Critic’s Choice

Wed Mar 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

"Christ of St. John of the Cross" by Salvador Dali, 1951.
“Christ of St. John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali, 1951.

The bigger the challenge, the greater the success. That maxim has held true for Music of the Baroque, with Chicago’s venerable 17th- and 18th-century music organization often having its finest nights with large-scale works.

This coming Holy Week, music director Jane Glover and MOB will mark the Easter season with performances of Bach’s mighty St. John Passion. Bach’s musical Passions are, in essence, his operas—vast, deeply spiritual and highly theatrical depictions of the Passion and resurrection of Jesus, which contain some of the composer’s most remarkable music.

Tenor Thomas Cooley is the Evangelist with bass-baritone Michael Sumuel as Jesus, and soprano Yulia Van Doren, and mezzo Meg Bragle filling out the cast.

Performances are 3 p.m. Sunday at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie and 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Harris Theater.; 312-551-1414


Riccardo Muti will also lead a religious choral work in this week’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts, to mark the 60th anniversary of the CSO Chorus.  Schubert’s Mass in E flat major will be the vehicle, with soloists Amanda Forsythe, Nicholas Phan, Nahuel Di Pierro, Elizabeth DeShong and Paul Appleby.

The first half of the program offers Weber’s Overture to Oberon and the world premiere of Three Lisel Mueller Settings, composed by CSO violist Max Raimi. Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong is the soloist.

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Symphony Center.; 312-294-3000.

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