Music Reviews

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(…)

Review: Chicago bathed in Mozart Operas

By M.L. Rantala Classical Music Critic What: Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” Where: Lyric Opera, 20 North Wacker Dr. When: Through Oct. 24 Phone: 312-332-2244 And What: Mozart’s “Lucia Silla” Where: Harris Theater , 205 E. Randolph St. When: Through Oct. 4 Contact: The Chicago opera season opened with a splash on Saturday with(…)

Review: Muti marvelous in CSO season opener

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened its 125th anniversary season Thursday night with Riccardo Muti at the podium leading the orchestra in works by Liszt, Mozart and Beethoven. Symphony Center was packed well before Muti took to the stage with a microphone to begin the evening with remarks lasting several(…)

Review: The stars of Lyric Opera shine at Millenium Park

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Very cool weather did not dampen crowd enthusiasm at Lyric Opera of Chicago’s annual free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion, held last Friday night. Lyric brought most of the stars of its first two operas of the season to Millennium Park and the audience was well pleased. The concert(…)

Review: Sometimes the best things in life really are free

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The upcoming classical music and opera season (soon to be previewed in these pages) offers numerous occasions for you to empty your wallet. So it’s worth taking notice when valuable events are free of charge. Discussed here are four performances this month, two in Hyde Park and two downtown,(…)

Review: Another summer at the Grant Park Music Festival ends

Review: Another summer at the Grant Park Music Festival ends

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic As summer winds down, gasping for its last moments of hot sunshine (rather feebly at the moment), so too do the summer music festivals and outdoor concerts wane here in Chicago. I caught the penultimate concert of the summer season at the Grant Park Music Festival at the end(…)

Review: Mattila’s masterful moments at the Martin Theatre

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Opera star Karita Mattila took the small stage at Ravinia’s Martin Theatre this month for a song recital which showcased her vocal talents in an intimate setting, making for a wonderful evening of music. The Finnish soprano opened with four songs by Brahms, juxtaposing hard-hitting big sound with evocative(…)

Review: Conlon bids farewell to Ravinia with a splendid “Dutchman”

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic James Conlon, who since 2005 has held the title music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Residency at the Ravinia Festival, ended his tenure Saturday night. His final trip to the Ravinia podium as music director was a concert performance of “The Flying Dutchman” by Wagner, featuring the Chicago(…)