The major cultural institutions of Chicago are coming in hot.
Lyric Opera of Chicago launches their season with the two-and-half hour intermissionless Das Rheingold starring Eric Owens as Wotan, Samuel Youn as Alberich, and Tobias Kehrer as Fafner. German bass Kehrer was both impressive and lovable in his introduction to Chicago audiences a few weeks ago singing Osmin’s triupmh aria complete with tuxedo-clad cartwheel at the Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert. Lyric Opera does not require any of VAC’s modest marketing support in what is one of the most expensive, expansive, and decadent seasons they have ever attempted to produce.
This week you will also find none other than the Queen D™ making her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Muti. CSO has programmed the inimitable diva in repertoire in which we are not accustomed to hearing her. Now that she has claimed the domain of baroque and bel canto as her own, it is queer to hear her in an orchestral song cycle by a basically unknown composer Giuseppe Martucci - a contemporary of Puccini and Mascagani whose catalogue is occupied mostly by works for piano. A Riccardo Muti pet project? A composer whom DiDonato is secretly passionate about? Who knows? It is not unusual to see marquee singers festooning the Symphony season performing works that take both advantage of the orchestra’s resources and dip into the operaphile audience share. DiDonato is one of those personalities that will indeed create first-time ticket buyers. It is now up to CSO to not squander the new names added to their database by highlighting other top drawer vocalists like Christiane Karg in their Brahms’ Requiem in November and Amanda Forsythe who joins the orchestra in their all-Handel program in December.
In December the Harris Theater for Music and Dance will indeed present Joyce DiDonato in one of her signature events - a feast of baroque arias with a stylish period band and custom made diva gowns. In War & Peace - Harmony Through Music is the program Queen D is touring with Il Pomo d’Oro and will be released as a recording in November. Readers of VAC are entitled to a 40% Off flash sale on her December performance in Chicago by entering the promotional code “opera40” at the Harris Theater website. And discounted tickets are still available for the Peking Opera version of Hamlet also at the Harris on Wednesday and Thursday with the promo code “ZiDan20” especially for Vocal Arts Chicago.