Music Reviews

Second cast is first rate in Lyric’s Tosca

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through March 14 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Revolutionary intrigue and artistic temperament combine for tragedy in Puccini’s “Tosca,” now at Lyric Opera of Chicago. The second cast in the production directed by John Caird is led by Hue He (in the title role)(…)

“The Property,” though flawed, worth seeing

Where: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie When: through March 5 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic As part of its effort to reach new audiences, Lyric Opera of Chicago — through its Lyric Unlimited initiative — presented the world premiere of a new, short klezmer opera at the Logan Center,(…)

Not your usual ghost story

Not your usual ghost story

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Emile Zola strove in his writings to offer a bleeding slice of life. He surely succeeded in “ThérèseRaquin,” a story of lust and murder that one contemporary French critic decried as “putrid” and a “quagmire of slime and blood.” American composer Tobias Picker created an English language opera of(…)

Stunning voices in uneven “Tannhäuser”

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through March 6 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” pits profane and sacred love against each other in battle for the title character’s soul. Lyric Opera of Chicago now offers the opera in a production new to Chicago, the first time it has(…)

A swift substitute saves the evening for University of Chicago Presents

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic One of the biggest problems a music presenter faces is what to do when an artist cancels at short notice. Amy Iwano, executive director of University of Chicago Presents, had just this problem when she learned only days before last Friday’s scheduled performance that violinist Isabelle Faust was ill(…)

Baroque Band gets beastly

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Baroque Band started off the new year with three performances of a program entitled “Beastie Boyz” which highlighted works that had a few things to say about our relatives in the Animal Kingdom. Having missed the band’s Hyde Park performance, I caught them on a recent Wednesday night in(…)

Northern Harmony Quartet warms a winter night

Northern Harmony Quartet warms a winter night

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Vittoria Aleotti (ca. 1573-1646) was one of five daughters of the successful Italian architect Giovanni Battista Aleotti, a resident of Ferrara. Vittoria’s musical talent was recognized early and she was first given private lessons with the accomplished musicians Alessandro Milleville and Ercole Pasquini. Later, at the tender age of(…)

Central Europe genius on display at CSO

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Manfred Honeck is an Austrian native with deep roots in the central European music scene. His work has included stints in Vienna, Zurich, Leipzig and Stuttgart and he is now the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Honeck was the guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO)(…)