Music Reviews

Review: An evening of unworldly music

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Schubert’s stirring Mass in E-flat Major was the major work on the Grant Park Music Festival’s program Saturday night. Artistic director and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar presided over a large force: full orchestra, big chorus and five soloists. The results were splendid. Kalmar found all the majesty and glory(…)

“Aida” shines at Ravinia

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The stars twinkled above Ravinia Park on Saturday. The pavilion stage was also full of stars, as James Conlon led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a marvelous collection of soloists in a concert performance of Verdi’s “Aida.” Soprano Latonia Moore made her Ravinia debut, singing the title role with(…)

Review: Cool night, hot music

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic As a teenager, Jean Sibelius longed to be a great violinist. After aborting legal studies, he entered the Helsinki Music School (later renamed the Sibelius Academy) where he realized he would never be a violin virtuoso. He turned to composing, becoming not only his country’s most renowned and beloved(…)

Grant Park Orchestra triumphs in Millenium Park

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Last Wednesday, just as the heat wave began to lose steam, it was a perfect night for an outdoor concert. The Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park had gentle breezes which wafted the attractive scent of the foliage nearby. It was the perfect accompaniment to the music of the Grant(…)

Review: Keep on smiling

Where: 773 Theatre, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. When: through July 14 Contact: chicagofolksoperetta.org By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Chicago Folks Operetta has launched their 2013 season with the first Chicago production in some 25 years of Franz Lehár’s “The Land of Smiles” (“Das Land des Lächelns”). While Lehár is renowned for “The Merry Widow,”(…)

Review: Chicago Ensemble closes season with flair

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Chicago Ensemble’s 36th Hyde Park season came to a close on the Sunday of Alumni Weekend with a pleasant afternoon concert at International House, 1414 E. 59th St., replete with champagne and many smiling faces. The concert opened with the Trio-sonata in C Major by J.J. Quantz, performed(…)

Review: A river runs through it

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic June 14, 1933, was a barrier-breaking day: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by Frederick Stock, premiered Symphony in E Minor by Florence Price. It was the first time a substantial work by a Black woman was performed by a major symphony orchestra. Price’s music was, sadly, never performed again(…)

Review: Murky Maria in a tango tangle

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The general director of Chicago Opera Theater (COT), Andreas Mitisek, isn’t shy about his role in the recent production of “Maria de Buenos Aires.” He’s credited in the program as “conductor, director, concept, video concept and production designer.” You’d think with a single mind behind so many of the(…)