Critic’s Choice

Mon Mar 28, 2016 at 1:25 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Susanna Malkki

Susanna Mälkki

Few Chicago Symphony Orchestra podium guests of recent years have made such an immediate and impressive impact as Susanna Mälkki. Since her acclaimed Chicago debut in 2011, the Finnish conductor’s subsequent appearances have provided consistently fresh and rewarding performances across a wide range of repertory.

Mälkki returns to lead the orchestra this week. Reflecting the inexplicable programming of the current CSO season, there are no contemporary works on her concerts, unfortunate since new music is her specialty.

Even so a musician of her gifts is always worth hearing. Mälkki’s program offers Debussy’s “Gigues” from Images, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with soloist Gil Shaham. Performances are 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (minus the Debussy), 8 p.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Friday, and 8 p.m. Saturday.; 312-294-3000.


Vocal recitals in downtown Chicago are rare events these days, and usually limited to established stars trotting out a few popular arias and songs for mass consumption.

Wednesday night at the Harris Theater one will have the opportunity to hear Javier Camarena make his Chicago debut. The young Mexican tenor earned wide acclaim in 2014 after subbing for an indisposed Juan Diego Florez in the Met’s La Cenerentola. Since then Camarena’s star has been on a fast-track rise, and he garnered unanimous raves for his elegant singing and ringing upper range in the Met’s recent Don Pasquale

Camarena will be joined by pianist Angel Rodriguez 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Harris Theater. The program will include three Beethoven lieder from Op. 83, Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnets, and Tosti’s Quatro canzone d’Amaranta.; 312-334-7777.

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