So on ghastly summer days with 99-degree heat and 99 percent humidity, that's where I went in my imagination. Lying on my bed, I would put Scheherazade on the phonograph while nibbling grapes and sipping lemonade, as if I were the Persian ruler to whom the stories were being told. It didn't dispel the heat, of course, but somehow, in that setting, the climate seemed more natural and bearable--at least for as long as the music lasted.
This Saturday is the annual Gala Benefit Evening hosted by Ravinia’s Women’s Board, which this year also incorporates Ravinia’s annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular, noteworthy to many for its performance of the beloved “1812” Overture with live cannon fire. But more spectacular to me is …
Everyone knows that the key to a good run is a good playlist. Our newest mixtape mirrors your workout by starting off slow, like a warm-up, and slowly building into a full sprint of great tracks by this season’s artists. It will be sure to keep you moving while simultaneously enjoying the Ravinia summer sound.
In this column I like to address real questions about Ravinia Festival posed to me by fellow Highland Parkers who I bump into at various locations around town. It seems a lot of these questions have been building up over the winter, so now that summer is here (or as Ravinia says, “summer is hear”), here are the top 10 questions so far:
Seth MacFarlane is jazzed.
Hollywood’s most prolific hyphenate (animator–director–writer–voice artist–actor–producer) is taking time this summer to indulge in another of his passions—
In looking back over my years at Ravinia, it is almost impossible to gather my thoughts in a linear fashion. The memories are so many; the musical experiences so rich, varied and exciting; the immense presence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra so monumental, that it is difficult to condense into words.
Since I became music director of the CSO’s residency in 2005, I have been struck by how many music lovers I have met around the country and even overseas, who have told me that they heard their first concerts at Ravinia.
I recently had one of those conversations that only occur between opera lovers and non-classical-music-loving friends. I mentioned having attended a performance of Debussy’s opera Pélleas et Mélisande with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, an offering in their recent French festival. “An opera?” my friend asked, with a puzzled look. “Don’t operas have to be in Italian?”
“When you make a record on a major label, especially if you’re not a huge artist, you end up having to make demos. A lot of demos. When you record a song more than once, it loses something every time. I really loved getting to make a record where those moments—albeit less refined than if we’d worked them out—those moments sound like the songs still had control over us, as opposed to the other way around.”
There is something about growing up and living in the Midwest. There is something about the mentality of the people that live here, the passion in which they live their lives, and the consistent way in which they continue to plow on as the world around them changes and evolves.
There is something about the Plain White T’s that make them awfully like us.
To today’s audiences, who have heard nearly two centuries of music after the Symphonie fantastique received its premiere in 1830, Berlioz’s music sounds safe, melodious, beautiful, and brilliantly constructed, but nowhere near as jaw-droppingly shocking as it did to its first audience.