theatre — are in many ways driven by the issue of immigration.
A Bravura CSO Concert Featuring Violinist Vadim Gluzman in a Shostakovich Concerto, Plus Works by Debussy and Ravel
Jun 5, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
GluzmanGuest conductor David Afkham led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Vadim Gluzman, the extraordinary guest violinist, in a riveting performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s fiendishly difficult, emotionally intense “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor.” Perfomances of works by Ravel and Debussy rounded out the program.
May 30, 2023 | Hedy Weiss
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.