Category Archives: Uncategorized

THE MET’S DER ROSENKAVALIER: OUR MARSCHALLIN SAYS GOODBYE

Since she first played the role with the Houston Grand Opera in 1995, and despite excellent performances by other sopranos, no American soprano has been as closely identified with Richard Strauss’ Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier than Renee Fleming. For twenty-two years, from the Paris Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the San Francisco Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, […]

ShawChicago’s HEARTBREAK HOUSE: Shaw’s Black Comedy

The Great War and its prelude flabbergasted Bernard Shaw more than any other event in his life. In addition, the end of his relationship with Stella Campbell left him as close to heartbroken emotionally as he ever would be. The sobbing, humiliated, protesting, exposed, and unprepossessing character of Heartbreak House’s Boss Mangan reflects Shaw’s emotional […]

Lyric Opera’s CARMEN: Ashford and Calleja Make History

“Bullfighting is the only art form that both represents something and is that thing at the same time: the matador’s elegant immobility in the face of the bull not only represents man’s defiance of death, it is a man defying death, and there are women who do it too.”[i] In Rob Ashcroft’s magnificent new telling of Bizet’s Carmen, the […]

Raven Theatre’s ASSEMBLED PARTIES: A Doubter’s Christmas Carol

Christmas has been the occasion for two classic plays, Hamlet and Ibsen’s Doll’s House. Ironically, as the Christian Feast of the Nativity has become secularized, the occasion has been used by more and more contemporary playwrights to give dramatic resonance to their work. The late Harry Kondoleon’s Christmas on Mars, Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale, and […]

Lyric Opera: Chicago’s Third Great NORMA

As late as 1920, American musicologists considered Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma “an improbably old-fashioned, almost hurdy-gurdy work.” But thanks to Chicago sopranos, that opera has become a standard of the American operatic canon. Written when Bellini (1801-1835) was just thirty years old, Norma had played in Chicago since the mid-nineteenth century by various visiting opera companies. […]

The Irish Theatre of Chicago’s THE WEIR: “A strange [but wonderful] little evening”

When I lived on a five-acre farm in Maine, I found myself strangely fascinated with the behavior of male birds. It seemed that whenever a female swallow appeared the male swallows engaged in all sorts of madcap aerial displays, loop-d-loops, dives, deal falls, etc. On the other hand, when a female cowbird appeared, the male […]

Remy Bumppo’s PYGMALION: Run, Don’t Walk. Now.

If you think you might ever want to see Bernard Shaw’s famous comedy, Pygmalion, now is the time. Don’t wait. Head to the Remy Bumppo Theatre. You won’t find a better collection of actors finding every jot and tittle of comedy and drama in this sometimes-baffling play. Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is a peculiar example of […]

2016 EQUITY JEFF NOMINATIONS

The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding Chicago theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. I was happy to have appreciated many of this year’s  Equity nominations: “The Tempest” -Chicago Shakespeare Theater PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE DIRECTOR – PLAY Aaron Posner and Teller ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY Nate Dendy […]

Chicago Opera and CITIZEN KANE

“Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, an opera singer.” “Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, Mary Garden, an opera singer.” These two similar tales are told daily by Chicago River tour guides. And these two tales are totally false. The only truth in the tales is that […]

LYRIC OPERA’S THE KING AND I: AN OPULENT BEAUTY AND THE NICE GUY

At the heart of all of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s great musicals – Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I – is the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Each Beauty – Laurey, Julie, Nellie, Maria, Anna – transforms the macho wild Beast in their life – helps their man […]