****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** The string of consecutive premieres continues at Lyric Opera of Chicago during the month of November. Fresh on the heels of their epic five-act version of Verdi's "Don Carlos" sung in French (currently running in rotating rep through November 25) comes the delectably delightful "Le Comte Ory." Composed by Rossini in 1828, "Le Comte Ory" is the Italian master's penultimate opera and, surprisingly, has never been performed by Lyric Opera until now. This sparkling new production is the perfect way to usher in the joyous holiday season. 4 SPOTLIGHTS
***RECOMMENDED*** You may have heard of the old jazz standard "What a Difference a Day Makes." Well, it can also be said that more than a mere 24 hours can alter how we perceive something or how we may process it. A particular language can make a major difference as well, as evidenced with Lyric Opera of Chicago's latest "Don Carlos." This is the very first time that Lyric is presenting Verdi's epic work in the 1886 five-act version in French and the one that the composer himself believed to be the most complete. The four-act version sung in Italian is most frequently encountered and has been performed multiple times at Lyric in the past. 3 SPOTLIGHTS
I can’t think of enough adjectives/adverbs to describe Catch the Light, the exhilarating 60th anniversary performance by Giordano Dance Chicago. I think exuberant, stylish, graceful, athletic, exciting, stunning, incredible and energetic are good choices too. Really, I was in awe of the speed and athleticism on display. The Giordano dancers are so strong, so talented, so creative, they absolutely blew me away! I gave them 4 BIG Spotlights.
***RECOMMENDED*** The American artist Georgia O'Keeffe, who is the primary subject of "The Brightness of Light," was a very complex individual. This recent work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts (2012's "Silent Night") offers a rare glimpse into her most intimate and private thoughts, all presented in her own words. Interpreting all of O'Keeffe's text is the beloved American soprano Renee Fleming, who is currently in her twelfth year as Lyric Opera's creative consultant. Chicago audiences clearly adore Fleming and they turned out in droves to get the rare opportunity to hear her perform live in this glorious one-night only event. 3 SPOTLIGHTS
**** Highly Recommended **** "Beyond Borders", a mixed-repertory program from the Joffrey Ballet, is an extraordinary demonstration of all that makes the Joffrey such a leader in contemporary ballet. The evening’s repertoire featured an exhilarating new contemporary masterpiece by Chanel DaSilva as well as the return of favorites by Liam Scarlett and Joffrey co-founder, Gerald Arpino. The Joffrey’s incredibly talented dancers execute the most complicated choreography with flawless technique and timing – and they make it look easy! 4 BIG Spotlights
***RECOMMENDED*** It is always a joyous experience to attend a musical at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Their stage is so large and their technical capabilities nearly endless that curious theatre-goers often wonder how a design team will approach their particular staging of any given show presented there. Plus, hearing the score of one of your favorite shows performed by a full orchestra is priceless. When the show happens to be one that has not been in the line-up of the regional subscription-based companies for over two decades, like "Fiddler on the Roof," it is an added incentive to seek out this wonderful production.
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2022/2023 season is off to a blazing start, thanks in large part to a cast that includes a quartet of world-class performers each delivering a knock-out performance. Music Director Enrique Mazzola, a driving force behind Lyric's Early Verdi Series, also conducts this stellar production of Verdi's 1844 work "Ernani." 4 SPOTLIGHTS
**** Highly Recommended **** If you were thinking about getting a ticket to see the Joffrey Ballet this season, the absolutely fabulous "Don Quixote" is your last chance this season – and if I were you, I’d be ordering my tickets now! Yuri Possokhov, who choreographed "Don Quixote" to music written by Ludwig Minkus more than 150 years ago, combines classical ballet with Spanish flamenco to create a masterpiece. Travis Halsey’s colorful costumes complement the choreography, adding Spanish color and flair. "Don Quixote" is spectacular, the best I’ve seen in a long, long time. 4 Big Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** As I’ve come to expect, the Joffrey Ballet’s Spring Program, Serenade and Of Mice and Men was an extraordinarily perfect blend of classic and contemporary ballet. In fact, it’s not just an illustration of the company’s versatility, it’s a demonstration of all that makes the Joffrey such a leader in contemporary ballet. The Joffrey’s incredibly talented dancers execute the most complicated choreography with flawless technique. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** Nobody is better at contemporary jazz than Giordano Dance Chicago. Their spring program, Illuminate, was a masterpiece of movement. The world premiere of Autumn Eckman’s Retroverse was worth the two-year wait, while the other premiere, 3, choreographed by Joshua Blake Carter, was a joy to watch. The Giordano dancers are so strong, so talented, so creative, they absolutely blew me away! 4 Spotlights