Vocal arts presenters and performers, mark your calendars the third week of Lent in 2018.  This would seem to be one of the best time spans to schedule a performance based on the paucity of events this week.  

Lyric Opera continues its run of Carmen which now boasts Anita Rachvelishvili and Brandon Jovanovich as the metaphorical bull and bullfighter (one can argue about who is the bull in this comparison).  Rachvelishvili’s Carmen is one of the most beautifully and cleanly sung – the mercurial tone quality of a singer like Tatiana Troyanos crossed with the musically tasteful approach of a singer like Teresa Berganza.  Reviews of the first cast for this production were not categorically positive.  The editor suspects that Rachvelishvili and Jovanovich will steer these final performances into the WIN column alongside the highly recommended Eugene Onegin which concludes on Monday.

Lenten season choral events ramp up closer to Holy Week.  In the meantime, one can enjoy the ravishing and stylish Erica Schuller in the meditative Trois Leçons de Tenèbres of the obscure French baroque composer Michel Richard Delalande.  Schuller is regularly featured with Haymarket Opera Company and she will be accompanied by their Artistic Director Craig Trompeter, Chicago’s premiere gambist; with VAC favorite Brandon Jack Acker, theorbo; and Richard Hoskins, organ.  This is a compline service with choir at St. Chrysostom's Church – but one with musical integrity so high, it might as well be a concert.

Two more quick recommendations: The trio Artemisia, whose Suit and Tie program ranked as one of the Editor’s best performances of 2015, previews their new show Women Who Rule with Scottish fiddle duo Tim Macdonald and Jeremy Ward at Uncommon Ground Lakeview. Not your typical stand-and-sing ensemble, Artemisia draws from a vast repertoire of vocal styes - from Appalachian folk, Tushetian highlander cries, Cuban dance music, and everything in-between. Finally, on St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy a free concert at the Harold Washington Library. Soprano Joan Marie Dauber is joined by baritone Bryant Young, pianist Alexandre Tsomaia, and trumpeter Mary Beugelsdijk in a program that features Aaron Copland’s Emily Dickinson songs and other selections by George Walker and Chicago composer Ernst bacon.