Music Reviews

Review: Dazzling fortepiano on the Midway

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The fortepiano, the immediate precursor of today’s piano, could well have been consigned to oblivion but for the period instrument movement of the last century. The fortepiano was remarkable in its day, created around 1700 by an Italian harpsichord maker. Initially, the instruments were very expensive and only royalty(…)

A Merry Rom-Com at Lyric Opera

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic What: Lehár’s “The Merry Widow” Where: Lyric Opera, 20 North Wacker Dr. When: Through Dec. 13 Phone: 312-332-2244 The holiday season is now upon us and that means that you can count on Lyric Opera of Chicago to have a feel-good opera on tap. This year it’s Franz Lehár’s(…)

Review: Unforgettable “Wozzeck” at Lyric Opera

What: Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” Where: Lyric Opera, 20 North Wacker Dr. When: Through Nov. 21 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” is one of the 20th century’s great art masterpieces. The new production currently on offer at Lyric Opera of Chicago is a thoughtful and searing depiction of a common(…)

Review: Fine Hyde Park performance of rarely heard music

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Gerald Rizzer has a knack for finding music with appeal and merit that most people haven’t heard before. He programs works spanning from the baroque period to this century written for a wide range of different small ensemble configurations. For 38 years Rizzer, the pianist, artistic director and founder(…)

Review: A clutch of little-known operas

Where: Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave. When: through Nov. 8 Contact: thirdeye.com By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, a company formed a year ago, is now presenting the Midwest and Chicago premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s opera “Sumeida’s Song” at the Prop Thtr (3502 N. Elston Ave.). It is the haunting(…)

Review: An enchanting “Cinderella”

Review: An enchanting “Cinderella”

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through Oct. 30 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Before the first note sounded, before the curtain went up, before I even arrived at the Civic Opera House, I couldn’t help but notice something different at the opera on Saturday night. There were quite a(…)

University of Chicago Presents

The University of Chicago Presents season got underway Friday night at Mandel Hall with a program of diverting music given a masterful treatment by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble. The evening opened with Mozart’s Divertimento in D, K.136/125a. The five string players (the usual voices of a string quartet plus(…)

Review: Dueling keyboardists and a fist full of arias

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Baroque Band opened its 2015-16 season in Hyde Park at the Augustana Lutheran Church on Saturday night with music that put the spotlight on both harpsichord and fortepiano. The guest soloist for the former was harpsichordist and conductor Ian Watson with the soloist for the latter being Baroque Band’s(…)