Brian Jagde’s powerful tenor and Ana Maria Martinez’s delicate and expressively lyrical soprano were worth the slosh through the snow for Lyric Opera’s opening of “Madama Butterfly,” Thursday.
No matter how audiences feel about Giacomo Puccini’s anti-hero, US Navy Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton, and his callous disregard of a 15-year-old Geisha’s heart, or the disastrous results, it is the composer’s arias, duets and a subtle chorus that make “Madama Butterfly” an opera-house staple and featured in concerts.
However, what original director Michael Grandage’s bare-bones production (revived by director Louisa Muller with set and costume designed by Christoper Oram), does, is to deliberately allow the leads to shine without the distraction of elaborate set changes and people movement.
Many people familiar with Airbnb these days can probably appreciate issues related to inviting visitors into your home or at least dealing with travelling public.
In this popular Agatha Christie mystery, five distinctly eccentric individuals have each booked their stay on the inaugural weekend opening of Monkswell Manor, a country guesthouse owned and operated by Mollie and Giles Ralston (Kate Fry, Allen Gilmore).
“Riverdance” has played for a quarter of a century. Now appearing in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, Riverdance’s folk-driven exciting sounds and steps have been loved by people of all ages.
In 1995, the show’s premiere was in Dublin with Irish and international music and dance. Then it went to London followed by a hugely successful tour begn in New York in 1996.
During the next two decades, “Riverdance” toured North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania, South Africa, and South America. It has been a favorite Grammy Award-winning show all over the world!
The Riverdance Irish troupe was 24 dancers, with the six principals being Will Bryant, Maggie Darlington, Anna Mai Fitzpatrick, Patrick O’Mahony, Jason O’Neill, and Gianna Petracic.
The Riverdance tappers were Lamont Brown and Tyler Knowlin. And there were also additional dancers in the Russian folk dance troupe.
Not only was the audience thrilled with the dancing, but the singers, drums, saxophone, fiddles and whistles made the music fabulous. And the background showed many places, beginning with the river and continuing through many areas with spectacular lighting and beautiful costume designs.
DETAILS: “Riverdance” is at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre at 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago through Feb. 9 2020/. Running time: 2 hours with one intermission. For tickets and other information, call Broadway In Chicago at (800) 775-2000, or go visit Broadway in Chicago.
Ravinia goers may recall that Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonyh No. 1 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 were brilliantly played by the CSO and conducted by Marin Alsop in 2018. They may also remember that the conductor of the highly lauded Bernstein “Mass” performed July 2017 was also conducted by Alsop. The final protégé of Leonard Bernstein, Alsop was appointed in 2018 to curate Ravinia’s multi-season celebration of Bernstein.
This week, Ravinia announced that its Board of Trustees has named the highly regarded Alsop to the new position of Chief Conductor and Curator of Ravina Fesival beginning with the 2020 season.
Instead of worrying about getting to a grocery store to find roses, consider an immersion in orchids. The Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show stays open late on Thursdays for its After Hours event when drinks and food are available. However, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, After Hours will also happen on Feb. 14, 2000. For cost and hours visit Chicago Botanic/Orchid.
In addition, a heart-shaped cake and glass of Champagne will be available at the Garden View Café and during Orchids After Hours. The Chicago botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road Glencoe. For more information call (847) 835-6801 or Main: (847) 835-5440 or visit Chicago Botanic Garden.
Ocean Prime brings back popular seafood dish
Try a special dish in an upscale downtown Chicago restaurant with a view of the Chicago River. Created last year, Cameron Mitchell’s Ocean Prime will have its roasted sea bass over Alaskan King Crab gnocchi with Champagne cream on its valentine’s Day menu. Accompanied by a baby carrot salad, the dish will be $62 at the Chicago location.
For reservations and more information call (312) 428-4344 or visit Ocean Prime Chicago. The restaurant is next to the London House Hotel, 87 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago.
Kids and grandparents decorate cookies at Max and Benny’s
To give parents a night out or include them, Max and Benny’s, a Northshore deli, is holding a special cupcake/cookie decorating event on Feb. 14, 2020. Families will do dinner at the deli, then go into the event room to decorate a cupcake or cookie to eat there or take home. Registration is suggested but not required. For more information visit Max and Benny’s events.
Max and benny’s is in the strip mall at 461 Waukegan Rd., Northbrook.
A “Salute to the Duke” with concept by Donald McKayle, direction and choreography by Brenda Didier and Florence Walker Harris, “Sophisticated Ladies” celebrates Porchlight’s 25th Anniversary Mainstage season by taking the big jazz band era of the Duke to new heights.
Featuring music by jazz composer, pianist and band leader Duke Ellington who composed thousands of songs during his 50-year career, the Duke is recognized as one of the most important composers in American musical history.
The show, a Porchlight Theatre production, takes the audience through Duke’s legendary career with a treasure trove of hits, that include “Mood Indigo,” “Take the “A” Train,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Satin Doll.”
Prepare to be dazzled by Ronnie Marmo who plays the tragic Lenny Bruce in “I’m Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce,” now extended at the Royal George Theater.
Written by and starring Marmo, the playwright/actor plays Bruce and other characters as he takes audiences through the highs and lows of Bruce’s life, including his relationships with his mother, wife Honey Harlow and daughter Kitty.
Maybe groundhogs Woodstock Willie in Illinois and Punxsutawne Phil in Pennsylvania will not see their shadows on Feb. 2, 2020, this year’s Groundhog Day. So maybe spring will come early.
However you feel about a creature’s ability to predict the end of winter, the place to be if you are an early riser and live in Illinois is the village of Woodstock where Harold Ramis had filmed “Groundhog Day,” the popular 1993 movie that he and Danny Rubin wrote.
The celebratory highlight is a very early morning wake-up call for Woodstock Willie. The prognostication takes place Sunday in the town’s historic Woodstock’Square at 7 a.m.
But even if not willing to witness the weather prediction first hand, the town’s Groundhog Day festival is worth the drive. Woodstock has been celebrating the movie and it’s filmed locations for more than 25 years with a free movie showing, marked locations and tours.
To learn about Punxsutawne Phil and the location where Bill Murray was supposed to go as TV weatherman Phil Connors, and how repeating each day until he could get Rita, the accompanying reporter to like him (Andie MacDowell) visitGroundhog.