Music Reviews

Lots to desire in “Streetcar”

By M.L. Rantala Classical Music Critic Renee Fleming has been Lyric Opera’s creative consultant since 2010, but in spite of this until last week she hadn’t appeared in an opera at Lyric during her tenure. She made up for this by headlining a special, four-performances-only, just-for-subscribers production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The operatic treatment(…)

Salonen charms in cohoots with Yo-Yo Ma

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, principal conductor and artistic advisor of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, returned once again recently to wintry Chicago to lead the CSO and to collaborate with one of the world’s most admired cellists. Saturday night, March 2, at Symphony Center, Salonen opened a well-proportioned concert with a(…)

The House of Usher, minus the fall

The House of Usher, minus the fall

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Fall of the House of Usher” is Edgar Allan Poe’s greatest prose work, a gloomy, murky story of a mysterious man, his even more mysterious sister and the creepy house that has been their family home for generations. Although only a short story, there is more than enough(…)

Review Splendid performance showcases the new Mandel Hall

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Mandel Hall has a spruced up new look: new carpet, paint, stenciling, seats, acoustical clouds and sprinkler system. The space has the same elegant feel as before, now accentuated with a new brightness and shine. It’s a splendid improvement on an already splendid performance space. It was in this(…)

Celebrating Dr. King, President Obama and Black Liberation

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critics Inauguration Sunday found Music in the Loft hosting a sold-out recital that honored the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., commemorated the second inauguration of Barack Obama and celebrated the notable successes of African Americans in fighting oppression. The program of all American music was created and performed by(…)

Review “Hänsel und Gretel”

Review “Hänsel und Gretel”

Where: Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through Jan. 19 Phone: 312-332-2244 By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Fairy tales are an entertaining way of teaching children lessons, often laced with moral instruction. Lyric Opera is now offering a particularly entertaining version of the famous story of “Hänsel und Gretel” in the form(…)

Winter concerts to warm music fans

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic There’s lots of hot music to come during the cold opening months of 2013, including several interesting performances right here in the neighborhood. University of Chicago Presents resumes on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m., with a Contempo concert featuring the music of University of Chicago composers Anthony Cheung,(…)

Review “Tickling the ivories at I-House”

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Earlier this month at I-House, the Chicago Ensemble presented a pleasing concert devoted to piano trios. Mathias Tacke (violin), Andrew Snow (cello) and Gerald Rizzer (piano), performed a wide range of material in an engaging manner. The concert opened with Beethoven’s Trio No. 5 in D Major, op 70,(…)