Critic’s Choice

Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Riccardo Muti will lead soloists, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and CSO Chorus in Verdi's "Macbeth" Saturday night.
Riccardo Muti will lead soloists, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and CSO Chorus in Verdi’s “Macbeth” Saturday night.

If the rehearsals heard this week are any indication, the upcoming Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances of Verdi’s Macbeth should be just as memorable as the Otello of 2011 (just released on the CSO’s Resound label).

In addition to the entertainment value of a relaxed and happy Riccardo Muti cracking up members of the orchestra and CSO Chorus at Wednesday’s afternoon rehearsal with jokes and stories, the full-tilt orchestra playing and the rich singing and intensity of baritone Luca Salsi in the role of the title homicidal king were remarkable. This promises to be one of the music highlights of the year. Performances are 7 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday and October 4 and 3 p.m. October 6.; 312-294-3000.


Alan Heatherington opens Ars Viva’s 19th season with a characteristically individual lineup, pairing Brahms’ Tragic Overture and Bartok’s Hungarian Dances with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6. Concert time is 3 p.m. Sunday at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.; 847-673-6300.

The Chicago Philharmonic opens its first season under new music director Scott Speck this weekend. The program, “Twilight of the Romantics,” will offer a demanding workout for the Philharmonic musicians with Strauss’s Don Juan and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Kuang-Hao Huang will be the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s rarely heard Piano Concerto No. 3. Concert time is 7 p.m. Sunday at Pick-Staiger Hall in Evanston.; 312-957-0000.

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