So, the first week of autumn quarter of sophomore year started off great! Here’s what happened:
Monday (9/28/15) – Open rehearsal with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago
Maestro Muti, who I got to see in the last couple of weeks at the Concert for Chicago and the Logan Center conversation, conducted the Civic Orchestra in Charpentier’s Impressions d’Italie. Very cool to see Muti in action during a rehearsal – he interacted with the audience and taught a lot about the history of the piece and the specific components of each movement of the piece, along with his trademark humor and wit.
Tuesday (9/29/15) – Muti Conducts Ravel’s Boléro
The CSO often doesn’t provide student tickets to Muti’s performances due to his high popularity, but luckily there were student tickets to Tuesday and Thursday’s performances. For Tuesday’s concert, Muti conducted Ginastera’s Harp Concerto with soloist Xavier de Maistre and Ravel’s Boléro. The Boléro was great to hear live because I had seen previous videos of Muti conducting the Boléro with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and I was looking forward to seeing Muti and the CSO perform Ravel’s catchy work. His tempo was perfect – not too rushed and not too slow – and seeing as it was the last piece for the night, the powerful and dynamic ending provided an excellent way to conclude the entire evening’s concert.
Wednesday (9/30/15) – The Marriage of Figaro
First visit to Lyric Opera of the school year! Le Nozze di Figaro, otherwise known as The Marriage of Figaro, was the first production of Lyric’s 2015-2016 season, and I knew this was one I couldn’t miss. We had studied the opera last winter in music class, and I had only seen a video of Solti conducting the opera, so I couldn’t give up the opportunity to see Lyric put it on live. Overall, I thought it was an okay production – there were some elements of the staging that I didn’t necessarily agree with, and some of the singing could have been a bit stronger, but it ended up being a pleasurable evening. Luca Pisaroni, who played the Count, was by far the strongest performer of the night, in my opinion. I have some more criticism to write about, but instead, I’ll just keep on going with the events of the week.
Thursday (10/1/15) – Muti and Andsnes
Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, soloist of the evening, performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20. His playing was crisp and expressive, perfect for Mozart. The real highlight of the evening would prove to be Muti (as usual) conducting Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite. Muti has been well associated with Prokofiev’s works over the years, and it was good to see him finally conduct Prokofiev live. After the concert, I (sadly) learned that Andsnes was seeing fans during intermission, just after I went upstairs to get back to my seat. Hopefully I can meet some of these artists later on in the year. My primary goal is to meet Muti – I absolutely adore him and his craft, in addition to everything he has done for the city of Chicago.