By now you must have heard that Lyric Opera of Chicago has earned the bragging rights for producing a triumphantly successful and epic Les Troyens. Christine Goerke's deluxe and savage Cassandra was the draw for many, but both Susan Graham's dignified Didon and Okka von der Damerau's opulent Anna are what left a lasting impression. It is hard to imagine anyone else addressing the Carthaginians (comprised of Lyric's world-class chorus) on that gigantic set.
Saturday is the last chance to experience this show in Chicago. We are unlikely to have it again in the near future.
Also this weekend, baroque diva Amanda Forsythe will be joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in their all-Handel program led by Nichlolas Kraemer. Forsythe is American early music royalty and her 2015 album "The Power of Love" with Apollo's Fire is the only evidence one needs to verify that claim. The editor of VAC has been fortunate to have heard her as a Steans Music Institute vocal fellow and in numerous appearances in the Boston Early Music Festival. Royal Fireworks marks her debut with the CSO and hopefully signals future performances in Chicago.
This is the season of Handel. If you are lucky, you already have a ticket to Northwestern University's Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Callipygian Players' complete performance of Handel's Messiah. Friday's performance is already sold out, but they reprise the concert Sunday afternoon. Callipygian Players were also the partners in last month's Messiah with Bella Voce - a very stylish affair. On the other side of own, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel also presents a historically-informed, however cut, version of the Messiah Sunday afternoon featuring Roomful of Teeth's Dashon Burton. James Kallembach, another favorite of VAC both as a conductor and composer, leads the various forces – the Haymarket Opera Orchestra, Rockefeller Chapel Choir, Motet Choir, Chicago Men's a Cappella, and soloists.
Finally, there is a special Pilsen edition of Liederstube taking place at Nitecap Coffee Bar. You will not hear Handel or Berlioz at Nitecap, but you can sing as much Schubert as you like, or just sit back and listen in a diva-free atmosphere.