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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).”
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was a great spirit-raising moment of rebirth, celebration and pure musical enchantment Thursday night as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra along with an ebullient Maestro Riccardo Muti and a large, exuberant audience were all reunited in Orchestra Hall for the first time in 19 months.
Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced he has extended his contract as music director by one year through the 2022-23 season. The 80-year-old Italian became music director of the CSO in 2010, succeeding Daniel Barenboim.
The annual event that puts the spotlight on Chicago dance companies is free and open to the public this year with a concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
The crowd roared and jumped to its feet the minute the 88-year-old country music legend walked onto the stage on Saturday night — and his ability to instantly connect to his audience is unwavering, with his guitar playing still seemingly effortless.