An hour’s conversation with Ksenija Sidorova flies right on by. The comely, Latvian-born accordion virtuoso may be a darling of the contemporary classical music industry, with appearances in A-list concert halls and, as of this year, a lucrative recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon to her credit, but she is also a refreshingly down-to-earth charmer.
It happens all the time. A famous, beloved artist falls ill (or, as is sometimes the unpleasant case, gets what may be regarded as a better offer). It even happens at Ravinia. A famous, beloved artist cancels, and management scrambles for an appropriate replacement.
Some cases become memorable, star-making events. Other cases are quickly, even mercifully, forgotten.
August 7, 1996: Tito Puente's Ravinia Debut
Tito Puente, one of the most influential Latin artists in history, made his Ravinia debut 20 years ago with a plethora of his best Latin jazz contemporaries, including Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, Arturo Sandoval, and David Sanchez.
If you couldn’t be there in person, which is always Plan A, by now you have heard about the night of July 23, 2016 at Ravinia. And if I have my say, you will hear about it again. James Levine returned to Ravinia for the first time since 1993. And the gods seemed to herald his triumph with the thunder and lightning of a torrential storm for the record books. But you didn’t need a Doppler to detect that something historic was going down in Highland Park.
We’ve had yet another wonderful couple of weeks brimming with awe-inspiring concerts, including the long-awaited return of James Levine, the Ravinia debut of Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers’s final tour, Titanic Live, and a pairing of Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck that left no one blue. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 80th anniversary summer residency is still on key with incredible performances of The Firebird, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and so much more. In Part 3 of our “Season So Far” blog series, we’ll show you a sampling of what’s been happening in our gorgeous park this month.
She may have come from humble beginnings as the fourth of 12 children in Locust Ridge, TN, with the Smoky Mountains as her playground, but from the very moment Dolly Parton stepped out on a stage as a mere child, she’s been on a first-name basis with the world.
Young Maya Lily Lubelfeld of Deerfield will be going to the Ravinia Festival for decades—totally for free. Thanks to being the first local baby born on Aug. 15, 2004—the date Ravinia celebrated the centennial of its 1904 founding—Maya received quite the special baby present.
The day she was born, conductor James Conlon visited Maya and her mother that morning at Rush North Shore Skokie to award the infant the one-and-only lifetime lawn pass ever issued at Ravinia.
“I like where I am now,” Don Henley sings on Cass County, his fifth solo album, and first in 15 years, released last September to rapturous reviews and chart-topping sales. Where he is now is on a tour of Europe and North America that brings him to Ravinia on August 14 and 15.
When the New York Times Magazine profiled Danielle de Niese in 2009, a headline writer astutely dubbed her “opera’s coolest soprano.” And the moniker has stuck.
July 25, 1936: George Gershwin's Sole Ravinia Performance
After the Chicago Symphony Orchestra took residence at Ravinia on July 3, 1936, perhaps the next great highlight of that summer came just a few weeks later. Thousands descended upon the freshly reinaugurated festival in hopes of seeing—but most certainly for the chance to hear—the inimitable pianist, composer, and songwriter George Gershwin.