Music Reviews

Review: “Queenie Pie”

Where: Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. When: through March 5 Phone: 312-704-8414 Web: chicagooperatheater.org By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Chicago Opera Theater (COT) opened its 40th season Saturday night with the Chicago premiere of Duke Ellington’s “Queenie Pie” at the Harris Theater. Variously known as a “jazz opera” or a “street opera” or(…)

Review: “The Barber of Seville”

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Dr. When: through Feb. 28 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of “The Barber of Seville” is suffused with gaiety, sparkle and laughs. Its sets and costumes effectively transport you to another time and place. The singing is entrancing. But what(…)

Spunky, sparkling quintets

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Chicago Ensemble is in its 37th season of presenting chamber music to Hyde Park audiences. One of the keys to its success is the programming of infrequently heard, oft-times unknown musical works. Artistic director Gerald Rizzer (also one of the founders of the group and its pianist) has(…)

Baroque Band delights

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Neither snow nor cold kept the Augustana Lutheran Church from hosting a large crowd Saturday night. Baroque Band has that kind of audience. Englishman Ian Watson was the guest director and harpsichordist for a program titled “Under the Influence,” which featured a fascinating collection of baroque gems. Conducting from(…)

Starting the New Year with the Old Year

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic New Year’s resolutions are about looking ahead. But the new year is also a time to try and start out afresh. With that in mind, in this week’s column I catch up on some interesting events late last year which I was unable to review in a timely manner.(…)

Review: “Die Fledermaus”

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Dr. When: through Jan. 18 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic If you like to greet the new year with champagne and you love opera, you probably know that “Die Fledermaus” contains one of the most joyous musical tributes to champagne ever written. Lyric Opera is now(…)

“Parsifal” sets sights low

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic I’m sure there was a time when a “God is dead” approach to “Parsifal” would have been both shocking and fascinating. But it turns out you can’t kill God. Artists can’t, anyway. So the only way to go is to kill man. Not just a single hero. Not even(…)

Review: “Madama Butterfly”

Where: Lyric Opera, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: Through Jan. 26 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Lyric Opera of Chicago has a new production of “Madama Butterfly.” It’s simple, it’s pretty and it’s effective. The sets and costumes by Christopher Oram and the stage direction by Louisa Muller (of a revival originally(…)