Thursday, December 13, 2018


Last night David and I saw an amazing production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. It was fabulous!

The play was imaginatively directed by by Joe Dowling. Incredible set by Todd Rosenthal and costumes by Fabio Toblini. Incidental music by Keith Thomas. What a great group!


The principal actors were Edward O'Blenis as Theseus/Oberon, Alexandra Silber as Hippolyta/Titania, Sam Kebede as Philostrate/Puck, Tyrone Phillips as Lysander, Melissa Solodad-Pereyra as Hermia, Eric Schabla as Demetrius, and Christina Panfilio as Helena. There were all excellent!

Image result for alexandra silber photos

       Image result for midsummer night's dream in nyc in 1950s at the old met opera house

I first saw the play in about 1950 at the Old Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway and 39th Street. It was presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Sadlers-Wells Ballet (later the Royal Ballet). It starred Moira Shearer as Titania and Robert Helpman as Oberon. It was magical! I later saw it as a ballet at the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center. At the end of this production Puck was whisked up into the flies on the last note of music. Thrilling!

Last night's performance was a dream. Beautifully acted and sung, when necessary. One of the best I have seen at Chicago Shakespeare.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Verdi at its best

Last night was a time for lusty singing at Chicago Lyric! A  wonderful cast presented Verdi's Il Trovatore

It's a pot-boiler of a story but when sung like this raises the hair on the back of your head. 

Roberto Tagliavini was the first voice to be heard as Ferrando and set the standard for the rest of the evening with a large, handsome voice.

Tamara Wilson as Leonora was magnificent. High, low, loud, soft, she could do it all with ease and beauty. Her soft, high pianisimos  were breath-taking.

Photo: Claire McAdams

Arthur Rucinski as Count di Luna was equally fine. A beautiful baritone voice who sang the role with ease.


Russell Thomas was Manrico; an excellent tenor who soared to the heights.

And Jamie Barton who sang the role of Asucena. A huge voice with an amazing lower register.

As usual the anvil chorus stole the scene but the entire work was presented with vigor and musical clarity.

I loved it! 

I was not able to get photos of some of the artists. Sorry!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Double Header!

Monday night David and I were thrilled to be totally engulfed in the music of J.S. Bach as presented by the amazing Jane Glover and Music of the Baroque.

The occasion was Bach's Christmas Oratorio, six cantatas that were written for the days after Christmas and first presented in the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig. John and I were in that church in 1975 for a  concert given by Wilhelm Hoffman, one of Bach's successors in the position. 

It is a remarkable work and was presented with Ms. Glover's usual artistry and vigor. She is a miracle. So  completely musical that she involves everyone about her, the chorus, the orchestra, the audience in a complete understanding of the work.

The soloists were Yulia Van Doren, soprano, Elisabeth DeShong, mezzo-soprano, Thomas Cooley, tenor, and Tyler Duncan, baritone.

I have heard Ms Van Doren previously and commented on her singing.

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Ms. De Shong has a rich mezzo voice with a wide range and sang with great beauty and energy.

Mr. Cooley has a tenor voice that still has a good low range as well as an easy top.

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Mr. Duncan has a very expressive, fine baritone and sang extremely well.

But I must give all accolades to Ms. Glover. She is the best choral conductor I have ever heard; and I have heard and sung under the greats!



From the sublime to the ridiculous!

Tuesday night we saw The Book of Mormon which we saw several years ago and enjoyed. They should sub-title this 'Part Two' since it is a completely different show.

It is loud, crass, and boring! I hated it!!