Chicago Symphony Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chicago Symphony Orchestra 

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With its inimitable blend of great music, profound emotions, and honest humor, Richard Wagner's greatest opera, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, is considered by some to be the pinnacle of Western civilization. But you don't have to engage in Wagner worship to enjoy this monumental (in every sense) work. Demanding a huge and high-caliber cast, chorus, and orchestra, this is a show that doesn't make it to the Civic Opera House often enough, so the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's concert version is welcome indeed. That it is to be led by the premier Wagner conductor of our day, Georg Solti, makes it even better. Set in 16th-century Germany, it's a story about love, critics, and musical standards, with an amazing 17-voice-part riot thrown in to end the second act and a third act that incorporates some of the greatest music ever penned. Featured in the cast are some standouts: bass-baritone Jose van Dam, soprano Karita Mattila, and tenor Ben Heppner, along with a 159-voice chorus. Because of its length, the CSO is presenting Die Meistersinger in two parts. Acts one and two will be heard at 7:30 PM Saturday and Tuesday. The third act will be presented at 1:30 PM on Sunday and Wednesday. Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Terry O'Neill-Jim Friedman.

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