Clef N tes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts SPRING 2012
Travel & Culture Issue
A close look at Clef Notes' 2012 Cultural Destination of Choice: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA and the cultural gold found within its borders.
PREVIEW OF THE FIELD MUSEUM'S NEW EXHIBIT GENGHIS KHAN
Viennese Treasure The breathtaking sound of the Vienna Symphony harkens travelers to Austria every year for a dose of incredible music and unforgettable culture.
Modern London In the 12 years since its inception, London's Tate Modern has risen to the forefront of modern art throughout the world, making London a prime destination for serious art travel.
CLOSING SOON LIMITED ENGAGEMENT
Now showing at the Milwaukee Public Museum
Photo byHenry Salazar
32 12 Ten 2012 Global Cultural Hotspots A rundown of 10 of the most highly anticipated cultural events around the globe in 2012.
14 Viennese Treasure The breathtaking sound of the Vienna Symphony harkens travelers to Austria every year for a dose of incredible music and unforgettable culture.
32 Cover Story: City of Angels With wildly diverse, first-rate arts and culture amid its borders, we select Los Angeles, California as our 2012 Cultural Destination of Choice. Myron Silberstein takes a look at the artistic gold that makes the City of Angels an arts traveler's dream.
36 Coastal Bliss A coastal paradise, Palos Verdes' Terranea Resort and Spa makes the perfect home-base for the L. A. tourist looking for luxury, pampering, and just a hint of heaven. On the Cover: Downtown Los Angeles skyline (photo by Robert Landau); Above: Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles (photo by Henry Salazar).
From the Publisher’s Desk
Photo by Roibert Landau
It’s interesting how the Digital Age has made the world so much smaller a place than it ever used to be. With the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger, you can watch up-to-the-minute coverage of a breaking story half-way around the globe. You can view satellite images of a rural road in New Zealand or simply take in the setting sun off the African Coast. But one thing you still cannot download or translate into tiny little bits of code is the experience of immersing oneself fully into the culture or artistic life of another place. Oh, you can watch high definition video or listen to recordings of any number of performances and view art from artists the world over. But to truly experience a city’s culture, to get the whole picture, you have to engage the city and the life that burgeons everyday within it. Every aspect of any given place has some influence on the art it produces. To watch a video or download a clip only gives you part of the story, and that out of context. Take, for instance, the wildly diverse theater produced here in a city as varied as Chicago. Without realizing the wide array of voices at work in a city like Chicago, you might very well miss the true context in which that diverse artistic bent lives and what it really speaks to. It’s the same anywhere you go. Local life both inspires and absorbs local arts and culture. And that's just one of the reasons we take great pleasure in publishing our annual Travel & Culture Issue. It’s no secret that Chicagoans love to travel, and when we do, arts and culture can't be left behind. In this issue, we’ve chosen the stunning City of Angels, Los Angeles, CA, as our 2012 Destination of Choice. With $7.5 billion injected into L.A. arts and entertainment over the past decade producing such landmarks as Disney Hall, the Chinese Garden, and the renovated Getty Villa, L.A. welcomes vacationers with open arms extending incredibly diverse and high caliber arts experiences that will leave their mark on the most seasoned traveler. We highlight Los Angeles’ abundant store of cultural institutions that make an arts-infused trip to L.A. a one-of-a-kind experience. But in scouring the globe for the best in culture 2012, we’ve also profiled some of the world’s other culturally rich destinations like incredible Vienna, the home of the Downtown Los Angeles Skyline. Viennese Sound, and the historic Vienna Symphony, or the modern art lover’s paradise found in London’s Tate Modern. But of course, you can’t talk world class arts and culture without talking Chicago. And should a "staycation" be in your future, you’re in the best city on the planet for one that’s culturally rich and artistically vibrant. We preview the Field Museum’s amazing new exhibit on Genghis Khan, and we take a look at the vital work that Brian Dickie, general director of the Chicago Opera Theater, has achieved in opera audience development—work that could easily serve as a model for opera companies the world over. Travel certainly has its own rewards, but there is nothing like soaking in a little world culture, and Clef Notes Spring 2012 gets the ball rolling with some exciting options for culturally rich travel this year. So sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride while we launch you on a journey of some of 2012’s most exciting arts-infused destinations. Bon Voyage,
D. Webb Publisher
Clef N tes
Chicagoland Journal for the Arts SPRING 2012
Publisher D. Webb
Patrick M. Curran II
Editorial Support Christopher Hopper Rachel Cullen
Staff Writers and Contributors David Berner Fred Cummings Emily Disher Chris Gontar Daniel Scurek Myron Silberstein David Weiss Jim Withington Alexandra Zajac
Art Direction Art Director
Carl Benjamin Smith
Contributing Photographer Jason M. Reese
Graphics & Design Specialists Chelsea Davis Angela Chang
Chicago & Western Suburbs Account Executive Jason Montgomery Tel. 773.741.5502 Jason.Montgomery@ClefNotesJournal.com North Shore Publisher’s Representatives The Lyon Group, LLC Tel. 847.853.7001 LyonGroup@ClefNotesJournal.com Subscriptions Clef Notes is published quarterly (March, June, September and December) each year. An annual subscription to the magazine may be purchased by mailing a check or money order for $18 to Clef Notes Publishing, Inc., 5815 N. Sheridan Road, Suite 1107, Chicago, IL 60660. Bulk rates are also available. Credit card purchases may be secured online at ClefNotesJournal.com or by calling 773.741.5502. Copyright © 2012 Clef Notes Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA.
Contents Spring 2012
20 Curator's Corner: Modern London In 12 short years, London's Tate Modern has become one of the world's top museums for modern art, showcasing London as key arts destination for unique international cultural experiences.
23 In This Quarter Year Goodman's Chicago premiere of Race, Lyric Opera's production of The Magic Flute, and The Seldoms' 10th Anniversary at The Harris Theater are just a few of the exciting Chicagoland performances we review “In This Quarter Year.”
46 Preview: Conquering Duality Fierce warrior or perennial statesman? The Field Museum's latest exhibit sheds intriguing new light on archetypal warrior Genghis Khan and the culture he dominated. Above: The Seldoms perform "This is Not a Dance Concert" in Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Photo courtesy of Carrie Hanson.
56 Arts & Education: Planting Seeds In his final year as general director, Chicago Opera Theater 's Brian Dickie will leave the innovative opera company as one of the leading forward-thinking regional operas in the world, presenting a national model for opera audience education and development. Spring 2012CNCJA•5
Letters from our readers...
Passion for Fashion I love that your recent cover story (Winter 2012) focused on The Chicago History Museum exhibit about Charles James. It really does showcase dresses and designs that are works of art and is actually a significant part of Chicago's own history. I was already aware of his work, but the exhibit makes it all the more clear how significant Charles James's contribution to the field really was. Alice Conner Chicago - Loop Designer Charles James during a fitting.
I am a big, big fan of WFMT Radio and enjoyed reading Myron Silberstein's article on the station and its program hosts (Winter 2012). I've particularly enjoyed listening to Carolyn Paulin and it was wonderful to see her bright smile in the magazine. She's as vibrant in print as her personality is on the air! Anthony Walsh Wilmette, IL
Photo Courtesy 98.7/WFMT
WFMT Program Host Carolyn Paulin
Cloud Gate Clamor
Photo by hsiang Chen
You published a very eloquent review of the October (2011) Cloud Gate Dance Theatre performance in your winter (2012) issue. Thank you for recognizing the many visiting dance companies in Chicago, a very wonderful component of the city's crowded dance scene. Cloud Gate Theatre of Taiwan perform "Water Stains on the Wall."
Readers may submit letters to Feedback, Clef Notes Publishing, Inc. 5815 N. Sheridan Road, Suite 1107, Chicago, IL 60660 or via E-mail to Feedback@ClefNotesJournal.com. In our Winter 2012 Issue's "Out of The Box" feature, we misspelled the name of Tribeca Flashpoint Academy's CEO Howard Tullman. Our sincerest apologies for the error.
No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher. Clef Notes Publishing makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the magazineâ€™s content. However, we cannot be held responsible for any consequence arising from errors or omissions.
Groups like Cloud Gate deserve your attention. as much as, if not more than, the bigger names constantly seen in the Chicago media. Carly Drake Chicago - Lincoln Park
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Out and About
he Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) held its 29th Black Creativity black-tie gala on Saturday, January 28, 2012. The gala—planned in collaboration with a committee of prominent Chicago African-American leaders— raised more than $475,000 to support the annual Black Creativity program, which pays tribute to the culture, heritage, and science contributions of African-Americans. NBC5’s Marion Brooks emceed the evening’s program and introduced the musical entertainment: Maurice Mahon and the New Face of Soul and Grammy-nominated artist Freddie Jackson. A committee of prominent Chicagoans, chaired this year by Gale Foster Farley, teamed with the Museum to plan this year’s gala. Shari Runner, senior vice president for strategy and community development at the Chicago Urban League, chaired this year’s Black Creativity executive committee and council; Anita Green, president of Anita Green Relocation Management, chaired the programs committee; and Gregory T. Hinton, chief diversity officer for the Democratic National Committee, chaired the fundraising committee.
From Left: Barbara and Earl Bowles, Rolsyn Chappman (photo by J.B. Spector).
Alicia Carroll, Anita Green, Sandra and James Foster (photo by John Wheeler).
Norman and Cheri Chappelle (photo by J.B. Spector).
Ava Youngblood and Norma J. Williams Tracey Cato and Gale Foster (photo by J. B. Spector) (photo by J. B. Spector)
Cynthia Chappelle, Celeste Wheeler and Shari Runner (photo by John Wheeler).
hodos Dance Chicago’s 20th anniversary was celebrated in swingin’ style at the contemporary dance company’s Roaring ‘20s Gala, Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Tony Award-winning choreographer and frequent Thodos collaborator Ann Reinking mixed and mingled with more than 250 of her Chicago fans and the company’s top supporters as Honorary Chair of TDC’s annual gala. The event raised $85,000 for the non-profit, a contemporary dance company with the three-tiered mission of inspiring expression through dance educaFrom left: Chris Olsen, Melissa Thodos, and Ann Reinking (Photos by Bob Mihlfried). tion, dance creation, and dance performance.
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Acclaimed Spanish director Calixto Bieito is never afraid to take chances. In fact, it's been his bold interpretations that have paved the way for much of the artistic insight he's unearthed in his many varied international productions. That lack of fear is what first attracted Goodman director Robert Falls's attention. Falls recalled that in Bieito's 2004 staging of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio in Berlin, “Calixto's investigation of the dark subtext that lay beneath the ‘classical’ exterior of the piece displayed a courage and sophistication that was, to me, profound and unsettling.” After their first face-to-face, Falls was confident that Bieito's “warmth, intelligence and infectious passion” would make the perfect platform for Tennessee Williams’ sensual carnival of desire and desperation, Camino Real. Falls quickly suggested Bieito direct a new production of the play for Goodman Theatre. The play will mark Bieito's first American production and in Falls' words, promises to be a “very special, entirely unique theater going experience.” Indeed, the combination of Williams' characteristic psychological realism, Goodman's award-winning ensemble cast, and Bieito's daring interpretations promises to deliver some unforgettable live theater. But don't be fooled into thinking Bieito practices shock for shock's sake. Indeed, for nearly two decades, the director has mounted radical revisionist productions of classic operas and dramatic texts at prominent venues across the globe. But as the London Guardian pointed out, “Bieito is infinitely more than a shock merchant: he has an awareness of the pain of love and the dissoluteness of untrammeled pleasure that makes him the modern theater’s equivalent of (Spanish filmmaker Luis) Buñuel.” Bieito's fearless approach is a tool for uncovering a deeper, more poignant perspective. For him, meaning, context, and purpose come first and foremost: “I approach the text of a play with an intense amount of preparation—I read about the context, the period and the writer, and for Camino Real that includes Tennessee Williams’ Memoirs. All this helps unlock the play for me, so I can discover what the writer was trying to say, what the play means for the audience—and what I can express of myself with it.” Chicagoans will get a taste of Bieito's fearless passion when Goodman Theatre unveils his new production of the Tennessee Williams classic March 3 through April 28, 2012.
Luminary 10•CNCJASpring 2012
Calixto Bieito, director of The Goodman Theatre production of Camino Real.
“prepare to be amazed” –Chicago Tribune
AT THE HARRIS
CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER French Virtuosity The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will conclude its first-ever Chicago-based performance series with a program of romantic French chamber works by Chausson and Saint-Saens. MAY 22, 2012 AT 7:30 P.M. TICKETS $25+
PARIS OPÉRA BALLET A National Cultural Event Don’t miss the Chicago debut performances of one of the world’s greatest companies, the Paris Opéra Ballet, as it launches its U.S. tour with a weeklong engagement accompanied by the Grant Park Orchestra in a first-ever collaboration with the Harris Theater.
Giselle JUNE, 26 2012: Gala Opening Night Performance JUNE 27, 2012 AT 7:30 P.M. JUNE 28, 2012 AT 7:30 P.M.
Mixed Repertoire JUNE 29, 2012 AT 7:30 P.M. JUNE 30, 2012 AT 2:00 P.M. & 7:30 P.M. JULY 1, 2012 AT 2:00 P.M. TICKETS $55+
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4. Scott's Last Expedition London, England
1. Montreal In'l Jazz Festival Montreal, Canada
Arguably the world’s largest and most diverse jazz festival, The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (Montreal International Jazz Festival) is held every year in one of the most beautiful cities on the continent and brings nearly 3,000 artists from more than 30 countries around the globe. The festival, which runs this year from June 28 - July 7, offers an incredible celebration of America’s true music innovation and the many genres it has proliferated, influenced, and derived. It satisfies a more diverse pallet of musical tastes than any other annual celebration. Among this year’s luminaries, you’ll find Grammy Award winner Esperanza Spalding, the amazing Dave Brubeck, the incomparable B.B. King, and legendary singer songwriter James Taylor.
5. Romeo and Juliet - Royal Ballet London, England 3. Death of a Salesman on Broadway New York, NY (USA)
2. TCM Classic Film Festival Hollywood, CA
Oscar winning actor and producer Philip Seymour Hoffman stars this spring under the bright lights of Broadway as the harried Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s masterpiece Death of a Salesman. Miller’s iconic work examines the pressures and delusions of one well-meaning traveling salesman to live the American Dream in a less than perfect, and often unforgiving world. Running through June 2, 2012, Salesman is staged at the historic Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City.
Clockwise from top: Grammy winning jazz musician Esperanza Spalding (photo courtesy of the artist); Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, R.N. on his 1911 Antarctic expedition (photo by Corbis); Royal Ballet's Lauren Cuthbertson and Rupert Pennefather in Romeo and Juliet (photo by Bill Cooper); TCM Host Robert Osborne (photo courtesy of TCM Television Network); Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (photo by Getty Images).
2. TCM Classic Film Festival Hollywood, CA The third installment of the TCM’s annual Classic Film Festival held in the heart of historic Hollywood is all about style. Hosted by the network’s beloved Robert Osborne, this year’s festival, which runs from April 12-15, will examine both the influence that movies have on popular styles and the impact that current trends have on film. Whether it's the look of a film's sets, costumes, title design, or movie poster, this theme promises to put the Hollywood aesthetic in a whole new light.
4. Scott's Last Expedition London, England In January, London’s Natural History Museum unveiled a fascinating new exhibit exploring the captivating story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's last expedition to Antarctica in 1910-1913. The groundbreaking exhibition features rare artifacts used by Scott's team and scientific specimens, appearing together for the first time, alongside a life-sized representation of Scott's hut that survives in Antarctica. Scott's Last Expedition celebrates the centenary of Scott reaching the South Pole and the explorer’s tragic death. The exhibit runs through September 2, 2012.
5. Romeo and Juliet - Royal Ballet London, England London again makes the list with the famed Royal Ballet this season in a production that marked famed choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s first full-length work for the historic company. The timeless story, best known from Shakespeare, matched to a wonderful score by Prokofiev provided the starting point for what has become a 20th-century ballet classic: an international calling card for the late choreographer and a signature work for one of the world’s premier classical ballet companies. The Royal Ballet will cast its spell with "Romeo and Juliet" in four performances from June 17-19, 2012.
6. Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum One of Germany’s most important ethnological museums, The RautenstrauchCologne, Germany Joest Museum in Cologne celebrates a century of collections with a new modern facility and its award-winning curatorial approach. With more than 60,000 objects and 100,000 historic photographs, the museum’s exhibitions are now presented with an innovative concept that abandons the traditional division into major geographical regions and presents its artifacts in a concept- and issue-based presentation. This comparative cultural system is meant to emphasize the equality and equal validity of all cultures, providing impulses for thought and stimulating dialogue. The approach has gained the attention 9. Leipzig Bach Festival of the Council of Europe, Leipzig, Germany garnering their prestigious 2012 Museum Prize.
8. Verdi's Rigoleto at La Scala Milan, Italy 7. Cannes Film Festival Cannes, France
10. Biennial of Sydney Sydney, Australia
Founded in 1946, “Le Festival de Cannes” or The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious and oldest film festivals on the globe and has the enviable position of making the beautiful city of Cannes, France its home. The annual juried celebration is a critical showcase for European film. And while Hollywood’s onscreen elite will always be in focus, the festival is a lightning rod for film producers touting a plethora of art films and worthy works before industry insiders from around the globe. This year's festival will take place May 16-27, 2012.
Clockwise from top: The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne (photo by Thomas Hensolt); J.S. Bach statue in front of the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, where he was music director (photo courtesy of the Leipzig Bach Festival); Installation view of My Hubble from The Binnial of Sydney 2012 (photo courtesy of the Binnial of Sidney)Actress Uma Thurman on the red carpet at Cannes' Film Festival 2011 (photo by Getty Images); L.A. Philharmonic condctor Gustavo Dudamel (photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic).
8. Verdi's Rigoleto at La Scala Milan, Italy
9. Leipzig Bach Festival Leipzig, Germany
10. Biennial of Sydney Sydney, Australia
This new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s heartbreaking opera classic will be conducted by electric L.A. Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel in one of the most coveted opera houses on the planet, La Scala in Milan, Italy. Performed in the nation of its origin, Verdi’s Rigolleto will run from November 6-17, 2012 and will mark one of the most memorable opera performances this year. It's one not to be missed!
Johann Sebastian Bach lived for nearly 27 years in Leipzig. It was there that he wrote some of his most famous masterworks. And every year, the city pays homage to its favored son with the internationally renowned Leipzig Bach Festival. The annual celebration, which runs for two weeks starting June 17, boasts world renowned artists performing some of the most sublime masterworks in authentic sites throughout Leipzig. While baroque is the mainstay of this celebration, the programming makes intelligent pairings of genres like romantic and classical masterworks that wonderfully compliment the repertoire.
Held every two years, the Biennale of Sydney, International Festival of Contemporary Art, stages a three-month exhibition, plus a program of special events, film screenings, and international guest lecturers across Sydney. The fourth oldest biennale in the world, the festival continues to be recognized for showcasing the freshest and most provocative contemporary art from Australia and around the world. This year's festival runs June 27th September 16, 2012.
Treasure With that incredible Viennese Sound, the historic Vienna Symphony makes one compelling reason to travel to Austria for a dose of unforgettable culture.
By MYRON SILBERSTEIN
Vienna has often been called the City of Dreams, and not merely because it was home to Sigmund Freud’s pioneering work in psychoanalysis. A journey to Vienna might fulfill the dreams of the most sophisticated travelers. From the 1,441-room Schönbrunn Palace (the marvelous exemplar of Baroque architecture and former summer residence of the Hapsburgs) to the austere basalt structure of the MUMOK, the modern art museum housing major works by the likes of Warhol and Picasso, Vienna offers some of the best of culture past, present, and future. As the ninth-largest city in Europe and headquarters of Clockwise from top: State Opera House © Vienna Board of Tourism; Vienna Woods (photo © Popp & Hackner - Vienna Board of Tourism); Vienna Symphony conductor Fabio Luisi (photo by Barbara Luisi); 14•CNCJASpring 2012
such major international organizations as OPEC and the IAEA, Vienna absolutely bustles with cosmopolitan activity, bolstered by the nearly five million tourists that visit the city each year. Travelers in need of nourishment can dine on Vienna's native specialty, the wiener schnitzel, and can please their sweet tooth with one of the city’s delectable apple strudels or a sachertorte—a rich chocolate cake with a filling of apricot jam. And outdoor enthusiasts can visit the Danube or walk through the Vienna Woods, both of which inspired immortal works of music by Johann Strauss II— just one of the many composers who have called Vienna home. Both historically and currently, Vienna has been considered by many to be the world capitol of classical music. The city gives its name both to the delightfully whirling Viennese Waltz and to the Second Viennese School, comprised of musical innovator Arnold Schönberg and his close pupils and
Right: Viennese Guglehupf or Marble Cake (photo Peter Rigaud); Inset: Viennese wine (photo by Lukas Beck).Below: Neptune Fountain beneath Gloriette at Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace. (photo by Lois Lammerhuber).
associates. Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony both received their world premieres in the Austrian capitol, as did several of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies. The Vienna State Opera has been home to conductors as es-
teemed as Gustav Mahler. And the aficionado of orchestral music need look no further than the Vienna Symphony Orchestra to find one of the world’s most vibrant and elegant exponents of the classical symphonic tradition. Originally known as the Vienna Concert Society, the VSO has been among the most illustrious symphonic ensembles since its founding in 1900. Equally committed to the performance of both established and undiscovered masterworks, the Vienna Symphony gave first performances to Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand and Schönberg’s Gurrelieder. It's also demonstrated its mastery of the cornerstones of traditional classical repertoire with historic performances like the celebrated 1945 presentation of Mahler’s Third Symphony.
Principal conductors of the VSO have included such luminaries as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Hans Swarowsky, and Carlo Maria Giulini—conductors renowned for demanding a maximum of precision and passion. With such masters at the helm and with vast instrumental resources at its disposal— the orchestra currently boasts a staggering 128 members—the VSO is the ideal vehicle both for the mammoth works of Mahler, Strauss, and Bruckner and for the more modest demands of Beethoven and Brahms. The VSO is passionate about its musiThe partnership between Luisi cal heritage and remains true to the traditional and the VSO is a highly successViennese Sound. This ful one. The maestro’s impeccable unique sound is maintained by a guild-like craftsmanship, exacting preparaapproach to musical tion, and elegant demeanor are of study in which the orchestra’s longstanding a piece with that of the orchestra. members mentor new arrivals. Of equal importance is the orchestra’s use of Viennese instruments, which differ in construction from those used internationally. The Viennese horn, for example, uses piston valves, which allows for a more seamless connection between notes than is usually heard on a standard rotary-valve horn. Viennese oboes, clarinets, and bassoons use reeds constructed exclusively for these instruments. Viennese tympani use membranes of goat parchment rather than artificial material. As a result, the VSO has a brighter, richer sound with a wider dynamic range than is found in many orchestras. This is the sound the composers whose works form the core of the VSO repertoire envisioned when
(Right) Fabio Luisi conducts the Vienna Symphony (photo by Bubu Dujmic); Vienna Ballet in The State Opera House of Vienna (photo © Vienna Board of Tourism/Manfred Horvath). Spring 2012CNCJA•15
composing their works—a sound the Vienna Symphony honors and to which it adheres. Since 2005, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra has been directed by Fabio Luisi, who will step down at the end of the 2012-2013 season to move to New York. It was there that he was appointed principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in 2011. The 53-year-old native of Genoa, a former protégé of renowned pianist Aldo Ciccolini, is a longstanding leader of Austria’s classical music scene. Luisi formerly held a position as accompanist for the Graz Opera and was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Vienna’s Tonküstlerorchester from 1995 to 2000. The partnership between Luisi and the VSO is a highly successful one. The maestro’s impeccable craftsmanship, exacting preparation, and elegant demeanor are of a piece with that of the orchestra. Luisi conducts with simple, efficient movements that communicate his intentions precisely. He conveys musical nuances through subtle shifts of facial expression. Yet Maestro Luisi’s understated physical presence belies a lavishly expressive musicality. Luisi understands his repertoire to its depths. He knows where to stretch a phrase, where to highlight a rarelyheard counterpoint, and where to let the music proceed steadily and simply. The result is an interpretative approach that makes venerable mas-
terpieces sound fresh while clearly holding true to tradition. The VSO responds wonderfully to Maestro Luisi’s leadership. His ability to conduct from memory allows for an intimate connection between conductor and orchestra with no podium separating them. The orchestra’s sound is consistently crisp and precise while remaining supple and expressive. A VSO performance led by Luisi is an immensely fulfilling and truly memorable experience. Chicago audiences had the opportunity to enjoy that experience this past November at the Harris Theater. Luisi led the ensemble in splendid performances of Brahms’s Second Symphony and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (featuring the Eroica Trio). Spring travelers to Vienna can hear the fabled orchestra perform a wealth of exciting repertoire this season. Former principal guest conductor Georges Prêtre will present a special Easter concert on April 7 and 8, featuring Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen and excerpts from Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suites. On May 25 and 26, Maestro Luisi will conduct Mahler’s First Symphony and Bruch’s First Violin Concerto, featuring acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell. And on June 16 and 17, Prêtre will return to conduct Franck’s Symphony in D Minor along with Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. Below: Fabio Luisi conducts The Vienna Symphony in their Vienna home Musikverein's Golden Hall (photo by Bubu Dujmic).
C l o s e o
E n c o u n t e r s
For Chicagoans, culturally charged get-aways can be just around the corner.
Milwaukee, WI The Milwaukee Art Museum offers Chicago art lovers the best chance for a no-fuss art getaway just a hop-skip-and-ajump from downtown Chicago. Home to more than 25,000 works of art, The Milwaukee Art Museum boasts important collections of old masters and 19th and 20th century works alike. It also contains some of the nation's best collections of German Expressionism, folk art, and post late 20th century masterworks. The landmark 341,000-square-foot museum includes the War Memorial Center (1957), designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen; the Kahler Building (1975) by David Kahler; and the Quadracci Paviliona (2001), created by Spanish architect Satiago Caltrava.
Minneapolis, MN With the nation's second largest number of theater seats in America, Minneapolis makes the list for the best live theater road trip. One of the world’s most respected Twin Cities venues, the Tyrone Guthrie Theater has been the area's premier home for the performing arts since it was founded in 1963. Overlooking the Mississippi River, The Guthrie touts a wide variety of live theater options and a show-stopping facade designed by architect Jean Nouvel.
Closest Encounters Chicagoans are in the perfect position to enjoy a world class, arts-infused "staycation" right here in the Windy City. The Ice Man Cometh: This spring, Eugene O'Neill's mammoth work promises a power-packed showcase of world class live theater. Goodman Theatre's Robert Falls directs Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy in one of the most anticipated shows of the season April 21 through June 10, 2012.
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective: Presenting over 130 paintings and sculptures, along with never-before-seen drawings and collages, The Art Institute of Chicago's upcoming exhibit looks to shed new scholarly light on the iconic Pop artist. The exhibit St. Louis, MO gives full consideration to all periods of Lichtenstein’s For a bit of history and music, take a drive southwest to hear the St. Louis career. Viewers will get a unique look at the artist's relaSymphony, the nation's second oldest symphony (second to The New York tionship to art historical sources, ranging from Picasso Philharmonic). Led by conductor David Robertson, the symphony boasts a diand Cubism through Surrealism, Futurism, German verse repertoire of masterworks spanning the canon of symphonic literature. This Expressionism, and the American West. The exhibit spring, the SLS celebrates warhorses of Ravel, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff runs from May 16-September 3, 2012. with world renowned pianists Leon Fliesher and Stephen Hough. Giselle: Chicagoans get a rare look at two of the Detroit, MI world's most iconic ballet companies performing one of Indianapolis, IN Jazz roadies can junket to the Motor City for their ballet's most iconic and romantic works, "Giselle." Weekend explorers can take a short ride round quick cultural road trip fix. Recently voted one of the top two jazz festivals in North America by a the bend to Indianapolis to visit the Eiteljorg From March 22 - 25, The American Ballet Theatre Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Jazz Times Critic's Poll, the Detroit Jazz Festival brings its internationally is the largest free jazz festival in the world and a Founded by collector Harrison Eiteljorg, the acclaimed roster of artmuseum offers one of the world's finest Native major tourist attraction for Detroit. With artists ists to The Auditorium on its roster like Regina Carter, Anat Cohen and American and Western Art collections, and Theatre. And on June Diane Reeves, the festival offers critically acis one of only two such museums east of the 27 & 28, in their first claimed performances of some of legendary jazz Mississippi. Chicago engagement, cornerstones and contemporary favorites alike. Collections inthe historic Paris The festival receives support from clude traditional Opera Ballet will the National Endowment for and contemporary bring to life the classic tale of love and forgiveness in the Arts, the Erb Family works by such arta celebration of one of Ballet's most beloved works at ists as T.C. Cannon; Foundation, and the John The Harris Theater in Millennium Park. S. and James L. Knight N.C. Wyeth; Andy Foundation. It will presWarhol; Georgia O'Keeffe; Allan Houser; Yo-Yo Ma plays Haydn: When you look for Frederic Remington; Charles Russell and Kay ent its 33rd installment world class performances, it doesn't get much better over Labor Day weekWalkingStick. than CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant end this year August 31 Yo-Yo Ma. On May 10 and 11, 2012, Ma performs From top: The Milwaukee Art Museum on Lake Michigan (photo courtesy of The through September 3, Milwaukee Art Museum); Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN (photo courHaydn's exquisite Cello Concerto in D Major with the tesy of Guthrie Theatre); Conductor David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony 2012. (photo courtesy of The St. Louis Symphony); The facade of the Eiteljorg Museum CSO at Chicago's Symphony Center . (photo courtesy of the museum); Jazz luminary Diane Reeves (photo courtesy of the artist).
From top: Tony Award winning actor Nathan Lane (photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre); From the American Ballet Theatre production of "Giselle" (photo courtesy of The Auditorium Theatre).
paris via Chicago The ImpressIonIsT ColleCTIon There and back in an afternoon
Georges Seurat. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884, 1884–86. Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection
In the 12 years since its inception London's Tate Modern has risen to the forefront of modern art throughout the world.
By ALEXANDRA ZAJAC
CURATOR'S CORNER elcome to a place where local culture is both iconic and unforgettable, where the fresh air is thick with possibilities. Welcome to a place where the past is present, and the present is inspiring. Welcome to history. Welcome to London. London has always been alive and happening. For those seeking excitement and buzz, its streets will not disappoint. Simply put, the city is electric. Its unique character comes from the mix of modern culture built on a foundation of rich and colorful history that is peppered with relics of bygone eras. But don’t let the glimmers of old world charm fool you. London is always on the pulse of what’s next, making it a terrific travel desti-
Clockwise from top left: Tate Modern Building © Tate Photography; (inset) Tate Britain © Tate; Pablo Picasso Still Life with Mandolin 1924 © Succession Picasso / DACS 2011 © Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
nation. Its energy is infectious and there is something for everyone to fall in love with, from old souls and hopeless romantics to
the 24-hour party set. Leading the charge on the city’s forwardthinking bent is the iconic Tate Modern. The museum of international and contemporary art houses an impressive collection of works that stir the soul and feed the imagination. Works from modern masters like Lichtenstein, Arp, and Picasso fill its expansive halls, giving art connoisseurs plenty to admire. Erected in 2000, the Tate Modern was created in order to alleviate the brimming Tate Collection, comprised of the national collection of British art since 1500 along with a wide array of international modern art. Previously, the latter was displayed along with the British art in the
halls of the Tate Gallery, but since the creation of the Tate Modern, the original Tate Gallery was renamed Tate Britain. The establishment of Tate Modern marked the first time London would have a dedicated modern art museum to call its own. Situated in a former power station that had shuttered in the 1980s, the Swiss design firm Herzog and De Meuron was selected to convert the space into a work of art worthy of its new inhabitants. One of the chief reasons the then-littleknown firm landed the job was because their proposed plans retained much of the essential character of the building, which was already an impressive structure in its own right, designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Honoring its former structure, the turbine hall of the power station was transformed into a dramatic entrance space and the boiler house was crafted to house the galleries. Ultimately, even the chimney became a work of art when it was capped with a colored light installation designed by Michael Craig-Martin. Commonly known as the “Swiss Light,” its beam marks the presence of the Tate Modern for all to see. Inside its great galleries are some of the world’s finest works of modern art. Covering watershed moments of art history and running the gamut from Surrealism to Minimalism, the Tate Modern’s collection is one of the most expertly curated and enviable galleries the world over. And if that collection wasn’t draw enough, they also host shows by celebrated artists. In fact, this season, Tate Modern will host shows by art-world superstar Damien Hirst (April 4 – September 9, 2012) and internation-
ally celebrated artist Yayoi Kusama (February 9 – June 5, 2012). A controversial and influential darling of the art world, Hirst first made a name for himself at a London show in 1988. Since then, his iconic works have managed to shock, amaze and inspire those who view them. This upcoming show at Tate Modern will mark the first time a British institution will host a comprehensive collection of his work. Spanning a timeline of about twenty years, the show promises sculptures from the Natural History series, including The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), which is the show in which he notoriously suspended a shark in formaldehyde. Also on display will be his butterfly paintings, medicine, and pill cabinets, and the two-part installation In and Out of Love, which has not been shown in its entirety since its creation in 1991. Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition is another highly anticipated showing. This worldly Japanese nonagenarian is Japan’s most prominent contemporary artist who has continually evolved and reinvented her style throughout her illustrious career. Her work ranges from drawings to sculptures to film and performance, and much of it
addresses obsessive tendencies and neurosis, which is evident in her iconic repeating dot patterns. In fact, since 1977, Kusama has been voluntarily living in a psychiatric institution. She explores what it means to be an “outsider,” a theme she is familiar with given her gender in a male-dominated society, ethnicity in a Western world, and unique psyche. Through her work, she draws viewers into her intricate web of perspective. The Tate exhibit will create a phenomenal opportunity to indulge in the extensive work of an amazing, cutting-edge artist. For those interested in making the rounds to the Tate Britain, it will be hosting a show dedicated to Picasso and Modern British Art (February 15 – July 15, 2012). It will explore the legendary artist’s affinity for the country, his influence on British art, and how his influence moved the nation to gradually accept the modern evolution of art (no small feat). A selection of Picasso’s works will be displayed alongside seven notable British artists who felt his influence, including Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland, and David Hockney. As a whole, the Tate is catapulting itself into the future in a multitude of ways. The creation of Tate Modern was just the first step. Now, the museum is evolving itself to stand firmly in the modern world by categorizing their works. However, they are not doing so in the traditional sense. Instead, they are putting their collection in the capable hands of…the general public. That’s right–you yourself can recommend tags for each work of art, helping the experts categorize both iconic and little known pieces, building their database through crowd sourcing. It is an incredibly modern way to approach the task, and its brilliance lies in its democratization. It makes art more accessible and interactive, opening the door for creativity and curiosity to flourish in our constantly buzzing, ever-distracting contemporary culture. Furthermore, in addition to fantastic art, Tate Left: Yayoi Kusama Yayoi Kusama 1965 Courtesy of Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo © Yayoi Kusama, courtesy Yayoi Kusama studio inc. . Photo: Eikoh Hosoe; (inset) Artist Yayoi Kusama, courtesy Yayoi Kusama studio inc.
Left: Edvard Munch , The Girls on the Bridge 1901 ©The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo /DACS 2011; (Below clockwise from top): Artist Damien Hirst (photo courtesy of the artist); Damien Hirst, Sympathy in White Major - Absolution II 2006 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved. DACS 2011 (photo by Prudence Cuming Associates); Damien Hirst, Beautiful, childish, expressive, tasteless, not art, over simplistic, throw away, kid's stuff, lacking integrity, rotating, nothing but visual candy, celebrating, sensational, inarguably beautiful painting (for over the sofa) 1996 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved. DACS 2011 (photo by Prudence Cuming Associates).
Modern has a few other treats for its visitors. Guided tours are available, and for those who are interested in unique experiences, the museum offers private tours for two, complete with a personal docent. There is an “Interactive Zone” for all ages to enjoy, where individuals can explore the art on display in different ways, including interactive multimedia, films and books. And, in the vernacular of the modern age, visitors can also download a mobile application that encourages interaction and engagement. So start packing! The fabulous city of London beckons. And while you’re there, remember to drop by and pay regards to the modern masters on display at Tate Modern. Your eyes and your soul will thank you. For more information on Tate Modern visit their highly informative website www.tate.org.uk/ modern.
Alive With Color!
Soon, if you make your way down to Chicago's Loop, you may find yourself walking on art! Following the success of Art Loop 2010 and 2011, The Chicago Loop Alliance has commissioned world-renowned artist Jessica Stockholder to create this summer’s Art Loop 2012 public art installment. Stockholder is a pioneer of multimedia installations that incorporate the architecture in which they have been conceived, blanketing the floor, scaling walls and ceiling, spilling out of windows, through doors, and into the surrounding landscape. The new installation, entitled Color Jam, will be a three-dimensional work of art containing flashes of color and geometric shapes that spill from the building facades onto the sidewalk and streets of a prominent State Street intersection. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Stockholder is currently a Professor in Visual Arts and chair of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited at Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Flower Power As delicate flowers go, this is one big baby! Blacksmith Jenny Pickford’s agapanthus sculpture is 14 feet tall, 11 feet wide and 1,100 pounds of forged steel and glass. How do you pack up a piece of art like that and ship it overseas? “I spent three days wrapping the glass elements, which fit into wooden crates. It was actually a bit of a squeeze to fit all the pieces in place,” says Pickford, who grew up on a farm and is now a rising star in Britain’s art world. Her work will be on display at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, March 10-18, at Navy Pier. In all, 25 stylized display gardens will present the latest in garden design and beauty during “Hort Couture,” the show’s 2012 theme, which reflects the influence of fashion and design in floral, plant, and landscape creations. The Chicago Flower & Garden Show will mark Pickford’s first U.S. collaboration. Her agapanthus is valued at approximately $34,000 and has been displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show among other prominent shows in Britain.
Witherspoon to Receive Siskel Honor The Gene Siskel Fim Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is set to honor Academy Award winning actress Reese Witherspoon with the presentation of the “Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award.” The annual award will be presented to Witherspoon by SAIC President Dr. Walter E. Massey on Saturday, June 23 at “A Summer Evening with Reese Witherspoon.” The film center’s yearly benefit will take place from 4-6 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Chicago. Jean de St. Aubin, Executive Director for the Gene Siskel Film Center, cites Witherspoon's artistic range as one of the many reasons she is perfectly suited for the honor: “Her wide range of performances have won the hearts of many, including her unforgettable roles as Tracy Flick in ‘Election,’ Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde,’ and her Oscarwinning portrayal of June Carter Cash in ‘Walk the Line.’” The evening will include a discussion with Witherspoon about her past successes as well as this year’s releases “Water for Elephants” and “This Means War.” Proceeds from the event will support the Gene Siskel Film Center’s presentations as well as lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers. Tickets are available by calling (312) 846-2072. Prices start at $400 for a single ticket and $5,000 for a table.
have a unique voice, and I am very proud that we have brought such fine Music Director young composers to Chicago...” Riccardo Muti In the past two years, commissioned orchestral works of both Bates has complete confidence in the CSO's two Mead Composers-in-Residence and Clyne have received premieres by the symphony (led by Muti) here in Mason Bates and Anna Clyne—so much so, he's recently extended their Chicago. Additionally, the two have programmed, curated, residencies by two seasons. Impressed by the work the and expanded audiences for MusicNOW, the CSO’s two composers have completed in their first term, Muti contemporary music series hosted at the Harris Theater for expressed a deep desire to continue exploring the colMusic and Dance in Millennium Park. laborations they have begun with various CSO partners. Anna Clyne has also been an active participant in The move is a nod in support of the CSO’s ongoing the CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access and Training commitment to collaborate with today’s leading artists initiatives. and arts institutions. Mason Bates has been very active in the new music “I have been working on the scores of our two Mead scene in Chicago. He hosted the city’s first Mercury Soul Composers-in-Residence, Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, classical-electronica hybrid event in May 2011 and will be for the last several weeks in preparation for the perforhosting a second such event in June, 2012. mances here in Chicago and on our West Coast tour,” Maestro Muti noted. “As I have studied their work, I Clockwise from top left: Artist's rendering of "Color Jam," Art Loop Open's new installation by artist Jessica Stockholder (photo courtesy of Art Loop Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon (photo courtesy of the Gene Siskil Film Center); Maestro Riccardo Muti conducting the CSO am impressed with what they have created. They each Open); (photo by Todd Rosenberg); Blacksmith Jenny Pickford's agapanthus sculpture showing at the Chelsea Flower Show in Britain (photo courtesy of the
Composers' Extended Residence
Chicago Flower & Garden Show).
IN THIS QUARTER YEAR
CLASSICAL CONCERT REVIEW
Chamber Music Society Launches New Harris Residency with Heartfelt Sensitivity By MYRON SILBERSTEIN January 27, 2012 - The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center inaugurated a much-anticipated three-year, nine-concert residency at the Harris Theater with a program of trios for clarinet, cello, and piano by Beethoven, Bruch, and Brahms. The Chamber Music Society’s co-Artistic Director,
Photo Courtesy of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
ing of the slow movement, offering a free and operatically vocal approach to the cello line. Mr. Shifrin brought forth sustained pianissimo notes with utter delicacy. Ms. Han provided understated and elegant accompaniment supplemented by well-articulated, pearly right-hand filigree. Beethoven’s trio concludes with a set of variations on Joseph Weigl’s “Pria ch’io l’impegno,” which the performers approached with delightful joviality. Following the Beethoven was a selection of four pieces from Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 83. The brief pieces provided a tuneful and appealing close to the first half, and were a fine palate-cleanser between the more substantial works by Beethoven and Brahms. The ensemble brought out the impassioned, rhapsodic aspects David Finckel (clarinet), Wu Han (piano) and David Shifrin (cello) of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. of Bruch’s miniapianist Wu Han, explained the programming choice in an effusive address tures without lapsing into sentimentality. to the audience: the organization wanted to greet its Chicago listeners, she The Brahms trio is among the composer’s later works and is one of the pinnacles of Western music. A slightly heavier approach, particularly in said, with a program that would “go straight to the heart.” The clarinet and the piano, would have been welcome; the storms of the first movement recello have the same range as the human voice, Ms. Han explained, and thus mained at a low rumble and never quite achieved the arresting urgency that have an immediate impact on the listener. Add to the inherent appeal of the instrumental combination the genius the masterwork requires. Likewise, the first two movements often tended of the composers on the program and the unrivaled finesse of the Chamber toward an excess of tempo. The lyrical phrases would have benefited Music Society and one has a thoroughly effective and memorable perforfrom more generous stretching, and climactic moments from a slower, mance. Ms. Han, cellist and co-Artistic Director David Finckel, and clarimore inexorable build. The dance-like third movement, in contrast, is a netist David Shifrin (himself a former Artistic Director of the Society) demwelcome respite in this deeply serious work. Friday’s performance took onstrated a remarkable sensitivity to the music and to each other throughout a lyrical and bittersweet approach to this movement that did not provide the program. the needed contrast to the other three movements. These quibbles notThe Beethoven trio is an early work: charming and clever, with glimwithstanding, Han, Fickel, and Shifrin reveled in Brahms’s exquisite mers of the profundity that would become the hallmark of the master’s later counterpoint and in the complexity of the trio’s textures, providing an pieces. Throughout the first movement, the ensemble traded jaunty rhythmic elegant and polished close to a truly beautiful inaugural program. figuration from instrument to instrument, clearly transported by the exuberance of Beethoven’s writing. Mr. Finckel led an exquisitely intimate read-
Goodman's Race Pulls No Punches
Photo by Eric Y. Exit
By JIM WITHINGTON
Susan (Tamberla Perry) Henry Brown (Geoffrey Owens) and Jack Lawson (Marc Grapey) put Charles Strickland (Patrick Clear) in the hot seat in the Chicago premiere of Race by David Mamet, directed by Chuck Smith.
January 15, 2012 - Race in America remains an issue the country has tackled, yet still has failed to resolve. In Goodman Theatre’s Chicago premiere of the 2009 David Mamet play Race, one character even tells us "This isn't about sex. It's about race," and another asks, "What's the difference?" The lack of a response was telling. Director Chuck Smith gives us an uncomplicated set: an office filled with modern chairs and imposing, case-filled bookshelves. The setting gives the air of the kind of law office someone like Charles Strickland—a wealthy white man accused of raping a much younger, African American woman—would visit. Strickland adds much of the dark humor to the play simply by failing to realize how often he’s making racist comments. Mamet paints Strickland first as a bumbling, arrogant rich man, and later, as someone more sinister, a man horrible enough to deserve an accusation of rape. But Mamet shows us several sides of that coin in his characters. In fact, he gives us one white character (Strickland) who hasn't a clue about his own racism, and another (attorney Jack Lawson) who unapologetically makes racist comments wrapped in "I'll tell you how it is" tirades. We also meet Henry Brown, an African American attorney that remarks (to Jack) "Do you know what you can say to a black man on the subject of race? Nothing.” Susan, a female African-American associate attorney with a goal of changing the system from the inside, rounds out the cast. With these polar opposites at work, Mamet attempts to encompass much of the race relations in America today. Yet that seems to tie everything up in a bow, something difficult to do
with an issue so tightly packed with intensely potent emotions. Mamet deftly recognizes that he can get away with either nothing or everything when discussing race, and (as is typical in a Mamet play) that means dialogue laced with expletives that creates humor through the actions of some straightforwardly harsh, and perhaps terrible, people (“I do not think that people are basically good at heart,” Mamet told the Village Voice in 2008, and it shows). Late in the play, just as the case looks like something the attorneys can actually win, an act of treacherous betrayal essentially threatens to hurl their cause into doubt. The stirring finale is one that is both inevitable and surprising. What marked the success of Goodman’s Chicago premiere was an ensemble whose acting was visceral, even to the point of overreaching. But with a subject like Mamet’s, unemotional disconnected portrayals by any player in the production would have spelled doom for its purpose. Mark Grapey (Jack Lawson) nailed Mamet’s quick, harsh dialogue, and Tamberla Perry (Susan) brought a sensitivity and subtlety to a role that would easily have been ruined without it. And while Mamet’s groundbreaking work about law, race, and privilege pulled no punches at its premiere three years ago, in today’s vastly evolving society, the writing already seems to be aging. Yet and still, it remains a thought-provoking and poignant discussion that rips the bandages off the wounds of a painful subject with which our country still grapples today. Spring 2012CNCJA•25
Lyric's Flute Channels Mozart's Original Vision By FRED CUMMINGS
January 11, 2012 - Defining authenticity in today’s operatic productions can be an elusive goal. Directors know full well the traditional stagings of many of the works in the operatic canon, often centuries-old works. But can we really peer into the minds of composers in such a way as to create an experience that so precisely mirrors that of an original performance of a masterwork like Cosi Fan Tutte or Don Giovanni? Not likely. Technology has advanced so much in the past 200 years that what one could have seen in an eighteenth-century opera house might appear rather crude and unsophisticated by today’s standards. Likewise, far too many variables exist that prevent us from knowing exactly what an original staging might have looked like. But authenticity is precisely what Lyric Opera achieved Wednesday evening in its revival of Mozart’s masterpiece of singspiel, The Magic Flute. Compositionally, the lighthearted opera came as a breath of fresh air in Mozart’s otherwise sober output while under the auspices of an aristo-
Photo by Dan Rest
the First Lady burying an unconscious Tamino’s face deep within her bosom, you realize director Matthew Lata is channeling Mozart’s classic irreverence, and that you’re in for one fun evening. Much of the mirth came by way of French baritone Stéphane Degout in the role of Papageno, the loveable bird catcher afraid of his own shadow. Papageno is reluctantly enlisted to accompany Tamino to rescue the queen’s daughter, Pamina, from her captors. Degout’s comedic timing is just as virtuosic as his luxurious velvet tone. Lata wisely engages the baritone to deliver much of the unexpected wit in the production. His second act invasion of Maestro Davis’ orchestra pit in search of Papagena, his paramour, was classic fourth wall hilarity. As might have occurred with Mozart’s first performance of Flute, Lyric’s revival did have its own hiccups. Though the humor and production values swing from high to low, the music remains of the highest caliber and intricacy. Mozart’s Queen of the Night holds some of the most perilous singing in all of opera, and Soprano Audrey Luna made for a commanding Queen. Her presence was made all the more ominous by her bright, powerful tone and nuanced shading. Yet her tempo and vocal precision flagged during the most critical moments of the aria Der Holle Rach with high-flying arpeggios and rapid-fire runs that typically inspire awe in the character. On the other side of the coin, bass baritone Günther Gröissbock stunned with the fullness and precision of his unfathomably low bass singing. The tones of his low Fs were full and rich with unwavering accuracy. But his second act aria In diesen Heil’gen Hallen, which is meant to comfort and enlighten with the greatest of tenderness, seemed to lack the color and phrasing that should have provided depth and dimension. What is typically an emotional aria became, instead, an exercise in vocal precision and tonal production. Tenor Alex Shrader has a warm and lustrous voice. And he creates a beautifully lyrical sound. But the tone of his upper register dissipated in strength when his singing moved beyond a mezzo forte, creating a rather imbalanced effect when he sang the more challenging arias. Actually, it was Shrader’s recitative work that provided his most gorgeous singing. Tenor Stéphane Degout as Papageno and soprano Nicole Cabell as Pamina in Lyric Opera's Recitatives are rarely sung beyond a mezzo forte, and it was here that he was most able to cultivate a consistently rich tone and give us prorevival of The Magic Flute. longed, artful phrasing. cratic benefactor. In fact, Flute was meant to be entertainment digestible Though perfection was not on the menu for the night, true enchantfor “common” and aristocratic audiences alike. It premiered in 1791 at ment did come to Lyric’s Flute by way of some pretty captivating singing. the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, a venue known for its less-than Degout’s first act duet with soprano Nicole Cabell’s Pamina, Bei sophisticated fare. So an ostentatious and reverential staging that paid Männern, was a delightful example of vocal chemistry at its best. In the homage to Emanuel Schikaneder’s libretto as if it were Scriptural texts charming scene, after he reveals Tamino’s love for her, Papageno confesswould not have been the order of business for Mozart’s premiere—not by es a desire for a love of his own. Degout’s lush, velvety voice resonates a long-shot. wonderfully with Cabell’s buttery tone, creating an incredibly sonorous Lyric achieved its authenticity with a few key components that sug- effect. The duo performed Mozart's tender melodies with warm colorful gested their approach to The Magic Flute might have really been a stab at finish. the composer’s original vision. When you start with a capriciously amusCabell unveiled more magic with her second act aria Ach, ich fühl’s, ing set design that doesn’t take itself all too seriously; a few fun pyro- where Pamina mourns the perceived loss of Tamino’s affections. She technics; a healthy measure of camp in the form of three randy mystical crafted mature, patient phrasing spiced with wonderfully tasteful rubato, ladies; add an enchanting observance of Mozart’s sublime arias and throw infinitely diverse shading, and a touch of pathos creating the evening’s in a helping of clever staging surprises that keep things fresh, you’ve got most magical moment. more than just a glimpse of what audiences in Vienna very well might Of course, there were many more enchanting moments in Lyric’s rehave experienced in 1791. vival. Not the least among them were the appearances of three very young The first evidence of this came via a trio of very cheeky Ladies-In- angelic performers from Chicago’s Anima Singers, who serve as wise Waiting (performed with vaudevillian panache by sopranos Elisabeth guidance for the characters throughout the story. But what knit all of these Meister, Cecelia Hall and Katherine Lerner). These representatives of a elements together so tightly was Matthew Lata’s remarkably clear vision, duplicitous queen were downright kitschy in their adoration of one Prince which, for a few wonderful hours, seemed to transport a grateful audience Tamino (sung with warmth by tenor Alek Shrader). The moment you see back to 1791 Vienna for a fresh look at Mozart's genius. 26•CNCJASpring 2012
JAZZ CONCERT REVIEW
Photo by Chad Batka
By CHRIS GONTAR
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) members.
February 5, 2012 - MCA Stage Series’ “George Lewis and Friends” was a case study in poetry in music. The concert, which explored transcendent themes through the language of music in genres, textures, and styles, began with George E. Lewis’ "Artificial Life (2007)." Lewis adds some reflections in the program notes, which suggest that the work’s focus is capturing composition in action, and not just any action, but the simple resemblance between human action and free improvisation. Lewis emphasizes "collective responsibility" rather than being in control and on top of things. And the performers emphasized this idea through symbiotic communication. Their musical gestures conveyed something of an intriguing musical argument in the woodwinds, and affective expressions from the brass and percussion. What followed was a recent revision of Steve Lehman’s "Impossible Flow." The work draws from Lehman’s diverse knowledge of jazz and classical forms. Throughout the rhythmical development, there is evidence of the clave, an Afro-Cuban rhythm essential to jazz. And what struck most was how Lehman employed a jazz melodic pattern in a very harmonic way, thus revealing an effective integration with classical structure. Nicole Mitchell’s "Cave of Self-Induction" is a primordial composition focusing on ideas of nature and the origins of life. The piece recalls Dr. Lewis’ theme of life, this time through other philosophical questions of depth, surface, and height. Mitchell makes effective use of her flute’s sensibilities to depict aquatic nature through drop-like timbre and tones. Wind chimes and wooden blocks also effectively evoke underground water and complete the natural focus of the piece. Through its dissonant block chords on the piano, Tyshawn Sorey’s "Ode To Gust Burns" is, of all these works, the most reminiscent of avant garde classical music. It’s performed here with an almost cerebral clarity. There is an introductory theme on the piano in C-sharp minor, not repeated in the piece. But within the chamber-like ensemble, and unusual grouping of instruments, we sense the universality of the music. The odd phrasing and structure, rather like modern poetry, aptly suggests a conversation between different musical languages. George Lewis’ "The Will to Adorn," focuses its theme on the excess of external appearance and show. The polyphony of the piece embodies the disorder or irrationality, which Lewis associates with domestic life and folk art. Traditional jazz had several instances of polyphony, which was echoed in modern jazz; thus, through "Will" he calls to mind the protean quality of that history.
RNDC Valentine Sizzles By EMILY DISHER February 10, 2012—River North Dance Chicago lit up the stage this Valentine’s weekend with a lineup of popular programs alongside two world premieres in “Love Is… Celebration.” Artistic Director Frank Chaves again proved that he knows what an audience wants from a Valentine’s program, including a range of sexy and artsy pieces. When you go to see RNDC, you always know you’re going to get a great show, and this program followed suit. Sandwiched between past successes like “Risoluta” (2010) and the popular tango series “Al Sur del Sur” (2011), were two new works— “Contact-Me” by Italian choreographer Mauro Astolfi, and a piece from Chaves titled “The Good Goodbyes.” “Contact-Me” is an eclectic mix of music and choreography. The score moves from instrumental to electronic and back to instrumental again. In fact, the last section is so contrasting from the middle portion that the work seems a little disjointed. The middle segment of “Contact-Me” could be isolated as a work in and of itself, playing to the strengths of RNDC. This portion of the piece, performed to a strong electronic bass line, proves incredibly powerful, filled with dramatic and engaging movements. What looks like a choreographed fight between four male dancers—Michael Gross, Ethan Kirshbaunm, Tucker Knox, and Ahmad Simmons—quickens the pulse with potency and power. Additionally, Lauren Kias, Cassandra Porter, and Jessica Wolfram are fierce during a similarly strong segment of music. The choreography is innovative and energetic— much more so than the women’s über-feminine pink attire would lead you to expect. The second premiere of the evening, Chaves’ “The Good Goodbyes,” is an auditory and visual valentine for the audience. The lovely piece, slightly reminiscent of a dance class, features the music’s composer Josephine Lee performing live piano on stage, and the company dancing in flowing pastel costumes against an impressionistic backdrop. The work features Chaves’ first duet for two men. Ethan Kirschbaum and Michael Gross, clad in River North Dance Chicago's "Risoluta" light, fluttering shirts, explode the expected pairing of man and woman to stun with their lovely spins and emotional dancing. Additional pieces of the evening included “Ella” (2007), which showcases Lauren Kias (and her lively hair!) in a piece that perfectly pairs movement with scat; and “SentiremNós” (2009), a duet featuring the long, sinewy limbs of Melanie Manale-Hortin along with beautiful lifts by Gross. The company is, in a word, chiseled—both in the physique of the dancers and in their technical control. All professional dancers are athletic—it’s a job requirement—but time after time, RNDC proves that its athletes are absolutely at the top of their game. To add the icing to the cake, Chaves has a strong understanding of his audience, and consistently compiles an action-packed, crowd-pleasing lineup. Photo by Jennifer Girard
"Friends'" Explores Poetry in Esoteric Program
MUSICAL THEATER REVIEW
Sinatra's Sound and Tharp's Choreography a Perfect Marriage By EMILY DISHER January 11, 2012—Frank Sinatra’s stirring vocals and Twyla Tharp’s captivating choreography fused in a sexy rendezvous this winter in Come Fly Away at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre. The uncommon musical, which pairs Sinatra’s recorded voice (rather than a live singer) with a vibrant onstage big band, offered a nostalgic indulgence into those soulful Sinatra classics. Tharp’s choreography offered a fresh lens through which to experience the timeless music and provided apt homage to Ol' Blue Eyes. The musical felt quite authentic, due in no small part to Tharp’s choreography, which seems acutely married to the score, even as she sneaks in some highly modern stylings. Tharp manages to capture a playful, sometimes emotional, and certainly tricky interplay of couples at a dance club, incorporating theatrical hyperbole without becoming tawdry. The choreography maintains an appropriate balance of social dance elements, choreographed, of course, with polished dance technique. Her dancers exhibit serious talent and aptly translate Tharp’s own admiration of Sinatra. The characters in the piece are recognizable types, but each bursts with personality. Marty (Ron Todorowski) and Betsy (Mallauri Esquibel) perform the endearing couple whose relationship evolves from awkward to comfortable over the course of the show. Their dancing grows from stilted to fluid with a meticulous gradualism. Todorowski’s lean legs seem neverending, particularly as he shows off his extension in high-altitude leaps. Esquibel creates a cute girl-next-door character whose sophisticated dancing betrays her modest persona. Babe, the unattainable woman, was aptly cast, danced by the sultry Meredith Miles. The only disappointing moment occurred when Miles and John Selya (Sid) performed to “Witchcraft,” and it seemed as though the choreography might have allowed Miles to show off a bit more. Nevertheless, she has plenty of shining moments during the production.
A violently sexy duet between Anthony Burrell (Hank) and Ashley Blair Fitzgerald (Kate) proves a pulse-racing, breathtaking piece. At this moment, Fitzgerald, whose gorgeous dancing draws the eye from the early moments of the musical, exhibits intense, angry dynamism with Burrell. He seems to throw her about the stage as they thrash in a desperate and steamy dispute. It’s a lover’s quarrel from which you won’t want to tear your eyes away. When the dancers return after a short orchestral interlude of “Jumpin' at the Woodside” in the middle of the program, the evening continues to heat up. The men of the ensemble perform a powerhouse number to “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.” The piece is as sizzling as it is impressive with shirts (or pants) shed as the dancers heave toward the end of the song. This seems to set the stage for a general shedding of clothes as the female dancers re-emerge to dance in lingerie (possibly the result of the show’s recent run in Vegas). The dancing remains hot, but not raunchy, as the metaphorical night wears on. When full clothing is replaced, and the production nears its close, the dancers perform to “My Way.” It’s arguably Sinatra’s most famous song, and the music is so powerful that it seems to overshadow the dance. Tharp’s choreography incorporates countless lifts during the piece—in fact, it’s as though at least one female dancer is suspended in the air at any one moment during the song—yet, the music still dominates. This fact, however, seems more fitting than troublesome in a production that celebrates Sinatra. This production is for Sinatra lovers, and its whimsy can transport viewers to an earlier time. Yet the musical is also for dance lovers because Tharp interprets Sinatra in a way that fits the music, while proving fresh, technical, and titillating all at once. For those with an affinity for both the music and the movement, you’ll find yourself thoroughly bewitched.
Photo by joan warren
Cast of Come Fly With Me choreographed by Twyla Tharp to the music of Frank Sinatra.
The Seldoms' 10th Anniversary Revels in The Unconventional
Photo by courtesy of carrie hanson
By EMILY DISHER
The Seldoms perform "This is Not a Dance Concert" at The Harris Theater.
February 4, 2012—Carrie Hanson, artistic director of the Seldoms, is known for setting dance in unconventional spaces. So when the Seldoms kicked off their anniversary season at Harris Theater on Friday, they didn’t limit their performing to the stage. In fact, they took the notion of the theater and flipped it on its proverbial head. The Seldoms invited audience members to travel throughout the venue, performing in the house, backstage, and throughout the lobbies. The production, aptly titled “This is Not a Dance Concert,” challenged viewers to re-examine conventional notions of performance space, as well as dance itself. At the start of the program, each audience member navigated to one of four groups, as designated by the letter on his or her ticket. Each cluster began the evening in a different area of the theater, and then wove their way throughout the building, up and down steps, onstage and off, with the reward of a different performance at each destination. Audience members toured areas of the Harris typically reserved only for performers, but were also prompted to take a fresh perspective of the building’s familiar spaces. One might say that Harris Theater was the star of “This is Not a Dance Concert,” with the Seldoms bringing the venue to vibrant life. In the house, dancers drove viewers’ attention away from the usual focal point of the stage, instead inciting the audience to twist around in their seats for a lively performance along the aisles and even in the balcony. Later, when onstage, performers invited patrons to join them, encouraging them to look up and share in the awe of high ceilings and elaborate rigging. Backstage and in the lobbies, audience members stood in very close proximity to the dancers, often forced to move around to give way to choreography or to get a better view. Sharing intimate quarters with the artists leant a unique and valuable perspective. A movement that might appear simple from the stage could suddenly become intricate up close. The flexing of sinew, breathing, and straining necessary to make move-
ments look “easy” offered a new appreciation. To humorous effect, dancers exaggerated a variety of audience “types,” played with performance tropes, and incorporated comments from online reviews of the theater into the production. In the house performance, for instance, characters such as the late arriver who crawls across other patrons to reach her seat—with limbs flailing and knocking inappropriately—and the chronic cougher whose guttural noises echo through the auditorium drew a healthy dose of laughter all around. In the backstage performance, garment hangers played a primary role as two dancers performed a passiveaggressive game of reorganization. Ultimately, with a little posing of limbs and curving of fingers (something you could only notice in such close proximity), dancers became human clothes hangers in this clever piece. The most hilarious episode of the production took place in Lobby 3, where performers acted out positive reviews of Harris Theater’s restrooms, together with a significant series of squats. For costuming, the dancers looked as though they had raided one another’s closets, wearing mish-mosh ensembles that leant a playful and casual feel to the evening. Dancers talking throughout the performances to each other, or to the audience, reinforced that feeling. During the finale, which found all of the audience members seated or standing on stage around the performers, dancers shared stories of their childhood aspirations, teasing and dancing through them. The mood was celebratory, precisely like the “anniversary dance party,” the Seldoms described in one of their information cards for the performance. “This is Not a Dance Concert” proved a vibrant and innovative experience of movement and the Harris. And with it, the Seldoms provided an intriguing exercise in defamiliarization that made both dance and the Harris new, even for those well-acquainted with both. Spring 2012CNCJA•29
Lookingglass Adds Depth to Strength of Rickey By DANIEL A. SCUREK January 17, 2012 - Can one imagine a sports world without AfricanAmericans, Where some of the all-time best and highest paid so often make a team legendary? But back in the middle of the twentieth century, a black man in major league baseball was not simply risky but unthinkable. Eventually, of course, the foolishness of prejudice became apparent to at least some, and the racial barrier began to slowly crumble, or at least the potential financial loss of denying some of the most talented players a chance simply because of race became obvious. Either way, by the middle of the twentieth century, some of the most successful sports figures were African American. This is the subject of Lookingglass Theatre’s excellent production of Ed Schmidt’s play, Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting. The Titular character, played by Larry Neumann, Jr., is actually Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.Although his position fully allows him to sign his prospect, Jackie Robinson (played by Javon Johnson), as the first black player in the major leagues, it’s solidarity in the African-American community that he finds most critical to the success of his choice. So, Mr. Rickey calls a meeting of some of the most successful barrier-breakers: boxer Joe Louis, actor Paul Robeson, and entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (played with earnestness by Anthony Flemming III, James Vincent Meredith and Ernest Perry respectively). If Mr. Rickey can get these men to
support his decision, Jackie Robinson will be signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers. It’s a very simple premise, but one more easily said than done. And it’s the alternating skepticism and support these men feel toward Rickey (and at times even Robinson) that fuels the content of this 90-minute powerhouse production. The strength of Ed Schmidt’s script lies in the choice to create a debate amongst legendary men, dissecting an intense moment rather than attempting a lengthy biography. But even strong material risks becoming dull and didactic. Luckily, this doesn’t happen. Director J. Nicole Brooks finds the action behind every phrase just as each actor meets the challenge of bringing larger-than-life legends into the flesh, not only carrying the charisma and presence we expect of such legends, but also aptly emulating every nuanced gesture of 1947 America. The technical accomplishments can’t be overlooked. Scenic designer Sibyl Wickersheimer and costume designer Alison Siple create the atmosphere of professional men in a 1947 New York hotel room convincingly and completely. In fact, the design extends into the seating area and even the lobby. The ensemble of performers and technicians create access to a world both believable and unthinkable, making what is sure to be a benchmark production of 2012.
Photo courtesy of lookingglass theatre
Cast of Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting at Lookingglass Theatre.
Captivating Rex Peers Deeply Into Familiar Image of Queen Elizabeth Photo by Liz Lauren
By DAVID WEISS
William Shakespeare (Kevin Gudahl) raises a toast to Queen Elizabeth (Diane D'Aquila) with other members of his acting troupe in Shakespeare Theatre's production of Elizabeth Rex.
January 12, 2012 - Queen Elizabeth I is a historical figure whose life does not inspire trivial stories. Of the various books, films, and plays that have sought to depict her, nearly all grapple with the largest and heaviest of themes: life and death, love and hate, agency and destiny. So it is with Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex, which imagines the aging monarch on the eve of her lover’s execution: having ordered the death of the Earl of Essex (found guilty of treason), she seeks distraction with William Shakespeare and his company of actors. It’s a play designed to catch the notoriously steel-willed woman in a rare moment of vulnerability, and with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s deftly staged production, director Barbara Gaines has crafted a strikingly intimate examination of the “Virgin Queen” that nevertheless revels in grand theatricality. Certainly any drama featuring Elizabeth requires a formidable lead actress and Diane D’Aquila does not disappoint. With her resounding voice and impeccably imposing presence, she easily embodies the strength and weariness of a leader who has spent nearly her entire life in power. Yet from almost her very first scene, one senses that this Elizabeth is not in her element; she’s off-balance, wrestling with inner demons that constantly threaten to crack her untouchable facade. Whenever she lashes out at underlings or erupts into tirades against the Irish, D’Aquila makes sure you feel her frustration and pain: Essex must die to maintain her authority, but the price is cripplingly high. Playing her devil’s advocate in this moment of doubt is Ned (the su-
perb Steven Sutcliffe), an outspoken member of Shakespeare’s company who happens to be dying of the plague. Riddled with sores and lacking his hair, he nevertheless retains his actorly flamboyance and a wicked tongue, goading Elizabeth with talk of love and loyalty, daring her to show sadness or regret. It’s a fantastically entertaining and affecting performance, marrying flashes of barbed humor with an overwhelming melancholy. Watching it, I was put in mind of an Elizabethan-era Prior Walter, bantering and commiserating with the Queen of all Queens. This captivating central duo is surrounded by a gallery of familiar theater types (all played well, if not inspiringly) that includes a rakish leading man (Andrew Rothenberg), an inexperienced youngster (Matt Farabee), and an elderly seamstress (Mary Ann Thebus). Kevin Gudahl also turns up as a surprisingly mellow William Shakespeare, conveying plenty of warmth but little of the passion or mischief one tends to associate with the greatest of all English writers. Still, Gaines has orchestrated an engaging production that moves fluidly between moments of stark, unaffected conversation and tableaus of eerie, lyrical beauty. Through it all, the Queen slips in and out of focus, dropping her guard only to raise it again, gradually allowing a glimpse into the mind behind the monarch. We may not agree with Elizabeth by the end of the night, but we certainly understand her.
Los Angeles, California has long been a city bursting with a wildly diverse slate of arts and culture performances. But with nearly $8 billion invested in arts and entertainment in the last decade, it's fast becoming a mecca for arts-infused destination travel. And that's just one reason we've selected The City of Angels as our 2012 Destination of Choice. By MYRON SILBERSTEIN
Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
ne of the great things about arts and culture is that it gives many different kinds of speech to as many different kinds of voices. It’s expression at its subtlest, and yet most overpowering best. And this year, celebrating a year of great diversity in culture and arts, we have the distinct pleasure of selecting nothing short of one of the most diverse cultural outlets in the world as our 2012 Destination of Choice: Los Angeles, California. With nearly $8 billion in capital improvements invested in the city’s arts and entertainment life within the past decade, Los Angeles has become one of the most vibrant, universally diverse cultural destinations around the globe. What has emerged in the last ten years is a city of vastly growing and luminous arts and culture with such artistic feathers in its cap as to be the
envy of any metropolis the world over. Visit once and instantly, you’re immersed in a dizzying variety of arts experiences. The land itself offers plenty to capture the attention: four homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, garish movie-star mansions, the Eameses’ prefab construction Case Study #8 and a vast array of Spanish Colonial Revival buildings—like every other aspect of L.A., the architecture speaks to the dazzling cross-section of styles and cultures at work. And likewise, the one constant throughout the city’s culture is the passionate dedication to art of all kinds. Visual artists, musicians, actors, dancers, and architects working in all idioms have come to Los Angeles to pursue their crafts and have found a home base in which to develop them to spectacular heights. As a result, the visitor to Los Angeles is in for the aesthetic experience of a lifetime: from a world-class symphony orches-
Photo by Henry Salazar
MUSIC For classical music aficionados, the Los Angeles area boasts a number of major performing ensembles; two of the most prolific and artistically vibrant are the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Long Beach Opera. The L.A. Philharmonic, inaugurated in 1919, has been home to conductors as eminent as Artur Rodzinski and Otto Klemperer. In recent years the orchestra has been led by Andre Previn and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Salonen’s tenure was notable for having integrated a great deal of twentieth-century and contemporary music into the orchestra’s repertoire—he was responsible for the world or American premieres of over 120 works during his tenure. Indeed, Salonen’s influence upon the orchestra has been so significant that the L.A. Philharmonic named him its first-ever Conductor Laureate upon the conclusion of his music directorship in 2009. It also created a $1.5-million commissioning fund in his name. The Philharmonic’s current conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, is a rare phenomenon: a conductor of genuine celebrity and extraordinary musical sensitivity with a strong sense of social responsibility to boot. Barely over thirty, the red-hot Venezuelan-born conductor was named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year in 2011. He is a strong supporter of arts education, hav-
ing himself been a student in Venezuela’s famed El Sistema, which provides free intensive music lessons to over 300,000 Venezuelan children. Dudamel instituted the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles on the El Sistema Model. YOLA provides free instruments and lessons to children in underserved communities. Dudamel’s belief that the orchestra “is a perfect metaphor for the community” has been noted widely; it is no surprise that he extends that belief into a vigorous program of community service. Housed in the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, which has been widely praised as both an acoustic and architectural triumph since it opened in 2003, the Los Angeles Philharmonic offers a feast for both ear and eye. Upcoming highlights of the current season include a performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto by pianist Andre Watts on March 30 and April 1, Schubert’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Christoph Eschenbach on April 20 and 21, and Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony with Maestro Dudamel himself at the helm on May 10 and 12. Long Beach Opera has been known as a cutting-edge performance ensemble since the L.A.Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel mid-1980s, when— under the guidance of its first executive director, Michael Milenski—the company presented visually striking and critically acclaimed productions of Britten’s Death in Venice and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Milenski continued in his directorship for over 25 years, specializing in late Baroque and twentieth-century operas. His successor, Andreas Mitisek, has continued the founding director’s quest to bring mainstream attention to unusual operatic works. Under Mitisek’s direction, Long Beach gave the American premiere of Vivaldi’s long-lost Montezuma. Three operas remain in the current season. Two-acts —Poulenc’s The Breasts of Tiresias and Martinu’s Tears of a Knife—will be performed on March 11 and 17. Ainadamar, an opera by MacArthur Fellowship winner Osvaldo Golijov that tells the story of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca’s life and execution, will be performed on May 19 and 26. And on June 16 and 24, LBO will perform Michael Nyman’s poignant operatic adaptation of neurologist Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Chicagoans will be lucky enough to experience Mitisek’s innovation as he serves as a fitting successor to Brian Dickie, general director of the Chicago Opera Theater (COT). In his final year with COT, Dickie is passing the reigns to a kindred spirit who will run both companies in a new, collaborative model with the two opera theaters working together to create new, innovative inroads in opera performance. For a truly intimate orchestral experience, Los Angeles visitors need look no further than the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, which performs regularly at five locations around the city, including Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The ensemble has been hailed as “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International. The Da Camera Society of Mount St. Mary College also performs chamber music recitals in historic and architecturally significant Los Angeles sites.
Photo courtesy of the L. A. Philharmonic
tra to fringe theater to lavish art galleries to experimental dance, the entertainment capital of the world has something to satisfy every taste and inspiration. Art, science, music, nothing is left wanting for the erudite traveler in search of satisfying a thirst for artistic diversity and excellence. It’s all there for the taking. And while we could devote an entire issue to describing the kind of vibrant cultural life at work in this mecca of arts and entertainment, we’ve provided a snapshot of the wealth of rich culture in store for your next trip to the City of Angels.
Aside from its stellar classical music scene, Los Angeles boasts a veritable plethora of jazz clubs and venues for folk and world music. The Hollywood Bowl is the largest such venue, seating nearly 18,000. It is also one of the oldest, having been established in 1922. With great views of the Hollywood Hills and the iconic Hollywood sign, it is also one of the most picturesque. The Hollywood Bowl has been host to nearly all of the immortals of the popular music world: Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles are just a few. This summer, the Bowl will feature a July 4th fireworks show with Barry Manilow, a concert by R&B legend Smokey Robinson, and a production of Mel Brooks’s Tony Award-winning musical The Producers. Music lovers in search of a more intimate setting have a host of options. Little Tokyo’s Blue Whale Bar and Charlie O’s Bar and Grill both offer seven nights of jazz performances every week. The Bluegrass Association of Southern California sponsors free performances on the third Tuesday of every month at Burbank’s Viva Cantina. And the Folk Music Center in Claremont hosts concerts every Saturday evening. THEATER It’s no surprise that the city of the silver screen offers a vast array of live theater. As Madeline Puzo, Dean of USC’s School of Theatre, explains, Los Angeles has “the highest number of actors of any city in the US and they’re eager to work.” From traditional theater classics to the edgy avant-garde to forums for up-andcoming playwrights, there is something for every theatrical taste. The Centre Theatre Group is a nonprofit conglomeration of three theaters housed in facilities owned by the County of Los Angeles: the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The Taper won a special Tony award in 1977 for overall theatrical excellence. The Centre Theatre Group’s Clockwise from top: Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl Shell(photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association); The Getty Center; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; The Griffith Observatory (photos courtesy of The Los Angeles Board of Tourism); Centre Theatre Group Founding Artistic Director Gordon Davidson and actor director Phylicia Rashad at a 2012 gala celebration (photo by Rob Lad).
current season includes such family standards as Mary Poppins and Anything Goes as well as weightier fare such as Waiting for Godot and A Raisin in the Sun. Company of Angels is the oldest non-profit professional theater in Los Angeles. Its mission is to create theater that reflects the complex and diverse voices of the city. A recent partnership with Los Angeles’s Alexandria Hotel allowed residents of the low-income housing facility to create and perform a series of monologues and poems entitled Other Side of the Frame. This spring, the Company of Angels Playwrights Group presents L.A. Views V—the fifth in an annual series of takes on the organization’s home city. The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of emerging playwrights and performance artists. Self-produced events are scheduled between June 14 and June 24 in over twenty Los Angeles venues. With so many options, how is a theater-loving visitor to choose? “A theater is only as good as what it has on at the moment,” says
Dean Puzo. She recommends careful study of reviews in the L.A. Times and L.A. Weekly— “and always the famous word of mouth”—to help plan the most pleasing theater experience.
Photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Ballet
Photo courtesy of L.A.Contemporary Dance
ART AND MUSEUMS collector’s dream. Los Angeles boasts a staggering 105 museums, ranging from classic art, For a survey of science, and natural science museums to collections catering to highly spe- the city’s bustling art cialized interests—such as the Wende Museum, a collection of objects and scene, take part in documents from Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. the Downtown Art A must-see is the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Museum’s Brentwood Walk, a self-guided campus houses a massive collection of European oil paintings, includ- walking tour of ing Van Gogh’s Irises and Gauguin’s Arii Matamoe. The Getty Villa, in Downtown’s gallerMalibu, is home to a stunning collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan ies, museums, and artifacts. Through July 9, the Villa is hosting an exhibition on Aphrodite, exhibition halls. The while the Getty Center is currently featuring drawings of the Swiss and Walk takes place the German Renaissance. second Thursday of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the United States’ largest each month. art museum west of Chicago. With holdings of over 100,000 pieces, the seven-building complex attracts more than a million visitors annually. The DANCE museum’s stunning permanent collections of modern, American and Latin American, and Asian art offer an encyclopedic cross-section of artistry throughout the world and through"Invertigo" by L.A. Contemporary Dance out history. Through May 6, LACMA is hosting an exhibit of female Surrealists from the United States and Mexico. Los Angeles is home to several major If you have a particular affinity for condance companies. Founded in 2006, the temporary art, Los Angeles has an abundance Los Angeles Ballet is a comparatively of options for you. The Broad Contemporary new company that has quickly earned a Art Museum, designed by fabled architect reputation on par with some of the most Renzo Piano, is the most recent addition to venerable dance organizations in the the LACMA country. complex. The Founded and directed by vetMuseum of The Los Angeles Ballet perform "The Nutcracker." erans of the New York City Ballet, Contemporary husband and wife Thordal Christensen Art occupies three separate buildings: and Colleen Neary, the company focuses on beloved repertory pieces MOCA Grand Avenue downtown, the such as "The Nutcracker," which has been a staple since the its inauGeffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo, guration. As a former protégé of the legendary George Balanchine and and the Pacific Design Center in West a répétiteur of the George Balanchine Trust, Ms. Neary is a passionHollywood. And an unprecedented col- ate and adept exponent of the Balanchine legacy. The Los Angeles laborative initiative sponsored by the Getty Ballet’s current season features Tchaikovsky’s magical "Swan Lake" Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: Art in with original choreography by Christensen and Neary. The L.A. Contemporary Dance Company had its own unique origins in L.A. 1945-1980, highlights L.A.’s contribution to post-World War II art with exhibi- an arts management class at the University of Southern California. Michelle tions in over 60 cultural institutions across Mierz and Kate Hutter formed the company as a final project for the class, southern California. In the words of L.A. creating a business plan for a non-profit dance company serving the Los artist and critic Doug Harvey, the initiative Angeles area. With a company of nearly 20 dancers, L.A. Contemporary is “an enormous, ambitious walk-through crash course in L.A. modern art Dance maintains a busy schedule of performances and classes throughout the city. On May 17, the company will present a retrospective performance history … significant with a capital S.” Virtually every interest can be satisfied by a Los Angeles museum. For of highlights of their first five years at the Coachella Valley Repertory a survey of pop culture, visit the Hollywood Museum in the Max Factor Theater in Palm Springs. Other mainstays of the Los Angeles dance scene include Hysterica Building, the GRAMMY Museum, or Madam Tussaud's Hollywood Museum. Be dazzled by the Gemini 11 capsule on display at the California Dance Company, notable for its inventive costumes and high-energy acScience Center or view the most recently discovered solar system at The robatics, Diavolo Dance Theater, notable for its surrealistic sets and narGriffith Observatory. Consider your role as a citizen of the world at the ratives examining social issues, and L.A. Unbound, a collective of estabMuseum of Tolerance. Or ponder the eclectic curiosities of the Museum of lished and emerging choreographers working in collaboration in a variety of dance idioms. Jurassic Technology. With such a cornucopia of artistic ventures, from the tried-and-true to Art collectors have innumerable opportunities in Los Angeles to view and purchase artworks of the highest quality. Gallery Row, designated by the up-and-coming, from the lavish to the gritty, how could any visitor the City Council in 2003 to foster the growth of an incipient cultural district plumb the depth of L.A.’s cultural scene? The only option is to return again in downtown Los Angeles, is home to approximately 45 galleries on Main and again to this artistic haven, soak it all in and plan your next adventure, and Spring Streets between 2nd and 9th Streets. With equally vibrant gal- which any culture-loving visitor will want to do after getting just a taste of lery scenes in Chinatown, Culver City, and Bergamot Station, L.A. is an art what this stunning artistically-rich city has to offer.
CoastalBliss By JANELLE D'IORI
Los Angeles offers just about as much in the way of luxury accommodations as it does in first rate arts and culture. But for the Chicago vacationer, luxury and comfort are only the beginning when it comes to destination travel. And for that perfect home-away-from-home while basking in L.A. culture, it doesn’t get much better than Terranea Resort along the coast of the stunning vistas of Palos Verdes, CA. Just 30 miles west of the City of Angels, Terranea Resort is a coastal paradise that possesses just the right amount of grandeur, luxury, comfort and seclusion to make a trip to Los Angeles the perfect arts getaway. As you make the drive up the windy road along the Palos Verdes Penninsula to Terranea, you can’t help being distracted by the beautiful coastal view, taking in both the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. You will be even more impressed, however, as you turn onto the grounds and are greeted with its breathtaking views. The 120-acre oceanfront resort is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and is arguably one of the premier luxury resorts in all of Southern California. And its most impressive feature is nature itself. 36•CNCJASpring 2012
“Even though we have 102 acres, we have only 23 percent of it developed,” says Agnelo Fernandes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The rest is all open space.” The open space is by design, creating an atmosphere that is serene and based around nature. “The truth of the matter is that this is where people come to reconnect,” says Fernandes. “With nature, with family, with themselves….” The secluded Mediterranean style resort provides 90 percent of all guests with an ocean view and boasts such high-profile visitors as actress Sofia Vergara, actor and performer Will Smith and the Beckhams. In addition, it has been the featured location shoot for The Bachelor, known for it’s panoramic location shoots. For many couples, the resort often becomes a honeymoon getaway after their wedding. “We’ve had cases where people get married here and then cancel their honeymoon and stay here,” says Fernandes. With such striking panoramas, one would think the resort is located far from civilization. Yet Terranea is just 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles and 20 miles from both Los Angeles International and Long Above: Entrance to Terranea Resort; Inset: Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Penninsula on the coast of California.
Beach airports. Best of all, the average temperature for Rancho Palos Verdes is 75 degrees in June and 67 degrees in December. Not a bad deal either way. Aside from the weather and location, the resort is also extremely unique in its diverse lodging options, restaurant choices, and activities. With over 582 rooms, Terranea offers several different luxurious options for your stay along the coast, including spacious villas, exclusive casitas and bungalows and lavishly appointed hotel rooms—each with its own private terrace. Many of the units offer fully stocked professional kitchens that chefs would envy. The warm, opulent décor of the units, decked with fireplaces indoors and out, stays true to the West Coast feel of the resort. “Something we’re really known for and what makes us really unique are our number of fireplaces and fire pits,” says Fernandes. With over 250 in total, Fernandes says they’re a flavor of California (where it can become quite brisk in the evening) and a great gathering point for families. “There’s a significance of fire and the attraction to it and really bringing families together. It’s a way they can engage and connect.” Villas: The two, three, and four bedrooms villas offer an airy living room, full kitchen, and private garage, with select units including an outdoor fireplace and hot tub. The front row of the villas lies on the golf course while the back row sets a bit more elevated, offering an even more expansive view of the ocean. Casitas: Claiming some of the most breathtaking views, the casitas include a small kitchen, living room and private laundry facilities. They also include a detached room with private entry so parents, grandparents (or teens) can enjoy coveted seclusion. Bungalows: Just steps away from the spa, the bungalows are geared towards providing a healthy and relaxing getaway. Exclusive to those staying in the bungalows are access to the Spa Café, complimentary access to the spa pool and amenities, and a personal concierge to handle requests. The rooms are perfect for the new health and wellness retreats
Fernandes says are in the works for the resort. Hotel: The hotel is comprised of 326 rooms and 34 suites, each ranging from 450 to 2,200 square feet in size. It offers spectacular resort views and oceanviews with standard amenities including separate tubs and showers, wireless internet, iPod docking stations and large LCD flatscreen televisions. Each room also offers a private terrace. Family Amenities: The resort prides itself on being both family-friendly and pet-friendly. The only places kids to do not have access to are the adult pool and the spa. “Everything is family driven,” says Fernandes. “If the resort were a car we’d compare it to a Range Rover with surfboards on top and bikes on the back.” Special units are designated for guests wanting to bring pets, and specific areas around the resort, such as the picnic area outside of Nelson’s, accommodate canines as well. Dining: With over eight dining options on the resort, there is definitely something for everyone at any time of the day. Mar’sel is the resort’s gem, an award-winning fine dining experience with California cuisine
Left: The Links at Terranea Resort; Top: Lobby entrance; Top inset: Villa Patio; Bottom inset: Villa bedroom and terrace (photos by A. Cole). Spring 2012CNCJA•37
"The truth of the matter is that this is where with family, with themselves….” -Agnelo Fernandes, Vice President of Sales &
Casitas at Terranea
from Chef Michael Fiorelli. The resort’s local garden provides herbs and vegetables used for the seasonally changing menu, which includes a moon rising menu. “You actually get to see the moon come up while you’re sitting at Mar’sel,” says Fernandes. If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, Nelson’s provides both a spectacular view and a laid back atmosphere. The restaurant is named after Lloyd Bridges’ character on the late 50’s television show Sea Hunt, with photos and memorabilia displayed throughout the eatery. The food is just as amazing as the view of the dolphins you’ll see swimming by during lunch. Other dining options include Terranea Grill, Catalina kitchen (famous for their Sunday brunches), the Lobby Bar & Lounge, the Spa Café, Cielo Point and Sea Beans (which has delicious, house-made gelato). Golf: Enjoying a round of golf is a must-do during your stay at the 38•CNCJASpring 2012
resort. The Links at Terranea is a nine-hole, par 3 course rated number two of the Top 10 Par 3 Courses by Golf Magazine. The course is integrated into the resort’s natural surroundings creating an experience that is both breathtaking and serene. According to Fernandes, the golf course is always packed. With tee placements from 173 yards and under, the course is perfect for new golfers or young children. It’s a great way to spend time with the family while relishing the beautiful "SoCal" weather. If you’re new to the game, consider taking lessons, which are offered as either private or semiprivate. The resort also provides golf accessories, premium club rentals, walking carts, and apparel. Activities: Marea is Terranea’s retail boutique, named for the Italian and Spanish words for tide. The high-end boutique showcases resort wear, adventure apparel and jewelry made locally specifically for the store.
people come to reconnect...with nature,
Photo courtesy of Terranea Resort
Marketing, Terranea Resort
There are also many different activities at the resort for families and kids to enjoy, including numerous different pools, Pointe Discovery, and the Tide Pool Kids Club. The main pool has a 140-foot waterslide with a splash zone and the adults-only pool is located right along the beach. Pointe Discovery is a one-stop-shop for those interested in creative, customized activities while on vacation. The concierge can set you up with kayaking, surfing, fishing, biking, horseback riding, or scuba diving excursions. As Fernandes points out, “At Terranea you can keep it as serene as you want it to be, but you can also go crazy.” The Tide Pool Kids Club offers half-day and full-day camps for kids that include Ocean Exploration, Earth Day and Wild Wild West. The Club is a perfect place to send the kids while you relax at the spa or take in a round of golf. Relax: A real vacation wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the
spa. Indulge yourself in a day filled with ocean views, health and wellness treatments, and overall luxury. The spa was strategically built on the ocean in order to give it a peaceful feel. As Fernandes explains, “They wanted the spa to be built so you feel the connection to the ocean.” The Spa at Terranea comes complete with steam rooms, a pool, hot tub, and cold plunge, among other features. Enjoy extravagant spa treatments and breathtaking vistas. There’s more to come where this is concerned (my own review follows). Suffice it to say, they had to peel me away! Terranea Resort and Spa is a hidden jewel nestled along the beautiful coast on the outskirts of Los Angeles; a perfect place to get away and reconnect. The majestic resort is almost indescribable to those who have never been. Fernandes sums it up succinctly by saying, “The true experience comes when you actually get to stay here. That’s the key.” Spring 2012CNCJA•39
By JANELLE D'IORI
There’s nothing quite like having a soothing therapeutic of the grooming essentials, Terranea’s Spa leaves no details to spare. The sauna and steam room eagerly await you behind a welcome desk massage while overlooking the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and melting to the soothing sounds of waves stocked thoughtfully with cold lemon water and cucumber ice-soaked crashing along the shore. At Terranea Spa such an experi- washcloths. Just outside the lounge is a balcony housing a fifty-two degree cold plunge pool, a rejuvenating hot tub, an inviting fire pit, where you can ence not only exists, it’s the norm. The Terranea Spa is nestled neatly within the stunning lounge and relax while soaking up the sun. The Inside Waiting Lounge, also 102-acre luxury vacation spot on California’s coast. And perched on the boasting an enticing view, offers hot tea, water and an array of treats. edge of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it boasts a 50,000 square-foot spa, fitness and wellness center, and full-service salon, all overlooking the magnificent Pacific. With nature serving as a key factor in the spa’s ambiance, its view and surroundings are a significant part of what makes it such a unique experience. “This is about nature,” says Spa Director Melinda Milner. “This is about being true to the land and where we are because it’s so special and unique.” Special and unique seem like understatements when you find yourself soaking in a copper tub while lulled by the calming sounds of the ocean’s waves just a stone’s throw away. Yet Nature is still just a part of the experience. The spa revolves around the idea that total The Terranea Spa Treatment Room boasts a view of the resort pool and the Pacific Ocean. wellness is a crucial part of not only the treatMy treatment was completed in a gorgeously chic room comprising a ments clients receive there, but also of everyday life. Milner points out that many people are good about taking care of themselves physically, but can be copper bathtub, plush massage table, shower and one of the most beautiful lacking when it comes to emotional wellness, and that’s all a part of the same views the peninsula can offer. I was arrested by a wonderfully tranquil scent picture. “Physical wellness is just as soon as I entered. The 60 minute treatment entailed a 10 minute bath with Tranquility bath one part of the whole story,” says oils, a soothing body wrap, and a light massage. Milner believes this treatMilner. “Total wellness is about ment will be one of the spa's most popular. physical, mental, and spiritual wellWhen asked which treatment she would recommend for guests, being. It’s about finding balance.” The resort’s treatments are Melinda was hesitant to pick just one. The most popular treatment, howbased on this idea while coinciding ever, is the Classical Massage and the Volcanic Clay Wrap (for non-massage with the body’s natural circadian enthusiasts). After my treatment I was led to their relaxation room with the same gorrhythm. Treatments like the Crystal Quartz Scrub, meant to energize geous view, lushly adorned sofas, and a fireplace to wind down. I finished and revive, are offered in the morn- my day with lunch at the spa’s café, which offered everything from smoothing hours, while treatments geared ies to sushi rolls. Outside of the café was a large pool that offered comfortable surroundmore toward relaxation, such as the ings to help you escape and unwind and prolong an exquisite experience of Balneo Specifics, are offered in the wellness and relaxation. evening. “Really that’s just getting The resort’s fitness and wellness center is open to all guests and offers back to nature, it’s not anything new,” says Milner. “It’s having personal training, fitness classes, nature walks, and a yoga studio. The 5,000 treatments that compliment where square-foot center includes a large variety of state-of-the-art fitness equipment, including treadmills, elliptical cross trainers, and cardio bikes. you are in the cycle of the day.” In addition to the fitness center, the spa also has its own full-service saI was lucky enough to be the Terranea Spa's Treatment room with sunken Copper Tub. first to experience the spa’s new lon, offering hair services as well as manicures, pedicures, waxings, and stylTranquility Treatment, which is ing. It’s easy to create an entire day (or two) of fitness classes, lounging by now being offered to all guests. My experience began as soon as I walked the pool, salon and spa treatments. The entire experience will make you feel through the doors. After a round of warm greetings by the spa’s welcoming like a celebrity. Pop superstar Mariah Carey must have thought so. She was staff, I was taken through their trendy shop, past an inviting fireplace and the a guest at Terranea for an entire month prior to giving birth to her twins. spa’s café to the Women’s Lounge. I was given all the tools for a rejuvenat- Needless to say, most of her time was spent at the spa. ing afternoon at the spa. Everything from a luxuriantly plush bathrobe to all 40•CNCJASpring 2012
Photos by Arthur Coleman
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cultural happenings Ba r o q ue
Br i l l i a n c e After triumphant performances last season with Baroque Band, Chicago's period-instrument orchestra, and soprano Lucy Crowe, international conductor and harpsichordist Harry Bicket will return this spring to guest direct an all-Handel program featuring sterling counter-tenor Iestyn Davies. Davies has already debuted this year in New York's Carnegie Hall and
The Metropolitan Opera. In Chicago, he will debut in Lyric's production of Handel's Rinaldo alongside a debut at LaScala later this season. Fans of baroque music won't want to miss this uniquely authentic collaboration. The concert promises to be one of the Chicagoland area's most important period programs this season.
Sweet Sounds In January, Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater
Chicago launched Sonic Sensation, an exhibit designed by the Sciencenter in Ithaca, N.Y. that provides an exhilarating and enlightening way for children to explore sounds through interactive experiences. Sonic Sensation teaches adults and children about the anatomy and physics of how we hear. Kohl Children’s Museum President and CEO Sheridan Turner believes the exhibit will open young minds to the wonders of sound that we take for granted every day. “Sound is a phenomenon that can be mysterious,” Turner notes, “this exhibit will spark curiosity and provide many opportunities for little ones to discover their own senses can be fun and intriguing.” The 1,200 square foot exhibition includes eleven interactive stations providing children with new ways to learn about sounds, exploring concepts like decibels, amplitude, frequency, pitch, sound waves, and what you can do to protect your hearing. Sonic Sensation will run at Kohl through May 13, 2012.
The Chicago Academy for the Arts (CAA) has announced details for the hotly anticipated A Taste for the Arts/30th Anniversary Gala. The event will be held May 10, 2012 at the Harris Theater and Millennium Park Terrace in downtown Chicago. The school’s 20th anniversary year and year-long series of events will culminate with an exciting performance and culinary event and is expected to be attended by many of Chicago’s arts and civic leaders. Hosted by Rick and Deann Bayless and Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis, the gala will highlight student and alumni art and performance alongside the dazzling cuisine of some of Chicago’s hottest chefs, including Bayless himself. Mayor Rahm Emanuel will serve as honorary chair for the event. Tickets start at $350 for individuals, with reserved tables starting at $5,000. For more information, contact email@example.com
Three Voices, One Dance!
Three distinct artistic voices—staples in Chicago’s independent dance scene and emerging as leaders in the larger dance community—will team up for Receiver, a shared program exploring the varying degrees of theatricality in contemporary dance. The Space/Movement Project, Rachel Damon/ Synapse Arts and Erica Mott will each premiere a work for the program. The evening will unfold in a continuous exploration of theatrical forms, providing the audience with an opportunity to absorb different approaches to the art of contemporary dance. The Space/Movement Project performs the premiere of "Kiss Kiss Missiles," a work choreographed by all seven members of the collaborative—Larisa Eastman, Allyson Esposito, Anne Kasdorf, Chloe Nisbett, Leah Raffanti, Megan Schneeberger and Stacy Wolfson—combining misunderstandings of present-day interaction with social dance tradition. Throughout the vigorous dance-theater work "Without Pause," the performers transform from a playful, amorphous group to four unique individuals who eventually abandon pretense and give in to their natural fierceness. "Five Gaits, Four Walls, Fourteen Knots," Erica Mott’s premiere for five men, explores masculinity and territoriality in the Western U.S. and Iceland, using the mythical motif of the outlaw hero and its impact on our understanding of our own culture, personal identity and other cultures. The innovative performance will take place at 8 p.m., March 8-10, 2012 at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.
Clockwise from top left: Conductor and harpsichordist Harry Bicket (photo by Richard Haughton); Sonic Sensation at Kohl's Children's Museum (photo by Steven Kowalski); Deann Bayless, Donna LaPietra, Bill Kurtis and Chef Rick Bayless (photo courtesy of the CAA); Dancers perform works from "Receiver" a contermporary dance program performed this spring at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago (photo courtesy of The Dance Center of Columbia Chicago).
Photo by Lillia Rodchenko
C u lt u r a l a l m a nac
Photos from left: Batsheva Dance Company (Photo courtesy of Batsheva Dance Company; Members of Eighth Blackbird (photo by Luke Ratray); American Ballet Theatre perform "Giselle" (Photo courtesy of The American Ballet Theatre); Baroque Band Ensemble (Photo courtesy of Baroque Band).
The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
Photos from left:Leroy McClain in The Convert playing at Goodman Theatre (Photo by T. Charles Erickson); John Judd in The Feast - An Intimate Tempest playing at Shakespeare Theatre (Photo by Michael Brosilow); Co-Adaptor Marc Rosich with André De Shields (Baron De Charlus) during rehearsals of Camino Real playing at Goodman Theatre (Photo by Liz Lauren); Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble Member Sally Murphy in Time Stands Still (Photo by Michael Brosilow).
Conquering Photo © Yu Shan
By DAVID BERNER
¨ ¨ Khan, as the capital of the Mongol Empire. Karakorum was established, after 1235 by Genghis Kahn's third son and successor, Ogodei
Fierce warrior or perennial statesman? The Field Museum's new exhibit Genghis Khan sheds new light on the archetypal warrior and the culture he dominated.
There are universal qualities we desire in our cultural, political and spiritual leaders: someone who believes in individual freedoms like free expression and religion tolerance; someone who can unify people and encourage a commitment to diversity; a leader who is innovative and ahead of his time. Someone like the feared Mongol warrior Genghis Khan? “He was all those things,” says Tom Skwerski, the Project Manager for the new exhibition at The Field Museum on the great leader of the Mongol Empire. “But he also wiped out entire populations of people. Some of what we hear in popular culture is absolutely
A representation of the palace in Genghis Kahn's grandson, Kublai Khan, ordered the retreat built north of his Beijing palace, the Forbidden City.
true. Genghis Khan was brutal, ruthless.” The Field Museum hopes those who visit Genghis Khan—a new exhibition that opened to the public on February 24—will experience what historians say was Khan’s perplexing duality, his complexities, 46•CNCJASpring 2012
and come to understand the lasting legacy of the man and his empire, rather than a caricature from modern media. “In so much of popular culture Genghis Khan is seen as a destroyer, a conqueror. But for his people he was a statesman. He gave them a written language, even developed a postal system,” says Skwerski. The portrayal of Genghis Khan in modern civilization is not necessarily a false one. However, the lines between myth, legend, and reality are often quite skewed. After all, the all-American actor John Wayne was cast as the Mongolian warrior in the 1956 film, The Conqueror. Skwerski laughs when he thinks of the man Hollywood nicknamed “Duke” as the Mongolian emperor. “I can’t think of anyone more unlike Genghis Khan than Wayne,” says Skwerski. Omar Sharif played Khan in the 1965 film about his dominance, and some might see that portrayal as at least minimally better than Wayne’s. But still, American movies have been unable to capture a true representation of the ruler. “Genghis Khan was even characterized in Night at the Museum as he usually is, a brutal warlord,” adds Skwerski. Still, The Field Museum’s Associate Curator of Eurasian Anthropology, Bill Parkinson, believes these modern portrayals are not necessarily bad things. After all, he says, the popular interpretations fuel a certain curiosity about Khan that undoubtedly will attract visitors to The Field Museum’s exhibition. “That cult of personality is not an accident. There’s truth to it,” says Parkinson. “It made him (Khan) an effective ruler. In his time, his name alone would put absolute fear into millions of people. Today the museum can use that cult of personality as a vehicle to help tell more interesting things about the man and the world.” Genghis Khan, the exhibition, focuses on the life of the unrivaled conqueror, his legendary empire and his lasting influences on world culture, taking visitors on a journey through the largest single collection of 13th century Mongolian artifacts ever assembled. The 200 objects include a magnificent display of jewelry, silk robes, religious relics, and the recently discovered mummy and tomb treasures of “The Princess Giant,” a Mongolian noblewoman given that name because of her unusual height.
Genghis Kahn (photo ©OK photography)
in a controlled, civilized manner. The exhibition has two such passports on display. But what may be Khan’s most eternal legacy is his DNA. “Khan had at least five wives, and some 500 concubines, and his genes are everywhere,” says Skwerski. A study published by The American Journal of Human Genetics suggests Genghis Khan might be considered the most prolific procreator in history. The journal reports close to 8-percent of the men living today in the region of the former Mongol Empire carry the identical Y-chromosome as Khan. This would mean Genghis Khan has more than 16 million living descendants. Still, the legacy of one man is also the legacy of an astonishing empire. “The exhibit is not so much the story of this ‘guy’—although that is certainly interesting— but the story of how an empire emerged and how it’s similar and different to others,” says Parkinson. “I hope visitors leave the exhibition knowing that the classical empires of the Western world—the Greek and Roman Empires—are not the only exceptional empires, and certainly not the largest.” On the floor of the exhibition is an animated map designed to illustrate the vast reaches of the Mongol Empire, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the gates of Vienna at the peak of its power. The murals and video projections in the exhibition place visitors in battlefields to experience the sights and sounds of warriors on galloping horses, the mode of transportation for the massive armies of Khan’s empire. “The biography of one amazing individual is giving us a look at what empires really are and a good understanding of the complexities of human cultures,” adds Parkinson. The exhibition also gives a foundation and understanding to what came after the rule of Genghis Khan. He died in the year 1227 and his burial place remains an archeological mystery. One account claims 800 horsemen trampled over the burial grounds to obscure the site. Other soldiers then killed the horsemen so they could neve r disclose its location. After his death, Genghis Khan’s third son and successor, Ögödei, established Karakorum as the empire’s capital, and visitors to The Field Museum will experience a glimpse of the once cosmopolitan city through a recreated setting and collection of archeological finds, including coins, ceramics, and textiles. And in the final section of the exhibition, one can trace the events that led to the fall of the Mongol Empire and learn about Kublai Khan, the most famous of Genghis Khan’s grandsons. Kublai Khan's leadership laid the foundation of what we now know as modern China. You can visit Genghis Khan at the Field Museum through September 3, 2012. Find out more by visiting fieldmusuem.org or by calling 1-866-FIELD-03. PHOTOS © OK PHOTOGRAPHY
But what might be most impressive is the array of Mongol Empire weaponry, shedding light on Genghis Khan’s epic battlefield prowess, brutality and military cunning. “There are swords and crossbows, and whistling arrows, a weapon Khan’s armies used to terrify enemies,” says Skwerski. The display also includes a full-scale replica of a traction trebuchet, a weapon used for throwing large stones. “(Khan) controlled his vast empire—one of 11 million square miles across Eastern Europe and Asia, and four times as big as the Roman Empire—through fierce military force but also with a certain diplomacy.” Through a number of videos and immersive installations, the exhibition tells the complete story of Temüjin (Khan’s real name): his birth in 1162; the early death of his father; his own imprisonment at the hands of a warring tribe; the kidnapping of his young wife—one of many spouses— and eventually how he united many Mongol clans and proclaimed himself Genghis Khan, meaning “Oceanic Ruler” or “Universal Ruler.” “There was this distinct duality about Khan,” says Skwerski. “He was this warrior, but he also required powerful diplomatic skills to control this enormous empire and an incredible ability to understand a multi-cultural empire.” Over a period of just 25 years, Khan’s army conquered more lands and peoples than the Romans did during their entire 400-year rule. But it wasn’t just a matter of simple acquisition. Genghis Khan and his descendants—including his well-known grandson, Kublai Khan—merged smaller countries into larger ones, developing international borders for countries that still stand today, including Korea, India, and China. Still, Genghis Khan’s place in history includes contradictions. His armies burned cities to the ground and eliminated entire populations, yet he was an innovative leader who brought stability to his vast empire, encouraged education, and opened trade between Asia and parts of Europe. “Genghis Khan was a savvy statesman. He knew that just grabbing land wouldn’t hold an empire together,” says Parkinson. “His armies took over land quickly, expanded quickly, but permitted diverse ways of life in those lands—even the religious beliefs of the people—to be incorporated into the larger culture very effectively.” Visitors to the exhibition can also explore ancient Mongolian society, a nomadic people who lived on the grasslands. As you enter the exhibition, one experiences a life-size replica of a traditional dwelling, a ger. This tent-like structure is a portable home that allowed the Mongolian tribesman to pack up and move quickly and easily. There are some in Mongolia today who still live this way. Genghis Khan’s far-reaching legacy is also an integral part of the exhibition. In many ways, his empire changed the world. He’s credited with not only establishing a postal system and an early version of the pony express, but also the concept of diplomatic immunity, wilderness preservation parks, and with creating the first passports, a way of traveling through the empire
From top: Mongolian saddle made of leather and wood, 13th century; Gold alloy bracelet found in Karakorum, 14th century; Gold and pearl queen's hat ornament dating to the 13th century; Steel and silver paizi, or passport, from Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)
1800 South Prairie Avenue 312.326.1480 Chicago, IL 60616 www.glessnerhouse.org Tours offered Wednesday - Sunday at 1:00 and 3:00pm This National Historic Landmark, designed in 1885-1886 by Henry Hobson Richardson, is ranked among the most important residences designed in the 19th century. Located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, the home features most of its original furnishings including pieces by Isaac Scott, William Morris, William DeMorgan, Émilé Gallé, and many others. Experience Chicago’s Gilded Age at its finest!
Just visit ClefNotesJournal.com/special and sign up for four great issues of Chicagoland's premier magazine for culture & the performing arts. And when you sign up during the month of March, you qualify for our spring Subscriber Rewards drawing for two tickets to attend the spring performances of American Ballet Theatre or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the Auditorium Theatre! For more information call 773.741.5502.
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The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's Rachel McLaren
Photo by Andrew Eccles
Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's new Artistic Director is on mission to give an unprecidented look at the prestigious dance company. He's elected to fill the program of his inaugural season with an ecclectic slate of works highlighted by brand new additions to the Alvin Ailey repertoire. The program, which receives its Chicago debut at the Auditorium Theatre this spring, promises a look into the company's incredibly dexterous atististic range. As Brett Batterson, Auditorium Theatre artistic director points out, "This program blends the cutting edge with modern dance masterpieces to showcase the breadth and range of the company's talents. The diversity of the pieces chosen by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle, from Rennie Harris’ club move-inspired 'Home' to Paul Taylor’s graceful and romantic 'Arden Court' to Battle’s own percussive, fast-paced 'Takademe'...will give audiences the opportunity to see Ailey dancers as never before. For his first season as Artistic Director, Battle has chosen to add to the repertory a rich array of premieres and new productions that express his vision for the company while honoring some of his most significant artistic influences. Chicago audiences can get a fresh take on Alvin Ailey when they introduce Battle's wide-ranging program at The Auditorium Theatre April 11-15, 2012.
52â€˘CNCJASpring 2012 The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
Clutter Explores Humanity through Sibling Dynamics
MSI's Energy Enlightens and Inspires By ALEX KEOWN
Photo Courtesy of Greenhouse Theatre
Brotherly love is the theme in the Madkap Productions staging of Clutter: the True Story of the Collyer Brothers Who Never Threw Anything Out at Greenhouse Theatre Center in Lincoln Park. The true-life titular brothers, notorious shut-ins and hoarders, famously left behind 130 tons of items (including pickled human organs, an x-ray machine, and fourteen pianos) in their Fifth Avenue Harlem brownstone when they died in 1947. In this play by Mark Saltzman, Sergeant Reilly Dolan and Patrolman Kevin Dolan, two fictional brothers, work to find the suddenly missing Langley Collyer after receiving a mysterious tip about a dead body in the Collyers’ home. The play follows the unraveling of one central mystery: is there actually a dead body, or is this just another rumor about the eccentric hoarders living on Fifth Avenue? And in doing so, it utilizes many flashbacks effectively to show the life of the Collyer brothers from the time that their father moved out to the time of their eventual demise. It’s a credit to the set designers that these flashbacks are staged successfully with the simple use of a scrim that separates the front of the stage from the back, both depicting two separate locations within the city. The Collyer brothers are fascinating to watch. Older brother Homer, a grumpy lawyer (played effortlessly by Edward Kuffert) constantly chides his younger brother Langley (played with warmth by Andrew J. Pond) for Langley’s incessant piano playing and for the younger brother’s inflated belief in his musical talents. On the other hand, when Homer takes ill later in life, Langley ends Andrew J. Pond and Edward Kuffert in Clutter playing at the Greenhouse up serving as his only Theatre Center in Lincoln Park. caretaker, sometimes taking such care as to travel all over the city simply to bring Homer a loaf of his preferred black bread. The Dolan brothers, played by Joe Mack (Reilly Dolan) and Michael J. Bullaro (Kevin Dolan), have a unique relationship as well. Kevin struggles with situations that trigger flashbacks to his time in WWII skirmishes—in particular, the confined, rat-ridden space they find when they enter the Collyer home. The conflicts that arise from these scenes aptly draw clear parallels to the Collyer brothers’ own angst. There are moments in the play where the humor devolves a bit into oneliners and mugging, and there are also times when some of the actors struggle with making the requisite Catholic jokes seem anything but over the top. Yet the audience at the Greenhouse Theatre still responds appreciatively. As the play progresses, we find that Langley has begun booby trapping the house, his eccentric solution to neighborhood looters (a solution that ultimately leads to his demise). Overall, Madkap’s Clutter successfully stages a story that, ironically, could easily burst from the scenes, but with skilled writing, ends up fitting the two act structure well. (Throughout the play, the Collyer brothers draw us in with a refrain that even the mildest packrat knows well: “This might be worth something someday.”) But the humanity brought to the pairs of brothers throughout the play creates a taught line through which the story’s message streams nicely.
Photo by J. B. Spector
By JIM WITHINGTON
The Powerful: African Americans in Energy exhibit at The Museum of Science and Industry.
If you ever wanted to putter around with understanding energy consumption in the United States, then the Museum of Science and Industry has the exhibit for you—complete with a miniature golf course. Powerful: African Americans in Energy provides a dual role in both informing visitors about different kinds of energy used in the United States as well as the roles played in the industry by leading African Americans, including Frank Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Edison. The exhibit, which is primarily aimed at school age children, is part of the Museum of Science and Industry’s 2012 Black Creativity Program. The real attraction in the exhibit is the putt-putt course designed to teach players about the different sources from which energy is derived in the United States. Visitors won’t contend with putting around large gorillas, but they will have to be on the lookout for the windmill. What miniature golf course is complete without a windmill? Upon entry to the exhibit visitors are issued a putter, a golf ball and an energy scorecard. Each “hole” features a major energy source used throughout the U.S., including oil and coal; nuclear; solar; wind; hydro; natural gas; biofuels, and conservation. Upon completion of each hole, visitors can note the environmental pros and cons of each energy offering. Visitors will also learn how each energy source is delivered and where it’s primarily used. For example, did you know that Illinois is the state with the highest number of nuclear reactors? As for cultivation and history of those energy sources, while placards along the walls of the space and a video at the end of the exhibit do a good job of beginning the discussion of the important contributions of African Americans in energy, that component of the exhibit’s message could have been even more amplified given the scarcity of the discussion in the world-atlarge. Another area that could have been augmented was the discussion of the economics surrounding U.S. energy policy. Yet the exhibit does an excellent job in describing the types of energy sources used in the U.S. and points nicely to ideas and responsibilities we all share in energy conservation. Exhibit visitors are given hints on how to conserve energy in their own lives. Museum staff provide several useful conservation tips that run the gamut of difficulty in terms of implementation. At the end of the exhibit, visitors have an opportunity to vote on the type of energy policy they would like to see the United States pursue. They are provided three choices: “Goodness Greenness,” which encourages the pursuit of green energy options; “A Balance Diet,” which looks at a compromise between green energy options and more traditional means, including nuclear; and “You Know the Drill,” which calls for following traditional energy sources such as oil and coal. Powerful: African Americans in Energy runs at the Museum of Science and Industry through April 15, 2012. Spring 2012CNCJA•53
Photos from left: Conductor John Nelson of The Chicago Bach Project (Photo by David Zaugh); Renee Tatum will sing Medea in The Chicago Opera Theater production of Teseo (Photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater); Members of Chicago a Cappella (Photo by Jennifer Girard); Sara Heat will sing Lidochka in The Chicago Opera Theater production of Moscow, Cheryomushki (Photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater).
The CNCJA Cultural Almanac listings are representative of schedules from participating institutions available at time of publication.
Museum listings for ongoing or permanent exhibits may be found on pages 51 and 52.
Arts & Education
By MYRON SILBERSTEIN
In his final year as general director, Brian Dickie will leave the Chicago Opera Theater as the leader in opera audience education and development in the United States.
Chicago Opera Theater general director Brian Dickie. Photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater.
From many perspectives, opera public-school arts education, and the develop- December, citing a $500,000 deficit. Orlando performance in the United States ment of opera’s future audiences appears particu- Opera closed in 2009 after 51 years of operation today is suffering from a dearth in larly problematic. A 2011 NEA report concludes when a fundraiser produced only $25,000 of a pronew audiences. A 2008 report by that arts education has a more potent impact on jected $500,000. New York City Opera reduced its the National Endowment for the arts attendance than any other measurable factor. season to a scant sixteen performances and, as of Arts indicated that only two per- Among individuals who did not receive child- this writing, is in contract disputes over a proposed cent of adults surveyed had attended a live opera hood arts education, less than one-third attend transition from salary to per-performance comperformance in the preceding year, the lowest rate arts events of any kind—and in 2008, less than pensation for orchestra and chorus members. since the NEA began tracking attendance in 1982. half of 18-year-olds had received any form of arts Within this climate, however, Brian Dickie, While audiences have dioutgoing general direcminished over the past tor of Chicago Opera thirty years for all performTheater, is refreshingly ing arts, the NEA report The city’s arts community, after all, is in large part a product of Brian sanguine about the future stressed that the decline in of opera. Statistics notopera audiences was most Dickie’s inestimable influence. Through programs like Opera for All withstanding, Dickie persevere. and Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, a new generation of opera- ceives “a huge amount of Opera audiences today support for opera among tend to be largely older, lovers has come both to the stage and to the concert hall. This audi- younger audiences” and wealthy, and skewed to- ence has a cultivated understanding about the art form both in the sees “a very, very large ward the highly educated. number of … people abstract and experientially. According to the NEA refrom twelve to fifteen port, over ninety-nine peryears old” at COT perforcent of adult opera-goers mances. Indeed, Chicago have attended college, and Opera Theater has been two thirds have completed college. One out of ev- education. at the forefront of community opera education, ery five opera-goers is over the age of sixty-five. Opera companies throughout the United States bringing awareness of opera to Chicago’s young Over half earn more than $75,000 a year, and are suffering the effects of recent trends in opera people and inspiring future audiences to engage more than a quarter earn over $150,000. awareness. Opera Boston, Boston’s second-largest with the art form. Add to this picture the widespread decline in opera company, announced its closure this past 56•CNCJASpring 2012
COT’s Opera for All program was established in 2000 during Mr. Dickie’s first full season as general director. The program brings COT teaching artists to four Chicago public elementary schools, in which students are exposed to professional performances and create original productions. The 2010-2011 season of Opera for All culminated in an opera entitled School Rules! featuring songs such as “Pizza Day” and “We Want Chocolate Milk” with lyrics written by participating students. Opera for All’s focus on participation-based activities is of fundamental importance, says Mr. Dickie: “I believe very strongly in participation. One of the reasons I got excited about music as a child was because I sang,” he explains. “I learned to read music as I was reading words.” By participating in the creation of opera, the concept of opera becomes ingrained in students’ understanding. When teaching students about an art form, Dickie asserts, “it’s extremely important to … allow children to actually do it, not just to wonder” about how other people work within the art form. Operating throughout the academic year, Opera for All’s teaching artists are a continual presence in young students’ lives. Opera, consequently, becomes as much a part of the rhythms of the students’ year as any other school activity. The program’s approach to libretto-writing
further personalizes students’ experience both of opera in general and of the current COT season. Each year’s program focuses on a theme suggested by one of Chicago Opera Theater’s mainstage productions. This season, the theme is inspired by the upcoming COT production of Handel’s Teseo, in which Theseus returns incognito to Athens and finds himself embroiled in familial and political intrigue. COT teaching artists will guide Opera for All participants to write personally meaningful lyrics evoking adventures, quests, and discoveries. The concept is ingenious in its ability to get to the core of what brings opera goers to performances each season: an innate love of the medium sprung from the clear understanding of its chief components and how they convey a composer’s message. Opera for All’s efforts to make the medium personal is in keeping with Chicago Opera Theater’s overall mission of demystifying opera, showing it to be an expression of universal feelings and experiences rather than a rarefied, distant and inaccessible art form. Brian Dickie believes it is crucial to debunk the default image of opera and opera characters. Rather, he aims to bring “characters to our stage with whom audiences can identify. All
… characters” on an opera stage, says Dickie, “should be specimens of the human race.” Whereas Opera for All focuses on elementary-school students’ creation and production of original operas, the audition-based Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, a collaboration with the late Maggie Daley’s landmark After School Matters program, offers talented teenagers instruction in classical vocal technique. Inaugurated in 2006, the program meets at Gallery 37 three times a week for three hours per session in two semesters of ten weeks each. Last season’s spring semester culminated in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. In addition to vocal instruction, students participate in set painting, costume design, and general stagecraft. Chicago Opera Theater for Teens teaching artist Marta Johnson estimates that slightly more than a quarter of the 30 students who participate in the program each semester are already familiar
with opera. Another 50 percent or so enjoy singing but have not experienced opera. Johnson notes a remarkable transformation among the students in this second group during the ten-week semester. Initially viewing opera as an esoteric art form, students tend to be wary of a request to sing in what they perceive an unnatural, “weird” way. After ten weeks of exposure and instruction, though, the skeptical students are usually “super excited,” as Johnson explains, and the progress they have made and about the techniques they have learned, “can be applied to any form of singing they’re involved with.” Perhaps most important, Chicago Opera Theater for Teens develops a student's ear for op-
Photos (Top): Students participate in developing their own opera production in Chicago Opera Theater's innovative Opera for All opera education program; (Middle) Students perform an original opera developed by participants in COT's Opera for All program; (Left): Students at COT's annual gala event, which raises funds for the company's opera education programs. Photos courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater. Spring 2012CNCJA•57
era. It is common, Johnson says, to hear students comparing reactions to professional performances that they have heard of the pieces they are studying. Participants in the program rapidly come to favor specific singers and conductors. They are passionate about operatic stories and the relationships between operatic characters. They develop a level of appreciation desirable in an opera audience of any age. Just as Chicago Opera Theater’s education programs introduce young people to the range and breadth of opera, COT’s mainstage programming explores an unusually rich cross-section of the operatic repertoire. This April will see a new English adaptation, commissioned by COT, of Shostakovich’s satirical operetta Moscow, Cheryomushki. The production will mark the twenty-first Chicago premiere of Brian Dickie’s tenure as general director. Such standard repertoire pieces as Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice and Owen Wingrave saw their Chicago premieres under Dickie’s stewardship. In recent years, COT has introduced Chicago to works as varied as John Adams’s A Flowering Tree and French Baroque composer MarcAntoine Charpentier’s Médée. The upcoming season balances unfamiliar works such as the Shostakovich premiere and Handel’s Teseo with Mozart’s beloved The Magic Flute. It’s fitting, then, that this fall Dickie will be passing the torch to an incoming successor, Andreas Mitisek, who shares so closely his passion for innovation. Mitisek’s work with Long Beach Opera on the West Coast has been a consummate realization of Chicago Opera Theater’s own tagline: Opera Less Ordinary. Mitisek believes that the main challenge to a modern-day opera company is the common perception of “what opera is.” The task of an opera producer, Mitisek asserts, is to “redefine the boundaries of what constitutes opera.” To that end, he has encouraged Long Beach Opera to work in unusual performance spaces, “taking opera outside the sacred temple” of the theater and “making the space part of the experience.” Mitisek staged a production of Grigori Frid’s The Diary of Anne Frank in an underground parking garage to great acclaim. His production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, produced at a swimming pool, was equally well-received. The net result since his innovative tenure as artistic and general director has been a 500% increase in subscriptions to Long Beach Opera Company. While intending to maintain Chicago Opera Theater’s home base at
Arts & Education
the Harris Theater, Mr. Mitisek is eager to collaborate with Chicago’s wealth of arts organizations to “build alliances and symmetries” that will engage audiences interested in theater, music, museums, and other forms
of arts. For Mitisek, opera is not merely a musical form; it is a way of telling stories that are relevant to people’s lives. His approach to programming is to find “a strong story that needs to be told with music that supports and enhances what is told.” As such, Chicago Opera Theater is an ideal home for him. As he says, “That is what COT is already doing, and I have the intention to push it even further." Chicago Opera Theater and Chicago audiences will most certainly embrace Mitisek’s innovative approach. The city’s arts community, after all, is in large part a product of Brian Dickie’s inestimable influence. Through programs like Opera for All and Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, a new generation of opera-lovers has come both to the stage and to the concert hall. This audience has a cultivated understanding about the art form both in the abstract and experientially. Its passion is akin to that of the audiences who have been immersed in opera for decades. The future of opera looks bright in Chicago. And its brightness is in no small part due to the extraordinary educational initiatives of Chicago Opera Theater under Mr. Dickie’s dedicated and tireless leadership over the past thirteen years.”
Photos (Above): In September, Andreas Mitisek will take the reins of The Chicago Opera Theatre and continue his work as Artistic Director of Long Beach Opera in an innovative new model that is expected to yield greater opportunities for collaboration between the two companies; (Below): Scenes from COTs innovation productions - COT has long been known for its wide ranging repertoire which includes a vast amount of new works. Photos courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater.
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BATSHEVA DANCE COMPANY March 17 & 18 AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE — GISELLE March 22 – 25 ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER April 11 – 15
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Photos from left: James Darah, director of the Chicago Opera Theater Production of Teseo (Photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater); Members of Chicago a Cappella (Photo by Jennifer Girard); Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (Photo by Carrie Schneider); Conductor Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony ORchestra (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)
Photos from left: actor Lee Wilcof of The Ice Man COmeth playing at the Goodman Theatre (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre); Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble Member Sally Murphy in Time Stands Still (Photo by Michael Brosilow); Installation view, MCA DNA- Gordon Matta-Clark, MCA Chicago. November 12, 2011 - March 4, 2012. (Photo by Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago; Installation view, MCA Screen- David Hartt, MCA Chicago, 2012. Photo- Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
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Museum listings for ongoing or permanent exhibits may be found on pages 51 and 52.
Cultural Almanac Pick Lists Anna Marks' Exhibit Picks Genghis Kahn The Field Museum Who was Genghis Khan – a ruthless warrior, or a revered statesman? Uncover the amazing story of one of the world’s greatest leaders and most misunderstood conquerors. Discover the essence of his extensive empire and the lasting influence of his legacy. Experience a world of conquest, diplomacy, innovation, and destruction. Decide for yourself who Genghis Khan was through September 3, 2012. Visit fieldmuseum.org or call 312.922.9410 for more information.
Statue of Genghis Kahn seated on a throne.
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective The Art Institute of Chicago This exhibition, the first assessment of the full scope and breadth of Roy Lichtenstein’s career since his death in 1997, aims to offer a new, scholarly assessment of the work of this foremost Pop artist. Presenting over 130 paintings and sculptures, as well as over 30 little or never-before-seen drawings and collages, this exhibition gives full consideration to all periods of Lichtenstein’s career. Special consideration is given to Lichtenstein’s relationship to art historical sources, ranging from Picasso and Cubism through Surrealism, Futurism, German Expressionism, and the American West. The exhibit runs at The Art Institute from May 16 through September 3, 2012. Visit artic.edu or call 312. 443.3600 for more details.
Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War Illinois Holocaust Museum Ours to Fight For explores and celebrates the achievements of Jewish men and women who were part of the American war effort on and off of the battlefield. In their own voices and through their artifacts, letters, and photographs, the “Greatest Generation” tells the stories of what the war was like for all its participants, and for Jews in particular. The exhibition features personal quotes, letters, photos, video testimonies and period artifacts. The exhibition runs through June 17, 2012. Visit ilholocaustmuseum.org or call 847.967.4800 for more information.
Ed Richter’s Theater Picks
Timon of Athens Chicago Shakespeare Theatre In a high-risk world of quick profits and borrowed luxury, Timon is a god among men. But when the tides of monetary fortune turn, and his former friends become ruthless creditors, Timon is left in financial freefall. Leading the cast of Shakespeare's dizzyingly dark satire is internationally celebrated actor, Tony Award winner Ian McDiarmid. From his performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway, to a turn as Senator Palpatine, who becomes Darth Sidius, in the Star Wars film series, McDiarmid is brilliantly matched to the challenging role of Timon as he descends into misanthropy. The production runs from April 24 through June 10, 2012 at Shakespeare Theatre. Visit chicagoshakes.com or call 312.595.5600 for more details. Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre
The Ice Man Cometh Goodman Theatre Eugene O'Neill's towering masterpiece becomes a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event, featuring Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy.
When a newly sober Hickey blows into town with a renewed outlook on life, his zealous attempts to fix the lives of his friends, a ragtag band of dreamers and drunks, leads to a series of events that are at once devastatingly comic and heartbreaking—and a revelation that threatens to shatter the tenuous illusions that fuel their lives. The Sun-Times calls O'Neill's monumental drama an unparalleled theatrical journey, "as corrosive as rotgut whiskey, as morbidly funny as a funeral gone amok, as hallucinatory as an alcohol-fueled excursion into purgatory." Ice Man runs at Goodman Theatre from April 21 through June 10, 2012. Visit goodmantheatre.org or call 312.443.3800 for more details. Actress Lee Stark from Goodman Theatre's production of The Ice Man Cometh.
Pride and Prejudice Lifeline Theatre In the town of Meryton, reputation and marriage can secure—or destroy—a young woman’s happiness. Faced with the loss of their land and income, Elizabeth Bennet’s mother is desperate to secure husbands for her daughters at any cost. When Lizzy is introduced to Mr. Darcy at a local dance, tempers flare as her independent spirit clashes with his ingrained arrogance. Can the headstrong rivals overcome their pride and prejudice to repair the romantic entanglements which surround them and find lasting love? A world of memorable characters comes to life in this updated, sparkling comedy of manners. Pride and Prejudice runs April 20 through June 10, 2012. Visit timelinetheatre.com or call 773.761.4477 for more details. 64•CNCJASpring 2012
Fred Cummings' Classical Music & Dance Picks
Photo courtesy of the american ballet theatre
Armitage Gone! Dance Drastic-Classicism, GAGA-Gaku, and The Watteau Duets The Museum of Contemporary Art The sculpted, origami-based costumes of Issey Miyake signal the evening’s trans-cultural passage to GAGA-Gaku, a new work by Armitage made incandescent by her intense turns on Balinese dance, Noh theater, and the Japanese court music, gagaku. In a shift to Europe’s extravagant age of Rococo—and today—her bemusing Watteau Duets (1985/2009) peers into the complicity and erotic pleasures of the sexes. Composer David Linton makes a rare appearance for Watteau, playing his original score in a live electro-acoustic mix. Performances take place April 26-28, 2012. Visit mcachicago.org or call 312.397.4010 for more details. American Ballet Theatre Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University In a perfect fusion of music, movement and drama, this quintessential Romantic ballet epitomizes the transcendent power of love and forgiveness. American Ballet Theatre’s unrivaled roster of international ballet stars brings "Giselle’s" mystery and ethereal beauty vividly to life in this universally acclaimed production, performed with live orchestra. Performances take place March 22 and 25, 2012. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org or call 312.431.2357 for more information. Ballet Hispanico Dance Center of Columbia College Led by Eduardo Vilaro (former artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theatre and Dance Center faculty member), Ballet Hispanico explores, preserves and celebrates Latino culture through dance. On the program is "Espiritu Vivo," a new work commissioned from African-American choreographer Ronald K. Brown, which investigates the intersection of the African and Latino diasporas in the Caribbean and Latin America, set to a suite of four songs performed by Peruvian singer Susana Baca. Also on the program is "Asuka," a new work by Vilaro, set to music by Celia Cruz, and Naci, choreographer Andrea Miller’s investigation of the Moorish influences on the Sephardic Jewish culture of Spain. Performances take place March 22-24, 2012. Visit colum. edu/dance_center or call 312.369.8330.
Moscow Cheryomushki Chicago Opera Theater In a season culminating the final incredible year of Brian Dickie's tenure at Chicago's most innovative and forward-thinking opera company, hear Shostakovich in a completely new way. This musical satire – and Chicago premiere - follows several young couples as they navigate the bureaucratic labyrinth of the Soviet housing system in their pursuit of domestic happiness. Hilarious history with a Chicago Opera Theater twist! Performances take place April 14, 20, 22 & 25, 2012. Visit chicagooperatheater.org or call 312.704.8420 for more details. Symphony Center Evgeny Kissin, piano The popular and enigmatic Evgeny Kissin comes to Symphony Center for his only appearance of the 2011/12 season. After his February 2009 solo recital, the Chicago Tribune wrote that Kissin played, "with such astonishing power and accuracy at top speed that audience members were up on their feet in an instant, clapping wildly." Performance takes place May 22, 2012. Visit cso.org or call 312.294.3000 for more details.
Photo courtesy of CMSLC
Harris Theater for Music and Dance The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center French Virtuosity The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will conclude its first-ever Chicago-based performance series with a program of romantic French chamber works featuring pianists Inon Barnatan and Juho Pohjonen; violinists Jessica Lee, Kristin Lee, and Elmar Oliveira; violist Beth Guterman; and cellist Andreas Brantelid. Hear French Virtuosity May 22, 2012. Visit harristheaterchicago.org or call 312.334.7777 for more information.
Members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform works from Folk Traditions program at Lincoln Center, New York, NY.
Cultural Almanac Pick Lists
Photoby antony calderoni
Soli Deo Gloria Chicago Bach Project J. S. Bach's St. John Passion St. Vincent Church After an incredible 2011 launch to its annual celebration of the monumental sacred works of J. S. Bach with his St. Matthew Passion, The Chicago Bach project continues what promises to become a time-honored Easter arts tradition in Chicago. Esteemed conductor John Nelson is back with some amazing voices, including soloists Stephen Phan and Nicholas Morscheck and the Chicago Bach Choir and Orchestra to perform the St. James Passion at any period-ensemble's dream venue, St. Vincent Parish in Lincoln Park. It promises to be an evening of powerful emotion and stunning artistry. Performance takes place 8 p.m., April 4, 2012. Visit chicagobachproject.org or call 800-838-3006 for more information.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University Let Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's gorgeous dancers lift your spirits as they perform thrilling premieres and new productions plus returning audience favorites. Experience the power of Ailey and see for yourself why this extraordinary company is hailed as America's cultural ambassador to the world and "possibly the most successful modern dance company on the planet." (The New York Times). Performances run April 11 through April 15, 2012. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org or call 312-4312357 for more information. Chicago Bach Project at St. Vincent Church
Jazz at Lincoln Center: Winton Marsalis at 50 Jazz at Symphony Center Opening their special Chicago residency, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra celebrates Wynton Marsalis’ 50th birthday with a retrospective of his musical compositions for big band. Marsalis, winner of nine Grammy® Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, is not only an internationally acclaimed musician, but a prolific and inventive composer. Don’t miss this swinging birthday celebration with “the finest big band in the world today (Daily Telegraph, UK).” Concert takes place April 27, 2012. Visit cso.org or call 312.294.3000 for more details. Tuesdays With Morrie Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Tuesdays with Morrie by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on the book by Mitch Albom. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Amelia Barrett and featuring ensemble actors Michael Sassone and William “Sandy” Smillie. Touching, thoughtful and sweet, Tuesdays with Morrie, based on the 1997 best-selling book, tells the story of Morrie Schwartz, an eccentric Brandeis University sociology professor dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease and his unexpected renewed relationship with former student, Mitch Albom. The play chronicles their weekly visits as Schwartz mentors his former student with valuable life lessons from the perspective of a man in the twilight of his life. Visit home.cod.edu/atthemac/bte or call 630.942.4000 for more information.
Legendary jazz trumpter Winton Marsalis
Photo courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center
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To see Dwight Richins discussing his military service and return to coaching, go to usatoday.com.
By Bill Schaefer for USA TODAY
Change of battlefield: Dwight Richins jumps back into football practice Wednesday in Shelley, Idaho.
For coach back from war, it’s like starting over After Afghanistan tour, ‘a different look in his eye’ By Rick Hampson USATODAY TODAY USA By Rick Hampson SHELLEY, Idaho — The high school football coach known here as “Mr. November” — it was on his license plate even before he won his fifth state championship — was having a tough August. He said he felt irritable, impatient, inadequate. Sometimes he was depressed. He had Family photo trouble remembering players’ COVER names and deciding when to de- In Afghanistan: Richins patrols in Qalat in 2010. fer to his assistants. “I’m lost,” STORY Dwight Richins said. “I feel like a ing the past decade. They will be followed by the new coach at a new school.” 91,000 currently deployed and by many others In a way, he was. Coach Richins was also Lt. as the United States draws down forces in AfCol. Richins, a reservist home after a year’s ghanistan and Iraq. coaching, go to usatoday.com. practice in Shelley, Idaho. deployment as an Army logistics officer in Af-into football Members of theWednesday regular military mostly reservice andwith return to disori-Change ofmilitary battlefield: Richins jumps back ghanistan.his Hemilitary was struggling the turn to jobsDwight and locales. Reservists, who To see Dwight entation experienced byRichins almostdiscussing all such return- go back to places where the wars often are a By Bill Schaefer for USA TODAY ing vets. faint echo, face particular rigors in what the More than 830,000 reservists and National Guard members have come back from war durPlease see COVER STORY next page u
different look in his eye’ After Afghanistan tour, ‘a
it’s like starting over For coach back from war,
WASHINGTON — New government statistics show federal health care fraud prosecutions in the first eight months of fiscal 2011 are on pace to rise 85% over last year largely because of ramped-up enforcement efforts under the Obama administration. The statistics, released by the non-partisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, show 903 prosecutions so far this year. That’s a 24% increase over the total for all of fiscal year 2010, when 731 people were prosecuted for health fraud through federal agencies across the country. Prosecutions have gone up 71% from Fraud cases five years ago, according to TRAC. Health care fraud “This was a fairly draprosecutions: matic number of prose1991 147 cutions,” said David Burnham, co-director 2001 631 of of TRAC. TRAC. TRAC TRAC isis aa rere631 2001 search organization at Burnham, co-director 2006 528 Syracuse University cutions,” said David 147 1991 that 731 maticsubmits numberFreedom of prose- 2010 of “This Information Act drareprosecutions: This was a ffairly 2011 9031 Health care fraud quests for government ing to TRAC. – For the first eight data and then five years ago, reports accord- 1months Fraud cases of the fiscal year, the results. have gone up 71% from which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Justice Prosecutions Department country. Source: Justice Department officials saidthrough the inhealth fraud federal agencies across the By Julie Snider, USA TODAY crease runs 731 parallel 2010, when people were prosecuted for with what they’re 24% increase over seethe total for all of fiscal year ing when at health fraud broadly, show 903looking prosecutions so care far this year. That’sina part because of aRecords couple ofAccess big busts this year, as Transactional Clearinghouse, well as statistics, several cases involving fraud in the priThe released by the non-partisan vate sector. ma administration. “The trendenforcement certainly looks accurate andObaon ramped-up efforts under the track with ourover data,” said Justice spokeswoman to rise 85% last year largely because of Alisa Finelli, though sheofsaid she could the first eight months fiscal 2011 arenot on conpace firm exacthealth numbers. a February showthe federal care She fraudcited prosecutions in case that brought — in New 111 people — thestatistics largest WASHINGTON government take-down to date for the Medicare Fraud Task Force — as a factor. In that case, doctors, nurses USA TODAY and executives were accused of falsely billing By Kelly Kennedy Medicare more than $225 million. Task force convictions have also risen, according to Justice’s criminal division Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. In 2010, the task force saw 23 trial convictions for Medicare fraud. In the first eight months of this year, it has had 24. “That’s just a stunning number when you see it in the first eight months,” Breuer said. “We’re just going to build on this model, and we’re going to hold those responsible who are stealing from the government.” The government beefed up its staffing this year, adding two health care fraud teams in February. In 2010, the government recovered a record $4 billion from health fraud cases after the federal health care law created one agency and expanded another. The actuary for Medicare predicted provisions of the law would ultimately net $4.9 billion in fraud and abuse savings over the next 10 years, which will be rolled back into Medicare. Over the past couple of years, the task force has used data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to find people stealing millions of dollars.
16 weeks for $29.95 - Only 37¢ a day fraud Subscribe today health after Call 1-866-619-2734 , ask for offer 208 QIJFAF-02005y(N)k Feds go West’s request that he beunranked, turned over. Team ended 2010 season but6A. strong Finding Gadhafi,Sun restoring stability priority over finish, including Bowl rout, gives the Irish “a lot more confidence,” coach says. 8C.
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After Irene, many spots are welcoming visitors By Laura Bly and Kitty Bean Yancey USA TODAY
By Wayne Parry, AP
Long Beach Island, N.J.: Lloyd Vosseller, a public-works Atlantic beach destinations from employee in Harvey Cedars, shores up eroded dunes. the Outer Banks to Cape Cod took a uAlong the Jersey Shore, Irene’s biggest beating over the weekend, but Irene hasn’t kept some tourist draws from putting down wind- impact occurred south of Asbury Park, where the blown welcome mats for vacationers looking for a storm tore up most of the 2-mile-long Spring Lake final summer fling as Labor Day weekend ap- boardwalk. Other area boardwalks fared much better, including the famous walk in Atlantic City. proaches. An update, from south to north: uIn North Carolina’s hard-hit Outer Banks, the The city’s 11 casinos reopened at noon Monday 200-mile-long string of barrier islands where after reporting only minor cosmetic damage. Irene made landfall Saturday as a Category 1 Big names Harrahs, Bally’s and Caesars are ofhurricane, multiple washouts along Route 12 fering “Goodnight Irene” specials at $59 a night north of Rodanthe have cut access to Hatteras and tonight and $79 Wednesday to boost business. Ocracoke islands. With the area’s major artery The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority severed indefinitely, “our season is over,” Hatter- said the boardwalk and beach were open Monas motel owner Carol Dawson told Raleigh’s The day. To the south, Cape May beaches were open News & Observer. Monday, and the Cape May-Lewes (Del.) ferry But in Dare County, which includes the popular resumes service today. uOn Long Island, N.Y., “we dodged a bullet,” Outer Banks resort towns of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Duck, visitor access resumed at noon said visitors bureau CEO Moke McGowan. HampMonday for most areas. Beachgoers will be al- tons beaches sustained far less erosion than exlowed back in Duck — where the storm had pected and are open, he said. Long Beach is strewn boulders and debris and cut highway expected to host a big surfing competition startaccess to one lane — at 10 a.m. today. Visitor ing Thursday. Jones Beach is being assessed; Fire
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