Christoph Eschenbach and Friends | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Christoph Eschenbach and Friends 

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Christoph Eschenbach's reputation as a conductor and concert pianist tends to overshadow his equally estimable track record as chamber accompanist. As the new music director of Ravinia Festival, Eschenbach, like his predecessor James Levine, seems to revel in the intimacy and easy camaraderie that inform noteworthy recitals, and he certainly shows a willingness to explore the less familiar corners of the classical canon. In this all-Schubert affair--following on the heels of Tuesday's lieder showcase starring local mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer--Eschenbach's partners are like-minded performers with a passion for chamber music. Soprano Barbara Bonney is an up-and-comer who's made a splash in European opera houses with her interpretations of Mozart and Strauss. An American now based in London, she prepped at the Salzburg Mozarteum, then did a stint at Darmstadt. She's added more than 40 roles to her repertoire, and among her many CDs is an attention-grabbing potpourri of Mozart songs that highlight her spinning legato and velvety tone. She'll parlay a bouquet of Schubert's beautifully nuanced, romantically tinged lieder and scena, including the perennial favorite "Shepherd on the Rock" (accompanied by Eschenbach and Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetist Larry Combs). Another of Schubert's signature works, the Trout Quintet, will be performed by Eschenbach and four stringers from Chicago Chamber Musicians, most of whose members, like Combs, are CSO veterans. Thursday, August 10, 8 PM, Martin Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lisa Kohler.

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