Julianna Baird and Ronn McFarlane | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Julianna Baird and Ronn McFarlane 

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Soprano Julianne Baird and lutenist Ronn McFarlane are to medieval and Renaissance song literature what Elly Ameling and Dalton Baldwin are to the lieder repertoire. Both performers pursue separate busy careers: Baird, who holds a PhD in musicology from Stanford, has sung in operatic revivals with a number of highly regarded ensembles here and in, Europe; McFarlane, a Peabody conservatory graduate, is among the handful of master lutenists in the world. As a team they're first-rate, bringing authority and pizzazz to their interpretations of 16th- and 17th-century lute songs both on CDs and in concert. At this recital, their local debut and a prelude to Valentine's Day, the focus is on English love songs. John Dowland, a specialty of McFarlane's, and his younger rival Robert Johnson are the featured composers; both were virtuoso lutenists who modestly advanced the art of the song. The rest of the program consists of anonymous ditties of similar sentiments. Friday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 702-8068.

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

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