Lira Ensemble | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lira Ensemble 

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LIRA ENSEMBLE

The Lira Ensemble, which bills itself as "the nation's only professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song, and dance," has improved greatly over the years. Its reputation got a tremendous lift when its choruses were invited to participate in the recording of Polish composer Henryk Gorecki's Miserere (Elektra/Nonesuch), and its current core of 12 female singers are in tip-top form--as are the recently added dancers, who wear authentic folk costumes and can high-step up a storm. Authenticity is a hallmark of the ensemble; director and cofounder Lucyna Migala often visits archives in eastern Europe, researching historical details and searching for scores to add to the ensemble's hefty repertoire. The emphasis of this Navy Pier presentation is on crowd-pleasing folk ditties and dances from the Krakow and Rzeszow regions in southern Poland. These numbers are distinguished by their spiky rhythms and exotic colors. The dancers, choreographed by Anthony Dobrzanski, will be accompanied by the Pytlik Brothers Polish Folk Band. Paul Dijkstra conducts the singers, with accordion accompaniment by Bernard Dobroski, dean of Northwestern University's School of Music. Encores of Rogers and Hammerstein tunes are promised. Sunday, 3 PM, Skyline Stage, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand; 539-4900 or 595-7437.

TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Lira Ensemble.

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