While perusing an Ravinia program book from 1976, we came across this advertisement for Northern Trust Bank, which includes a number of interesting facts about the festival. The still life in the center is also a nice touch.
• The Three Bombardiers? Can you believe in 1949 the famed trio of Heifetz, Rubinstein, and Piatigorsky played under a 33-ton canvas B-29 bomber hanger after fire destroyed the old wooden pavilion?
• When opera great Lucrezia Bori came here during the Prohibition, she received a case of champagne from a secret admirer. They put it to good use in Puccini’s Rondine for a rather tipsy banquet scene. Oh yes, the admirer was none other than Al Capone.
• If it looks like a Renoir it must be Ravinia. When composer-conductor Paul Hindemith and his wife came here in 1961, she exclaimed, “Everywhere we look we see Renoirs.”
• He called it “intimate and delightful.” And a year before he died, in  , George Gershwin, in his only Ravinia appearance, was an unforgettable soloist as he played his Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue with Bill Daly conducting.
• Louis [Eckstein], the father of Ravinia Park, once said, “Some men have a yacht. I have Ravinia.” And his will stipulates the quality of the music as the price for using the park.
• When in summer residency at Ravinia, the Chicago Symphony has been the debut scene for such great conductors as Arthur Rodzinski, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Hans Lange, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, and Sir George Solti.
• At the turn of the century, Ravinia was an amusement park, featuring baseball games, theater, and a merry-go-round. All of this to the gentle strains of a calliope!
• To know Ravinia is surely to love it. But these days, it’ll take more than love and warm, starry nights for Ravinia to remain the dazzling creative force it has been for over 60 years. With the help of friends, the spell of its summer charm will go unbroken.