There are simply too many events happening this week - something for everyone and most of it highly recommendable by the editor of Vocal Arts Chicago who himself will have to decide what he loves more: opera, song, choral, or early music. If you are mostly an opera goer, the two events which should be on your MUST SEE list are the vocal master class given given by American legend Marilyn Horne at Northwestern's Bienen School of Music and the flagship production of Purcell's Dido & Aeneas by Mark Morris Dance Group at the Harris Theater.
Ms. Horne's Chicago-area appearances are becoming increasingly rare - but she still has a lot to contribute to this art and knows how to entertain an audience even when she is not singing. The breadth of her career has been a life-long inspiration to the editor of Vocal Arts Chicago - and the very reason why opera, song, and early music are each so important to me. These are arenas where Marilyn Horne is a pioneer and a champion.
The Mark Morris Dance Group's version of Dido & Aeneas may be the most stylish, beautiful, sexy, and heart-breaking opera you will ever attend. There will be no singing on the stage. All of the musicians will be in the orchestra pit so you can focus on Mark Morris's modern, daring, and now classic choreography for this score. The work Mr. Morris creates is EVERYTHING we who love theater and music crave. I cannot recommend it more highly. The singing cast features a local favorite Sherezade Panthaki - a soprano with a voice that is perfect for 17th and 18th century music; and one of the most attractive basses singing today with a tone quality and artistry that back up all of his movie-star good looks.
Other recommendations for the week include another vocal master class - Nicole Cabell at DePaul University School of Music, a free presentation of Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea by Chicago College for the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, a Liederstube "open-mic art song" event at the Fine Arts Building, London's the Royal Choir of Holloway tour stop at St. James Cathedral, and for fans of rare Early Music - the Newberry Consort's sequel to their highly successful all-female band Celestial Sirens in the Juan de Lienas Vespers from the Mexican baroque.