Critic’s Choice

Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Giacomo Puccini’s beloved tale of love and tuberculosis among the young artists of 19th-century Paris returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago when the company opens a two-cast run of La Bohème Monday night.

Most attention is focused on the March dates when the celebrated Russian soprano Anna Netrebko will make her belated Chicago debut. Yet the January-February performances offer an impressive lineup as well with Ana Maria Martinez starring as the consumptive seamstress Mimi and tenor Dimitri Pittas making his company bow as her lover, the poet Rodolfo. The cast is rounded out with an unusually strong supporting roster including Elizabeth Futral as Musetta, Lucas Meachem as Marcello and Andrea Silvestrelli as Colline. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.

La Bohème opens 7:30 p.m. Monday and repeats Jan. 24 and 27 and Feb. 2 and 7. lyricopera.org; 312-332-2244.

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It’s also a good weekend to check out the rising young Austrian conductor David Danzmayr who is leading the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in his first season as music director of the southwest suburban ensemble. The Essentially English, well-hydrated program will bookend Debussy’s La Mer with Handel’s Water Music, Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” from Peter Grimes and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with concertmaster Hal Grossman as violin soloist. Concert time is 8 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 S. Harlem Ave. in Frankfort, about a 40-minute drive from downtown Chicago. ipomusic.org.

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