Music Reviews

Before she lost her head: “Anna Bolena” at Lyric

Before she lost her head: “Anna Bolena” at Lyric

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through Jan. 16, 2015 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic For only the second time in its 60-year history, Lyric Opera of Chicago is presenting Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena.” It’s a long work (this production clocks in at three-and-a-half hours), but one full of engrossing music(…)

Rising Russian pianist wows Chicago

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic University of Chicago Presents (UCP) scored big once again last month when they hosted the Chicago debut of Denis Kozhukhin. This pianist made his name by winning the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels when he was only 23. Later this season he will perform with the Chicago Symphony(…)

A winning “Porgy and Bess”

A winning “Porgy and Bess”

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Like so many great operas, “Porgy and Bess” was not initially a hit. Critics were underwhelmed when it premiered in the 1930s and when the Civil Rights Movement found its stride, many considered this folk opera to be deprecating to the African Americans who made up its characters. We’ve(…)

He ain’t my brother, he’s heavy

He ain’t my brother, he’s heavy

What: Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through Nov. 29 Phone: 312-322-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Sibling rivalry is as old as the family itself. Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” takes this destructive competition to tragic heights as it pits two brothers against each other in a civil war and(…)

A powerful combination of music and politics

A powerful combination of music and politics

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Third Coast Percussion, a quartet of Northwestern graduates now in residence at the University of Notre Dame, offered an exciting and fascinating performance at the Logan Center as part of this season’s University of Chicago Presents concert series. Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and David Skidmore created soundscapes(…)

A kind of rapture at St. Thomas

Earlier this month, on a pleasant early Sunday evening, Hyde Park’s St. Thomas the Apostle Church was the site for a concert of opera arias. The event served both as a fundraiser for the church’s musical programs and also a chance for the general public to experience the pleasing acoustical qualities of the church. Luciano(…)

“The Medium” is the message

“The Medium” is the message

Where: Collaboraction Pentagon Theater, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through Nov. 2 Phone: 847-430-4341 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Just in time for Halloween, Third Eye Theatre Ensemble is now offering an engaging production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s short, two-act opera “The Medium.” This haunting work, running just over an hour, premiered in 1946,(…)

South Shore Opera’s “La Traviata” stumbles

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The beautiful and gleaming Paul Robeson Theater at the South Shore Cultural Center was the locus of a worthy but frustratingly awkward attempt Saturday night at staging a truncated version of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” An audience of just under 150 took in a performance that was part concert, part(…)