Stronger Together

This weekend as Chicago celebrates its hometown team’s historic victory, baroque music and ensemble singing is flourishing in every corner.

Tonight in Evanston and tomorrow  afternoon in LaGrange,  Cleveland-based Burning River Baroque presents its program Twisted Fate: Famed and Forgotten Female Composers.  Burning River Baroque regularly features cellist and soprano Malina Rauschenfels – a dynamic, risk-taking musician who is known for chewing the scenery – even in concert presentations where there is no scenery.  Rauschenfels is joined by local favorite, Dutch soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg in a program of female composers with continuo accompaniment.   The program in Evanston is free.

Also On Saturday, four ensembles join forces for ChicagoSings Showcase.  La Caccina, Constellation Men’s Ensemble  (both of which have been recommended by VAC), The Marion Consort, and Wicker Park Choral Singers present a program subtitled Songs of Peace, Unity, and Community. For $10, this is a concert not to be missed and can serve to introduce you to one of these fresh and innovative groups without a steep financial commitment.  The established choral ensembles could learn a lot from this strategy of synergy.

On Sunday, Chicago welcomes the newest early music ensemble on the scene – Third Coast Baroque. Their inaugural program !Sarabanda! explores music of Monteverdi and Mexican composer Gaspar Fernandez.  The roster of singers for this concert series, which is also presented Monday and Tuesday,  is loaded with quite simply the best early music specialists in the city including Nathalie Colas and Kaitlin Foley, sopranos; Angela Young Smucker mezzo-soprano,  Nolan Carter and Matthew Dean, tenors, and Paul Max Tipton bass-baritone.  Plus Third Coast is joined by  a rock-star band which includes Chicago’s most sought-after baroque violinist Martin Davids, Haymarket Opera’s Artistic Director and cellist Craig Trompeter, the ubiquitous and stylish harpsichordist Jason J. Moy, all led by the star Argentine conductor Rubén Dubrovsky.  The editor of Vocal Arts Chicago has confidence that Third Coast Baroque will become one of the major players in the American early music movement and with this base level of skill and passion amongst its ranks, can break through the international scene.  Mark my words.

In opera, Third Eye Theatre Ensemble completes its run of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters.  The editor of VAC highly recommends this disturbing but beautifully sung production at the Prop Thtr in Avondale.  Chicago Opera Theater continues its season with their residence debut at the newly refurbished Studebaker  in the Fine Arts Building.  A new production ofPurcell’s Fairy Queen featuring the orchestra of Haymarket Opera Company.  And Lyric Opera concludes its run of Lucia di Lammermoor which boasts marquee tenor Piotr Beczala as it ramps up to start Les Troyens next week.