Critic’s Choice

Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 1:41 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi

Has there ever been a richer early-opera start to the music season in Chicago? Haymarket Opera offered a delightful revival of Marin Marais’ Ariane et Bachus and Lyric Opera bowed with a stylish Terpsichorean staging of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice (running through October 15).

And now the Harris Theater opens its 2017-18 season with a truly remarkable event: performances of all three operas by Claudio Monteverdi with conductor John Eliot Gardiner leading his esteemed Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. Chicago is one of only two U.S. stops on Gardiner’s “Monteverdi 450” international tour and nabbing this anniversary feast was an extraordinary coup by the Harris.

The Monteverdi festivities kick off 7:30 p.m. Thursday night with L’Orfeo, widely regarded as “the first great opera” in the repertoire. Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria follows 7:30 p.m. Friday with L’incoronazione di Poppea closing the cycle 1 p.m. Sunday.

This is a rare opportunity to hear three of the most important early operas in the repertory in one week, conducted and performed by musicians steeped in this repertory.; 312-334-7777.

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