Category Archives: History

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY IN CHICAGO: THE GREAT WIN AN OPERA HOUSE LOTTERY!

“As 21 January 1867 dawned, exciting and auspicious events were occurring all across the operatic world. In faraway Paris, Giuseppe Verdi was put­ting the finishing touches on his new opera, Don Carlos, in preparation for its eagerly awaited l’Opera premiere for the Paris Exposition. Jules Massenet was ardently overseeing the final rehearsals for his own […]

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE’S AS YOU LIKE IT: NON-STOP JOY

In the early 1970s countless undergraduate and graduate stage directing students had the “happy idea” of setting Shakespeare’s As You Like It in a then new and en vogue  Back-to-Nature commune,  populated mostly by trust fund baby revolutionaries fleeing Richard Nixon’s America. Arden was a Vermont ashram, the center of the American counterculture, home to […]

MODEST MUSSORGSKY HAS HIS DAY: BORIS GODUNOV DONE HIS WAY

Exactly one hundred and fifty years since Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov was rejected for performance by Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre his version of his opera is staged and transmitted live to hundreds of thousands of spectators around the world. Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) came from a more or less peasant family in Russia. That fact, plus his […]

Take Some ELIXIR OF LOVE For The Covid Blues

An aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic is that many people can’t seem to shake a feeling of anxiety,  worry, even fear. Theater and music, at their best, have risen to such occasions, to proclaim the opposite message: Life is a joyous gift from God. Don’t be afraid. What good is sitting alone in your room…. […]

MUTI AND THE CSO RETURN

Classical music organizations have always looked for ways to expand their repertoire beyond the tried-and-true canon. New symphonies and operas have been commissioned almost from the beginning of the group’s founding. The problem is that the new works have a short life span; few, if any, ever have a life beyond their premiere. Artistic directors […]