Music Reviews

The wonderful dreamworld of Pelléas et Mélisand

The wonderful dreamworld of Pelléas et Mélisand

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” is one of the 20th century’s landmark scores, an ethereal setting of Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist play of the same name. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra tapped Esa-Pekka Salonen to conduct their first-ever complete performance of the opera, and the results were spectacular. In outline, the story is a(…)

Laughter through tears: The Chicago Ensemble at International House

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Chicago Ensemble offered a splendid concert on Sunday at International House, clearly establishing why they have been a fixture on the Chicago music scene for 38 years. In a performance with many superb moments, they made the greatest effect with two works exploring Jewish themes. Dmitri Shostakovich’s rich(…)

Nails in the coffin

Nails in the coffin

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic What: “A Coffin in Egypt” Where: Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St. When: Through May 3 Tickets: $35 – $125 Contact: chicagooperatheater.org. Frederica von Stade is a much admired and loved American mezzo-soprano. And rightly so: even as she approaches 70, her voice is captivating(…)

The past is never finished

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Lyric Opera of Chicago concluded their opera offerings this season with the world premiere of a mariachi opera by José “Pepe” Martínez with libretto by Leonard Foglia. “El Pasado Nunca Se Termina” (“The Past is Never Finished”) is a fascinating, entertaining work that ties together the tumultuous revolution in(…)

All you need is love — of the baroque

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic It has become commonplace for those offering concerts to give them a title. Sometimes the title imparts clear and useful information. Sometimes it is vague and flowery. Sometimes it is witty. Sometimes it is obscure. Sometimes it is pointless. Baroque Band titles their concerts in a way which offers(…)

I left my heart in the Tower of London: “The Yeomen of the Guard” at Mandel Hall

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Yeomen of the Guard,” reckoned by both its creators as their best collaboration, was recently performed at Mandel Hall. Hyde Park’s own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company Inc. (GSOCI), which has been offering productions since 1960 by operetta’s most famous duo, is presenting “Yeoman,” with(…)

I left my heart in the Tower of London: “The Yeoman of the Guard” at Mandel Hall

I left my heart in the Tower of London: “The Yeoman of the Guard” at Mandel Hall

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic What:  “The Yeoman of the Guard” Where: Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St. When: Through Sun., Mar. 15 Phone: 773-702-2787 Web: ticketsweb.uchicago.edu Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Yeoman of the Guard,” reckoned by both its creators as their best collaboration, opened last night at Mandel Hall and continues with two(…)

“The Passenger” takes you on a remarkable journey

“The Passenger” takes you on a remarkable journey

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic What: “The Passenger” Where: Lyric Opera, 20 North Wacker Dr. When: through Mar. 15 Phone: 312-332-2244 Composer Miecyslaw Weinberg’s opera “The Passenger” has made its Midwest premiere at Lyric Opera of Chicago in a production which gives this long-ignored work its proper due. The opera is based on the(…)