Music Reviews

More Mozart memories from Ravinia

More Mozart memories from Ravinia

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Along with two performances of “Don Giovanni” (discussed in these pages last week), also on the Ravinia Festival program this year were two performances of “The Marriage of Figaro.” Mozart was well represented by a handsome group of singers this summer. There was a sturdy Figaro in bass-baritone John(…)

Going to hell at Ravinia

Going to hell at Ravinia

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” with its splendid libretto by Da Ponte, returned to Ravinia in two performances last week. Conductor James Conlon led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a pack of capable singers in this tale of the libertine Don Juan who, after both merry antics and terrible crimes, finally(…)

Reach to be relevant falls flat

Reach to be relevant falls flat

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic What can be done to make classical music events more relevant? This is a question which comes and goes, but never actually goes away. “The Legend of the Northern Lights,” which had its world premiere at the Grant Park Music Festival last weekend, may have something to contribute to(…)

Tears of a clown

Tears of a clown

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” is a cornerstone of operatic verismo, a compact powerhouse of human emotion and tragedy, clocking in at about 70 minutes. Because it’s short, it’s nearly always placed on a double-bill, but for their inaugural production, Chicago’s newest opera company, The Cobalt Opera, chose to let “Pagliacci”(…)

Mälkki and Midori at Ravinia

M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Last month, Susanna Mälkki made her Ravinia debut conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She’s become one of the female conductors to watch since she left her position as principal cellist of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra to study conducting at the Sibelius Academy. She’s begun to make a name for herself(…)

Fun and frolic at the “Ball at the Savoy”

Fun and frolic at the “Ball at the Savoy”

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Paul Abraham’s “Ball at the Savoy” (original German title: “Ball im Savoy”) is a frisky, frothy concoction jam-packed with soaring melodies, uproarious ditties, grand dance numbers and lots of wholesome fun. Chicago Folks Operetta’s American premiere is a splendid way to spend a summer evening; you’re likely to come(…)

A trip to South Shore, a journey through the Planets

A trip to South Shore, a journey through the Planets

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Summer in Chicago is a time of free outdoor enjoyment. For classical music lovers, the main venues are Millennium Park and Ravinia. But the South Shore Cultural Center has already had some splendid offerings at no charge. Last week, the Grant Park Orchestra traveled to the South Shore Cultural(…)

Music on the Midway Plaisance

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Today I catch up by reporting on two recent events for which there was insufficient space at the time I heard them to review them immediately. They each happened just off Hyde Park’s Midway Plaisance, but in two very different venues. First, I was tempted to visit the Performance(…)