Critic’s Choice

Wed May 06, 2015 at 4:02 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Photo: Sisi Burn

Photo: Sisi Burn

Esa-Pekka Salonen is in town to lead a three-week “Reveries and Passions” festival exploring French music with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The series began with an acclaimed local debut by pianist Cedric Tiberghien on Sunday and will offer a feast of Gallic repertory including a complete concert performance of Debussy’s opera Pelleas et Melisande May 14-19.

The festival kicks off in earnest this week with a Debussy rarity, La damoiselle elue, and two Ravel works that take their inspiration from childhood. The suite from Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) is well known but less so is the magical one-act opera L’enfant et les sortileges in which an abusive child learns gentleness and compassion. Chloe Briot makes her local debut as the Child leading a large cast that includes such sterling artists as soprano Kate Royal, baritone Stephane Degout and bass-baritone Eric Owens.

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. May 15. cso.org; 312-294-3000.

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For its final classical event of the season the Lyric Opera is presenting Lang Lang in recital 8 p.m. Saturday night. The program includes Bach’s Italian Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons and Four Scherzos by Chopin. lyricopera.org; 312-827-5600.

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