A love triangle, betrayal, an ominous war, a necessary death – all centered on a strong woman, is perfect opera fare.
The brilliant 19th century composer Vincenzo Bellini found such a plot in “Norma, ou L’infanticide” a play by Alexandre Soumet.
Don’t worry, in the opera Norma threatens her betraying lover with infanticide but doesn’t kill their children. What Bellini did was to turn the story into what has become the iconic bel canto opera.
Now, the Lyric Opera of Chicago which has only done “Norma” three previous times beginning with Maria Callas in 1954, is doing a new-to-Chicago, co-production starring opera’s current Norma favorite, Sondra Radvanovsky.
The Art Institute has a full Chinese menu of activities the last Saturday of January. If you at the Art Institute of Chicago Jan. 28, follow the exotic sounds you hear.
They will pull you into Gallery 101 at 10:30 a.m. and noon for Chinese Guzheng performances and to the Griffin Court in the Modern Wing at 11:30 a.m. for a Lion Dance. Then, it’s back to Griffin Court at 1 and 2 p.m. for the China National Peking Opera.
In addition to the performances there is a Mandarin tour of the museum’s Asian collection at noon and calligraphy demonstrations in the Ryan Learning Center (near the Modern Wing entrance) from 1:30 through 4 p.m.
But even before Jan. 28, the Art Institute is celebrating with drop-in Chinese New Year fun for kids in the Ryan Center, Jan. 17 through Feb. 11.
Best entrance to use for the celebration and Ryan Center is the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing at 159 E. Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60603. General admission fee and free to children age 13 and younger and free to Chicago teens 14-17. Visit AIC.
If all you have is the lunch hour to celebrate, go over to the Chicago Cultural Center Jan. 30 for Chinese dances, martial arts and music in the very impressive Preston Bradley Hall. Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Fung Fu Troupe will be performing from noon to 1 p.m (free).
For more information visit DCAS The Chicago Cultural Center is across from Millennium Park at 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602.
To see the full Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe’s program get tickets to show at the Auditorium Theatre Feb. 4. Tickets start at $33. Show time is 7:30 p.m. The discount code is CFAS. The program blends dance and martial arts. The Auditorium Theatre is at 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605. Visit Auditorium and call (312) 341-2300.
The following week, Navy Pier’s ‘Neighborhoods of the World’ series spotlights the Chinese culture on Feb 12, from noon to 4 p.m. Go up to the Crystal Gardens for arts performances and a Chinese marketplace. Navy Pier is at 600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611. Visit CFA
You won’t have to ask what opera star Renée Fleming, Broadway star Jessie Mueller, folk singer/writer John Prine, R&B/gospel artist Michelle Williams, New Queen of Blues Shemekia Copeland, tenor Matthew Polenzani and The Handsome Family husband-wife duo have in common.
Merely, snag a ticket to their concert, Feb. 4, 2017 at the Civic Opera House, to see them perform.
You will experience a blend of styles and hear the program is a tribute to Chicago’s musical influence.
Mixing genres might sound unusual but think ‘Hamilton,’ a blockbuster musical that uses several styles (it’s not just rap or hip hop).
Led by Music Director Doug Peck, a five-time Jeff Award recipient, the eclectic program features and mixes musical styles.
Fleming, a creative consultant for the Lyric Opera, has been working with Lyric Unlimited, an outreach branch, to encourage Chicago residents to tell their stories through a variety of musical and rhythmic genres.
The legendary opera singer and Lyric Unlimited call the program Chicago Voices. Click on it to find out more.
“When violence in Chicago and a divided America are the headlines, Chicago Voices offers an example of unity, ” said Fleming. “On Feb. 4, we raise our voices to honor the musical heritage and rich diversity of the city we love,” she said.
For ticket information visit Lyric Opera/Concert or by call (312) 827-5600. The Civic Opera House is at 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606.
There are two ways to consider Lyric’s ‘Magic Flute’ production. On one hand it will likely appeal to youngsters though they will have to sit for three hours and 20 minutes (intermission comes about an hour and 15 minutes into the opera).
It’s easy to get so caught up in holiday shopping and preparations that before you know it you’ve missed a show or program you wanted to see. Here are four events for your calendar. Three will disappear after this weekend. The fourth one will take a winter break if you don’t catch it by next week.
Experience ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ with James Stewart as George Bailey, at Orchestra Hall. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra accompanies the film with Dimitri Tiomkin’s score and the CSO Chorus, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. or 3 p.m. Dec. 10 or Dec. 11. Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago. Call (312)294-3000 or visit CSO.
Reserve a ticket for ‘Handel’s Messiah’ with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. Performances are 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Harris Theater for Music & Dance, 2015 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago. Call (312) 427-5620 or visit Apollo Chorus.
Catch Peter Quilter’s ‘End of the Rainbow’ musical about Judy Garland before it leaves Dec. 11. It’s a wonderful Porchlight Music Theatre production that brings back her talent, songs and struggles. The show is at Stage 773, 1225 Belmont, Chicago. Call (773) 327-5252 or visit Stage 773
Watch ‘The Magic Flute,’ a charming fairy tale opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Lyric Opera of Chicago will be performing the opera through Jan, 27, 2017 but to see it in 2016 go Dec. 10, 12 or 14. Running time is 3 hours 20 minutes including 1 intermission. The Lyric is at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Call (312) 827-5600 or visit Lyric Opera.
If lucky enough to still snag a ticket to the Lyric Opera’s ‘Les Troyens’ (The Trojans), Hector Berlioz’ grand opera tribute to Virgil’s Aeneid, don’t worry about its length.
Berlioz’s music, grandly interpreted by Lyric Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, sweeps through the Lyric’s hall like a waterfall that fascinates and pulsates with danger.
Add to that, the incredible vocals by Christine Goerke as Trojan Princess Cassandra, Susan Graham as Carthage Queen Dido, Brandon Jovanovich as Trojan hero Aeneas (Énée) and Lucas Meachem as Cassandra’s lover, Chorebus, and the opera has transcended from a good experience to become a once-in-a-lifetime event.
At a time when opposing philosophies are ridiculed, the Lyric Opera of Chicago steps in with a reminder there must be room in the world for idealists and dreamers.
Jules Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte,’ based on Cervante’s ‘Don Quichotte’ (Don Quixote) and influenced by Jacques Le Lorrain’s play, ‘Le chevalier de la longue figure,’ is both love story and tale of a knight-errant who seeks chivalrous adventures to right the world’s wrongs.
It’s likely you have heard of German composer Wilhelm Richard Wagner and some of his operas such as Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Numrnburg and of course, the four-opera cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen. But if you want more insight into Wagner and the Ring as viewed through The Second City’s magnifying glass, try to snag a ticket to “Longer, Louder Wagner – The Second City Wagner Companion,” playing only this weekend in a Lyric Opera rehearsal room.
Lucia di Lammermoor, Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers opens at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15. When a Romeo and Juliet-style love is subverted by a family’s feud and greed, expect the madness that has made the opera famous for its fabulous coloratura scene. Staring Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia, the opera goes through Nov. 6, 2016 at the Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. For tickets and other information visit Lyric and call (312) 827-5600.
Go to the Old Town School of Folk Music, 7 p.m. Oct. 16, to catch a CD release and concert with the Michael Miles Trio with special guest Darol Anger. Old Town School is at 4545 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For tickets and more information visit Old Town and call (773) 728-6000.
There is still time to catch Light Opera works’ “Let Me Entertain You,” a revue of Jules Styne’s hits such as songs for “Gypsy” and “Funny Girl.” This is the last weekend so get tickets at Light Opera Works. The show is at the Nichols concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. Evanston, IL.
The Lyric Opera of Chicago has opened its 2016-17 season with a remarkable Das Rheingold. Surrealistic set design and creative direction has produced an introduction to Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle (The Ring of the Nibelung) that is as much a theater experience as it is opera. But glorious voices and Wagner’s stirring music remind audiences that Wagner’s combination of German and Norse myths-based epic tales of gold, greed and gods is indeed, exciting, dramatic opera.