Welcome to Vocal Arts Chicago. If you are a friend of mine, you have already heard my vision to create a calendar/resource for the musicians and presenters of classical vocal music in Chicago and for our audiences. If you have no idea who this Oliver guy is and you just happened upon the site, thanks for stopping to read this.
This is a huge weekend for baroque music, especially German composers. A few years ago, you would be hard pressed to find any Schütz around town performed with historically-informed style. But on Saturday (Lincoln Park) and Sunday (Evanston) you can hear Bella Voce's one-on-a-part off-shoot Bella Voce Camerata coupled with one of the city's rising "h.i.p." ensembles Rook in a concert of Schütz, Schein, and Scheidt. Across town (Logan Square and River Forest) you can hear the mid-sized ensemble, Chicago Choral Artists, perform double-chorus works by German composers like Eccard, Schütz, Pachelbel, and some guy named Bach. The centerpiece for the CCA concert is Domenico Scarlatti's monumental Stabat Mater for 10 voices and continuo. Haymarket Opera Company is also in the mix this weekend with the first of its oratorio series, an obscure one about John the Baptist composed in 1675 by Alessandro Stradella. Haymarket has cornered the market for presenting stylish baroque opera in a historical context. Can they do the same for oratorio? I suspect they will, since the quality of their music-making has always been a paramount. Haymarket performances are unusually early (5:45pm tonight, 5:00pm tomorrow) so you might be able to catch Bella Voce and CCA if you drive fast. And if that isn't enough early music for you, there is Handel Week Festival in Oak Park which is putting on a Giulio Cesare. Male soprano Justin Kim sings the role of Sesto, originally composed for one of Handel's favorite singers, Margherita Durastanti. It is a coup for Handel Week Festival to have engaged Kim, a Northwestern alum, whose career is taking him all over the world.