WHAT A QUEEN! Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikosky’s ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker are both beloved and celebrated, yet his operas are scarcely known. Indeed, we don’t get much Russian opera at all, at least in Chicago. Lyric produced Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in 2017, while Chicago Opera Theatre produced his Iolanta in 2018 and Rachmaninoff’s Aleko […]

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I’LL BE THERE WITH BELL ON Many know that Academy of St Martin in the Fields is a touring and recording chamber orchestra founded by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958. But did you know that since 2011 the world-renowned virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell has been their Music Director? Next to Marriner, who turns 90 next […]

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 OUT OF SPACE IS OUTTA SIGHT! OK, now you’re talking!! As modern music continues to drone down some boring atonal alley, and soundtracks lack any kind of personality, along comes the soundtrack for Color Out of Space, an adaptation of a 1927 H.P Lovecraft short story by infamous director Richard Stanley, who was sacked from […]

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GRIPPING AGRIPPINA For a political comedy littered with slapstick, it’s fittingly ironic that this newest Met Opera take on Agrippina opens and bookends with morbidity: All the main players are perched on tombs bearing their names. This adaptation of Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie’s production occurs during the tricentennial of George Frideric Handel’s music and […]

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STAND-UP MEETS SELF-HELP It’s a singular solo show: Creator of The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron, satirist Robert Dubac now delivers Book of Moron, an 85-minute riff on reality and all its threats. Delivering rapid-fire, hit-and-run observations about contemporary consciousness, this driven lecturer imagines himself coming out of the coma of everyday existence to embark on […]

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DEVERSTATING It was the middle-child opera of the season; not like the world-premiere Eurydice or the must-see Ring Cycle. Roberto Devereux is a lesser-known Donizetti confection, and erstwhile Artistic Director Plácido Domingo was set to hot-ticket this tale of Queen Elizabeth and her lover Essex that likely hasn’t been an opera question on Jeopardy! Except […]

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ESA-PEKKA SALONEN AND JULIA BULLOCK The opening notes of Steven Stucky’s transcription of Henry Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, memorably mournful, set the elegiac tone for last weekend’s San Francisco Symphony concert at Davies Hall. In ten short minutes, a quietly solemn mood was eloquently created, under the sympathetic conducting of Essa-Pekka […]

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SHE LOVES ME…AND WITH GOOD REASON! Ah, love. As hard to find as ever, but so satisfying when it is. But what did the ancients (20th-century people) do to find love before Tinder, eHarmony, and the like? Joe Masteroff’s book takes us to the simpler days of Lonely Hearts Clubs, when people exchanged letters (on […]

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PUPS ‘N’ STUFF MAKES A DOGGONE DRAMA “Love me, love my dog. [Then I’ll love you…}” That’s the operating assumption between Dex & Abby, a cross-species comedy/love play. At 130 minutes of industrial-strength sentimentality, this Chicago premiere from Pride Films and Plays will test your tolerance for anthropomorphized antics. It’s the feel-good story of comfort […]

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HERE’S SOMETHING THAT WILL INTEREST YOU This is the second show this year in L.A. to take head-on the insanity of modern journalism (the insanity being that while newspapers deliver so-called news, they gotta make a buck, so sensationalism often wins out [ask Hearst], but now we have the interenet to contend with, where any […]

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