Critic’s Choice

Tue Sep 08, 2015 at 12:49 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Luca Pisaroni opens the Collaborative Works Festival 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ganz Hall. Photo: Marco Borgreve
Luca Pisaroni opens the Collaborative Works Festival Wednesday night at Ganz Hall. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Once again, the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago is stealing season-opening honors on the big boys with its Collaborative Works Festival, a smart and adventurous mini-festival of art song and lieder.

Bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, who stars as the Count in Lyric Opera’s season-opening Le nozze di Figaro, will lead off the four-day festival 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ganz Hall with pianist Craig Terry in a recital of songs by Schubert, Bellini, Donaudy and Tosti.

American repertory is the theme of the festival this year, which will be reflected in the three remaining programs. Thursday night at the Poetry Foundation songs of Ives, Copland, Rorem and Hoiby will be performed by tenor Nicholas Phan and sopranos Laquita Mitchell and Nicole Heaston.

Terry will offer an American song master class on Friday afternoon. The festival concludes Saturday at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center with music of Bernstein, Barber, Copland, Harbison and Carter. Go to


Luca Pisaroni will also be heard 7:30 p.m. Friday night in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s annual pre-season public freebie, “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park.” Most of this year’s program will be centered on music from the company’s first two productions, with a complete Act II of Mozart’s Figaro along with excerpts from Rossini’s Cenerentola. Artists include Amanda Majeski, Elizabeth DeShong, Lawrence Brownlee, Adam Plachetka, and Bradley Smoak. Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

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