Where are you? I’m working from home but am also at the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Hall watching Sir Simon Rattle conduct Joseph Haydn’s “Oxford” Symphony No. 92 in G major and Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor.
The concerts are free. The digital concert hall site asks you to redeem a voucher. Once done you go to trailers and/or the various concerts.
I’ve started with Concert 39 to hear the Oxford and the Brahms First but will return to check out the other concerts.
Then, sad that the Lyric Opera of Chicago had to cancel its much anticipated “Ring” this spring due to the C Virus, I took a time-machine back the to the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle that began in 2010.
The Met is doing nightly opera streams. However, it also has free videos that can be watched any time of day. During week 2, now through March 29, 2020, videos concentrate on Wagner.
I loved “Wagner Dreams,” a fascinating behind the scenes journey of producing an unusual Ring. It depended on a giant machine with moving steps and platforms and terrific lighting but also spectacular voices and performances. I will try “Wagner Leitmotifs,” later.
To watch “Gotterdammerung,” slated for today, March 27, 2020 which stars Deborah Voigt, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Waltraud Meier, Jay Hunter Morris, Iain Paterson, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, (conducted by Fabio Luisi. From February 11, 2012) means signing up for a Met on Demand subscription. There is also a rental for about $5.
Stage venues have gone to YouTube, Facebook and various web sites to keep their performers and to give something to the vast majority of stay-at-home audience members. Here is one that goes live today and can become a noon plus 30 tune-in habit.
The popular music festival has canceled this spring’s concerts and has moved some artists to September. However it has started a new, online concert series called Noon30 that starts today at March 26 12:30 p.,. EST and will continue through April 11, 2020.
Find Germain Lopez premiering the series from his home in Spain where he will be performing an acoustic version of “A Punto de Nieve” at You Look for tube/SMForg.
Look for Vasen, also performing today from Uppsala, Sweden. You can find his performance of “IPA Gubben at You Tu Be.
If looking for something to distract from COVID-19 closings take a look at what Ravinia Festival, the famed primarily outdoor music venue has on its l2020 Calendar.
Even a brief scan shows that pop stars such as Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood, folk icons Arlo Guthrie and Judy Collins, hip hop band The Roots, rock ‘n roll musician John Fogerty, pop-rock band Train, and classicalists pianist Jorge Federico Osorio and violinist Midori are on the schedule.
Plus, Ravinia’s newly appointed conductor and curator Marin Alsop will be conducting the CSO in an all Rachmaninoff evening with Lukass Vondracek playing the Rach 3, Itzhak Perlman will play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and the next day conduct the CSO for Ravinia’s annual Tchaikovsky spectacular.
Ravinia canceled events before June 1 due to the coronavirus but has said nothing so far, about the regular programing after June 1. Instead, its statement read: “Ticket sales to Ravinia’s summer lineup will occur as planned, with donors having access as early as March 17.”
April 28 is the date when the public can get tickets for the June and July concerts. August and September concerts go on sale April 29.
Tip: Ravinia goers sometimes become donors because the hottest tickets go quickly, Click Ravinia/Fund for the donor fee structure and what each level offers.
The Ravinia Festival is at the south end of North Suburban Highland Park between Sheriday and Green Bay Rds, just north of Lake Cook Road. For more Ravinia information visit Ravinia.
Seeing “Almost Heaven,” will bring recollections of John Denver’s backstory.
Denver’s music was considered to be more or less middle-of-the-road if not downright conservative in the wake of rising stars like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
This issue is confronted early in the latest jukebox boomer music revival, “Almost Heaven-John Denver’s America,” at The Theatre at the Center in Munster, IN..
The popular singer/songwriter eventually emerged as the nascent voice of the environmental movement with songs like “Calypso” that championed the work of Jacques Cousteau, as well as “Rocky Mountain High,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Wild Montana Skies” and “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” They unabashedly and exuberantly celebrated the magnificence and simple beauty of nature.
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.
If you want to see Train, that multiple Grammy award band at Ravinia this summer, be ready to grab your tickets in the next couple of weeks.
The calendar says January but Ravinia Festival in Highland Park has already scheduled Train, a big summer draw, for Aug. 21-22. However, tickets to the sure-to-sell-out concert are going on sale to Ravinia donors at the Patron level and above beginning Jan. 17, 2020 and to the public Jan. 24. The place to go for tickets is Ravinia.org.
Featuring frontman Patrick Monahan, guitarist Luis Maldonado, bassist/singer Hector Maldonado, keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Becker, drummer Matt Musty, and backup singers Sakai Smith and Nikita Houston, Train has quickly sold out in the past.
Among their hit singles are “Calling All Angels,” “Get to Me,” “Ordinary” from Spider-Man 2, “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter,” and “Hey, Soul Sister.”
The complete Ravinia season will be announced on March 12 but if you go to the Ravina site now look for winter concerts in Bennett Hall. “Coming to America: Songs of American Immigrants” will be in Bennett on Jan. 25.
Tchaikovsky, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Itzhak Perlman brought friends and families out to Ravinia Festival Sunday. After storming in the morning, the weather was cooperating for Ravinia’s annual “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” in early evening.
Blanket carrying, luggage-rolling, chair-toting, concert goers kept pouring through the park’s gates even past the early 5 p.m. program start.
Each year, the popular concert fills the lawn with music lovers who know that the final notes of the “1812 Overture” are also an appropriate cannon send-off to a Chicago Symphony Orchestra that is at Orchestra Hall downtown during the winter but plays at Ravinia in Highland Park in summer.
Heads, nodded and even feet seemed to join in from the blankets and chairs behind the Pavilion and across the lawn as Perlman expertly conducted Tchaikovsky’s familiar Symphony No. 4.
After intermission, the 2017 Credit Swisse Young Artist Award winner, cellist Kian Soltani, a Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, wowed listeners with his deft handling of “Variations on a rococo theme for cello and orchestra and its virtuosic coda.
For the “1812” some lawn sitters with youngsters on shoulders, strolled over to the space on the northeast side of the Pavilion to watch the cannon shots.
Ravinia Festival was living up to its name. A festival mood had spread across the park as youngsters skipped around blankets and many picnickers, reluctant to leave on this balmy concert night, continued sipping, eating and chatting.
They had come well-supplied with wine bottles, dishes to share and other stuff.
Although this was the first time Sidney Burks and Julie Haase from Southern Missouri had been to Ravinia, they were visiting Julie’s folks, Patsy and Roger Haase, regular Ravinia goers from Arlington Heights. What was important to bring?
“A light,” said Patsy, pointing to a very attractive decorated glass container sitting by their table that would be good for concerts continuing after dark. “This way we can find our way back to our table,” she said.
Dan and Donna Berman who lived a lot closer in Deerfield, had already seen several concerts and had more planned on their calendar including the Michael Feinstein program.
“I love Ravinia,” said Dan. “I love music.” He added. “Not necessarily in that order.”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conductor Rafael Payare and pianist Emanuel Ax gave bravo performances at Ravinia Festival Aug. 2, 2019.
Payare, a Venezuelan conductor who has led ensembles and orchestras across the globe and will lead the San Diego Symphony as its new music director this fall, infused Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 with extra exuberance and sensitivity to its Napoleonic themes.
Although the themes are familiar to classical musical lovers, Eroica in less able hands has sometimes come across as too predictable and automatically played. But when Payare opened the symphony by (I think appropriately) upping the pace on the Allegro con brio, there was a new feeling of excitement stretching across the Pavilion and lawn.
It was in perfect contrast to what became the very expressive Marcia funebre movement in C minor followed by the CSO strings’ nimble and delightful Scherzo that went back to the symphony’s key of E-flat major.
During the symphony, the cameras for ravinia’s screens’ focused on the orchestra’s exceptional oboist, flutist and French horns.
They deserved the extra acknowledgement accorded them by Payare after the heroic symphony’s exuberant final notes drew enthusiastic applause.
This interpretation of Beethoven’s epic, groundbreaking symphony was among the best I’ve heard.
It would take another epic performance to complement the first half the program.
And that is what Ax delivered with his extraordinary Brahm’s Concerto No. 2 in B –flat major.
Back at Ravinia for his 28th appearance since 1975, the 70-year-old Ax still has the powerful hands, agile fingers and emotion variations that won the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv in the 1974 and the Avery Fisher Prize in New York City in 1979.
Among the finest pianists of our time, Ax appeared to be having a love affair with the piano (or with Brahms) on Friday.
From hands crossing to land powerful chords and fingers flying across the keys to their producing lyrical waterfalls and gentle caresses, Ax married technique with sensitivity.
What audiences may not recall is that Brahms pays homage in Piano Concerto No. 2 to another instrument he likes to write for, the cello. In notes on the work, Brahms calls the section of the Andante that features a cello solo, a “concerto within a concerto.”
Ax is familiar with Brahms piano cello pairings. As a frequent partner with cellist Yo Yo Ma, the duo has won several Grammy Awards for their Brahms recordings.
As the strains of the last notes of Brahms second piano concerto echoed through the Pavilion, the audience rose, almost as one body, applauding loudly and long.
The double bill of bravo performances made Friday at Ravinia a night to remember.
(Friday was the second night to feature Beethoven symphonies and Brahms concertos. Thursday’s concert was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor followed by pianist Yefim Bronfman playing Brahms’ Concerto No. 1 in D minor.)
Think “The Music Man.” Then add such shows as “Come From Away,” “Frozen” and “Hamilton.” But as the guy on TV says, “Wait, there’s more.” Add in opera star Maria Callas to make three spectacular evenings – one in July, another in August and the third one in early September.
“The Music Man”
Goodman Theatre and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has a double bill of a short performance by “The Music Man” cast members followed by a screening of the movie featuring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.
When: July 23, 6:30 p.m. remarks, 6:34 p.m. performance and 6:45 p.m. film.
Where: The Jay Pritzker Pavilion and The Great Lawn at Millennium Park at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.
Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert (Coming shows peek)
Co-sponsored by DCASE and ABC 7, several shows from Broadway In Chicago’s 2019-2020 season will be live in concert including “The Phantom of the Opera, The Band’s visit, Summer: the Donna summer Musical, “Once on this Island, “My Fair Lady”, “Mean Girls,” Hamilton” Fronzen, “Dear Evan Hansen and “Come from Away.”
When: Aug. 12 at 6:15 p.m
Where: Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park at 201 E. randolphg st.
Some of Callas’ greatest performances have been digitally re-mastered using state-of-the-art 3D hologram technology by Base Hologram Productions. They will be backed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra conducted by Elmear Noone.
When: Sept 7, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive.
Co-presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago and Live Nation.