Norma and the birthday boys Mozart and Schubert

This is one of those Chicago weekends that is a pure feast for lovers of singing.

Friday, which happens to be Mozart's birthday,  is your last chance to hear Lyric Opera of Chicago's superior cast of The Magic Flute.  Matthew Polenzani's Tamino, Christiane Karg's Pamina, and Adam Plachetka's Papageno all contribute to the success of this production, but it is coloratura soprano Kathryn Lewek who runs away with the show.  She will go down as one of the great Queen of the Nights. Chicago audiences were lucky to also hear her magnificent soli in the 'Great" C Minor Mass earlier this week with Music of the Baroque.  Watch Lewek sing the Queen's entrance aria in a 2014 Aix-en-Provence HERE

Lyric Opera continues a blockbuster season with Sondra Radvanovsky's acclaimed Norma, opening on Saturday.  The Editor of Vocal Arts Chicago and other "young-ish" opera fans who like to collect stories of great performances will finally have a Norma of their own to remember. Radvanovsky's brilliance in this near-impossible role is an undisputed fact, not an alternative one.  

Pianoforte Foundation presents its 13th Annual Schubertiade, just two days shy of the maestro's birthday. This free event features wall-to-wall lieder, piano, and chamber music. Chicago's sought-after pianists like Dana Brown, Eugenia Cheng, Brian Locke, and Shannon McGinnis are collaborating with too-many-singers-to-name in over a dozen 20-30 minute programs. The ticket price coupled with the charming pop-up cafe of sweets and coffee make attending the Schubertiade a no-brainer.  See the full schedule HERE.

Finally, for those who have already seen Magic Flute seeking a pleasant concert for Friday evening, VAC recommends CHAI Collaborative Ensemble's 7pm program at the Fine Arts Building which features tenor Ryan Townsend Strand (Constellation Men's Ensemble) in songs of Britten, Finzi, Gurney, and Stanford. CHAI's inventive programming exposes fans of chamber music and contemporary classical composers to the glories of vocal music.  Or maybe they are trying to get us to listen to something else besides singers?