Critic’s Choice

Wed Feb 27, 2019 at 4:48 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Harry Bicket. Photo: Dario Acosta

Lyric Opera is closing its mainstage opera season with a rare Baroque excursion in the form of Handel’s Ariodante, opening Saturday night. The scenario may be a typically bewildering array of mixed romances and tragedy averted but the score is one of Handel’s richest stage works with a nonstop cascade of varied arias and dance music.

Lyric has booked a worthy cast for this production, with Alice Coote in the title role, along with soprano Heidi Stober, countertenor Iestyn Davies, and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen. Soprano Brenda Rae makes her company debut and Harry Bicket conducts.

Ariodante opens 7:30 p.m. Saturday and runs through March 17.


The day after the Ariodante opening, Bicket will also helm a Music of the Baroque program, offering a rare opportunity to experience MOB led by a distinguished guest conductor. Bicket’s program is titled “The Grand Tour,” a varied lineup of English, Italian and French works by Handel (Concerto grosso, Op. 3, no. 2), Corelli (Concerto grosso, Op 6, no. 4), Corelli/Geminiani (La follia), Dall’abaco (Concerto in D major, Op. 5, no. 6), and Rameau (the Suite from Les Boreades).

Performances are 3 p.m. Sunday at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday March 6 at the Harris Theater.; 312-551-1414

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