The conclusion of Grant Park Music Festival marks the unofficial end of the summer music season. Their last performances take place on Friday and Saturday featuring the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus conducted by maestro Carlos Kalmar in Berlioz's "légende dramatique" The Damnation of Faust. The four soloists are mezzo soprano Allyson McHardy, Mezzo-soprano, baritone Stephen Hegedus, bass Kristinn Sigmundsson, and rising star tenor Jonathan Johnson. Mr. Johnson, who has been incubating in Lyric's Ryan Opera Center, seems poised to take the mantle of one of America's greatest tenors. He has a Maserati of an instrument coupled with a dashing stage presence. And he has one of those instantly recognizable, glamorous timbres with thrilling high notes. Berlioz's Faust seems to be a perfect assignment for this young tenor's undeniable gifts. Grab a free seat, or a space on the lawn. If you want to guarantee your spot in the Seating Bowl, you can always spend a little money and get a reserved seat which also supports this free festival, truly one of the best things this city has to offer.
At Ravinia Festival, vocal events are also winding down. Their BGH Classics Series offers Grammy-award winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth in the acoustically ideal Bennett Gordon Hall. You would find the editor of Vocal Arts Chicago at this concert were it not for Eugenia Cheng's Liederstube happening simultaneously at Chicago's Fine Arts Building on Sunday. Readers of VAC already know that Liederstube always enjoys the top recommendation no matter what it is up against. (Disclaimer: The Editor of VAC is a co-director of Liederstube).
Early music fans have an opportunity to hear a new ensemble which will perform French and English cantatas and lute songs at the Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Hyde Park. The ensemble is called Trio Accord and features a beautiful young mezzo-soprano Ashley Mulcahy. The editor of VAC can give testimony to Ms. Mulcahy's talents since hearing her where anyone can sing - at Liederstube.