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A moment of silence is observed by James Conlon and the CSO musicians in recognition of the passing of Maestro Bernard Haitink, who died on October 21, 2021. (Credit Todd Rosenberg Photography)

Thursday’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert began as guest conductor James Conlon turned to the audience and announced the news that Bernard Haitink, the world-renowned and much beloved conductor with strong ties to the CSO, had died earlier in the day at his home in London at the age of 92.

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"Horizonte," choreographed and performed by Monica Saucedo. (Credit Dean Paul)

It was an evening of multiple celebrations Saturday as Chicago’s Ensemble Español Spanish dance company arrived on the stage of the Auditorium Theatre in full regalia to mark the return of live performance in the landmark hall following its pandemic shutdown.

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The Forest Lords of Arden (left to right: Austin Eckert, Jeff Kurysz, Adam Wesley Brown, Michael Daniel Dashefsky, Kurt Schweitz) jam to the hit song of The Beatles in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “As You Like It,” adapted and directed by Daryl Cloran, in the Courtyard Theater, Oct. 6–Nov. 21. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

The show is not some crazy remake of the musical “Hair,” but rather a raucous, playful and exceedingly clever reimagined take on Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” 

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Fernando Duarte and Stefan Goncalvez perform in “Swing Low.” (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

With its ideally titled program, “Home: A Celebration,” the Joffrey Ballet finally made its pandemic-delayed debut as the resident dance company at the Lyric Opera House on Wednesday. And it did so by way of a beautifully constructed and exquisitely danced program.

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Jessie Montgomery, the CSO’s Mead Composer-in-Residence. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

On the heels of the recent triumphant return to live concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Riccardo Muti, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has announced its extensive programming plans for the remainder of the 2021 season and the first half of the 2022 season.

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The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour RENT 20th Anniversary Tour (Credit Amy Boyle 2019).

Among the shows that have marked the return of live theater in Chicago are three very different music-driven works variously set in the final three decades of the 20th century. Seen during present day upheaval, as well as through the lens of their original conception, the result is an intriguing double vision. 

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Music Director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique) as part of Muti’s final program in his fall 2021 residency. (Credit Todd Rosenberg Photography)

Maestro Riccardo Muti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the third program of his fall residency with an intriguing juxtaposition of three works: Missy Mazzoli’s 2006 “These Worlds in Us”; Russian composer Anatoly Liadov’s 1908 tone poem, “The Enchanted Lake”; and finally, Tchaikovsky’s indisputable 1893 masterpiece, “Symphony No. 6 in B Minor (Pathetique).”

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Bethany Thomas performs in “Songs for Nobodies.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

With her bravura one-woman performance in “Songs for Nobodies,” Bethany Thomas has clearly found the kind of star turn that can change a career, and a life, while unquestionably generating immense happiness, awe and bravos among her audiences.

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Violinist Leonidas Kavakos acknowledges the audience following his performance with Riccardo Muti and the CSO, September 30, 2021. (Credit Todd Rosenberg Photography)

Leonidas Kavakos — the Greek-born violinist who thrilled audiences with his performance of Beethoven’s 1806 “Violin Concerto in D Major” two years ago — returned to the stage with a galvanic rendering of Brahms’ 1878 “Violin Concerto in D Major,” leaving the packed house in a state of contained awe between movements.

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Ailyn Perez and Joshua Hopkins in the Lyric Opera production of “The Elixir of Love.” (Photo by Cory Weaver)

Gaetano Donizetti’s beguiling romantic comedy is a delightful  and winningly insightful tale of true love, money, egotism, self-doubt, wishful thinking and charlatanism. And, to top it all off, it comes with a happy ending.

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Sondra Radvanovsky and Craig Colclough in the Lyric Opera production of “Macbeth.” (Photo by Ken Howard)

The Lyric Opera production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth” — which marks both the ongoing pandemic-era reopening of the company’s renovated 3,200-seat theater, and the official start of Enrique Mazzola’s tenure as the company’s music director — is no standard witches’ brew. 

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We go behind the scenes of “American Mariachi,” a co-production between the Dallas Theater Center and the Goodman Theatre, set in 1970s Chicago. (WTTW News)

It was just before opening night that “American Mariachi” had to close its doors. Now, nearly 18 months later, the cast has returned to the stage. We go behind the scenes of this new musical play set in 1970s Chicago.

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Lyric Opera of Chicago (WTTW News)

To open or not to open: That's been the question for Chicago’s performing arts community over the last year and a half. Now, the League of Chicago Theatres has announced new COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures as productions are set to fill up stages once again.

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Actor Miguel Cervantes appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. (WTTW News)

Miguel Cervantes joins us in conversation ahead of a performance this week at The Metropolitan Club and the reopening of “Hamilton” on Broadway next month.

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Music director Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra in 2019. (Courtesy of the Grant Park Music Festival)

From Grant Park to Ravinia, music and dance are returning in a big way this summer. Theater critic Hedy Weiss is returning, too, to talk about some recent live shows.

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Theater seats were empty across the city in during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. (WTTW News)

When theaters across the city shut down last year, a local multimedia company took the performing arts from stage to screen. With the help of some celebrated collaborators, they kept audiences in touch with artists.