All stories by John Von Rhein on BroadwayStars

Saturday, December 7, 2019

With The Light in the Piazza, Opera Star Renée Fleming Plays a Mother for the First Time Onstage—and Loves It by John Von Rhein

Why the Tony Award nominee wanted to tackle the Adam Guettel musical.

Linked From Playbill at 10:00AM
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chicago Opera Theater's 'Elizabeth Cree' is a bloody good show by John Von Rhein

If the plethora of activity in Chicago alone is any indication, the field is experiencing a veritable golden age of new American chamber operas. This season is bringing the local premieres, …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:25PM
Monday, February 5, 2018

Spectacular singing sparks Lyric's revival of 'I Puritani' by John Von Rhein

Since 1955, when Lyric Opera mounted its first production of “I Puritani” to display Maria Callas in one of her most celebrated bel canto roles, Vincenzo Bellini’s final opera has drif…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:10AM
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Magic is missing from Lyric Opera's hand-me-down 'Turandot' by John Von Rhein

“Turandot,” Puccini’s unfinished valedictory to the stage, is an elaborate operatic fairy tale. But for fairy tales to really work, there must be magic and mystery the audience can bel…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:45PM
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bill Murray at Orchestra Hall is a show no one else could have done by John Von Rhein

What happens when the one and only Bill Murray recites American literature and flexes his pipes on songs from the great American songbook, backed by three accomplished classical musicians at…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:55AM
Friday, September 22, 2017

Joffrey Ballet moving performances to Lyric Opera House in 2020 by John Von Rhein

In a major cooperative effort by the city’s leading producers of ballet and opera, the Joffrey Ballet and Lyric Opera of Chicago announced Friday that the dance company will move its seaso…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:00PM
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Neglected Kurt Weill antiwar musical is given a potent Chicago premiere by Folks Operetta by John Von Rhein

"Johnny Johnson" was Kurt Weill's first work for the American theater, written for New York's Group Theatre in 1936, only three years after the German-Jewish composer managed to escape Nazi …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:51PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Family uprooted and an innocent man condemned in St. Louis Opera Theatre season by John Von Rhein

Contemporary operas about ordinary people crushed by powerful forces they are helpless to control mark another venturesome festival season of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Both "The Grapes…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:15PM
Sunday, April 23, 2017

A darker Walt Disney conjured in 'The Perfect American' by John Von Rhein

It must be hard for those weaned on digital culture to appreciate the enormous impact Walt Disney and his entertainment empire had on my generation. When I was growing up, owning a Davy Croc…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:38PM
Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dancing frills a showy distraction in Lyric's vocally solid 'Carmen' by John Von Rhein

Take away the pretty but dramatically irrelevant window dressing, and the "Carmen" that settled in for a long winter's run over the weekend at the Civic Opera House is pretty much your stand…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:27PM
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lyric Opera, Joffrey to co-produce new Gluck ‘Orphee’ with L.A. by John Von Rhein

In a first collaboration between Lyric Opera, L.A. Opera and the Joffrey Ballet, a new coproduction of the 1774 Paris version of Gluck’s opera “Orphee et Eurydice” will debut next seas…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:00AM
Sunday, December 11, 2016

Superb cast, playing, overcome staging oddities in Lyric's new 'Magic Flute' by John Von Rhein

Not to worry, the kids are all right — they are just putting on a Mozart show in their backyard. That's the improbable dramatic premise behind the new production of Mozart's "The Magic Flu…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:39PM
Sunday, November 6, 2016

COT's 'Fairy Queen' transplants Purcell's baroque masque to Sin City by John Von Rhein

Welcome to Club Fairy Queen, a louche Vegas lounge and hotel run by a sleazy owner-emcee named Puck. The drinks are spiked and the possibilities of erotic adventure are, as result, practical…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:22AM
Thursday, October 27, 2016

'Ring'-a-ding-ding: Latest Lyric-Second City spoof good for Wagner-sized laughs by John Von Rhein

In the interest of truth in titling, one or more of the exclamation points in "Longer! Louder! Wagner!," Lyric Opera's latest collaboration with Second City, could be removed without inflict…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:24PM
Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pure gold: Lyric Opera's new 'Rheingold' opens the season with vocal splendor by John Von Rhein

This is the way the world begins. On a darkened stage, lit by a single floor lamp. From the depths of the orchestra emerges the E flat major chord representing the rolling currents of the Rh…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:09PM
Sunday, September 18, 2016

Haymarket Opera's 'Desert Island' a rare musical delight on which to be stranded by John Von Rhein

Considering how extensively the orchestral, instrumental and chamber repertory of the 18th century and earlier periods has been mined by modern performers, it's strange that the operas of Fr…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:18PM
Sunday, March 6, 2016

Haymarket injects dramatic verve into rare Baroque oratorio by John Von Rhein

Having devoted its scholarly attention to rarities of Baroque opera, Haymarket Opera Company now has set its sights on rescuing worthy Baroque oratorios from similar modern neglect. As part …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:36PM
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Broadway meets the Bard in Lyric's 'Romeo et Juliette' by John Von Rhein

Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud's bringing in directors from the theater world to help breathe new dramatic life and contemporary relevance into an old art form thus far has produ…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:25PM

Broadway meets the Bard in Lyric's 'Romeo et Juliette' by John Von Rhein

Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud's bringing in directors from the theater world to help breathe new dramatic life and contemporary relevance into an old art form thus far has produ…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 05:08PM
Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lyric Opera's 'Nabucco' delivers brilliance on all fronts by John Von Rhein

Considering Lyric Opera of Chicago's long and honorable history as a haven for the stage works of Giuseppe Verdi, his "Nabucco" has led a curiously spotty performance life at the company onc…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:52PM

Lyric Opera's 'Nabucco' delivers brilliance on all fronts by John Von Rhein

Considering Lyric Opera of Chicago's long and honorable history as a haven for the stage works of Giuseppe Verdi, his "Nabucco" has led a curiously spotty performance life at the company onc…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:06PM
Thursday, January 14, 2016

New 'Trojans,' 'Magic Flute' top Lyric Opera schedule for 2016-17 by John Von Rhein

The earnest efforts of general director Anthony Freud and music director Andrew Davis to make Lyric Opera of Chicago a leader rather than a follower among the leading American opera companie…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 05:30PM

New 'Trojans,' 'Magic Flute' top Lyric Opera schedule for 2016-17 by John Von Rhein

The earnest efforts of general director Anthony Freud and music director Andrew Davis to make Lyric Opera of Chicago a leader rather than a follower among the leading American opera companie…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:36PM
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lyric's 'Bel Canto' depicts triumph of love over terrorist bullets by John Von Rhein

Seldom has a new opera been overtaken by real-life events quite to the degree that "Bel Canto" has at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Audience members attending the work's highly anticipated world …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:12PM

Lyric's 'Bel Canto' depicts triumph of love over terrorist bullets by John Von Rhein

Seldom has a new opera been overtaken by real-life events quite to the degree that "Bel Canto" has at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Audience members attending the work's highly anticipated world p…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:55PM
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday concerts are everywhere in Chicago area by John Von Rhein

For many of us, the holiday season would not be the holiday season without the spiritual comfort and joy of live musical performances. Fortunately, festive seasonal sounds are perhaps more a…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:57PM
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday concerts are everywhere in Chicago area by John Von Rhein

For many of us, the holiday season would not be the holiday season without the spiritual comfort and joy of live musical performances. Fortunately, festive seasonal sounds are perhaps more a…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:33PM
Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lyric Opera's 'Merry Widow' gets rolling in final two acts by John Von Rhein

Lyric Opera probably didn't need another new production of "The Merry Widow" so soon after its 2009 Gary Griffin staging of the beloved Franz Lehar operetta. Still, with a lavish, relatively…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:58PM
Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: Lyric Opera stages new production of 'Wozzeck' by John Von Rhein

"Wozzeck" Lyric Opera of Chicago Four stars (out of four) Like a grim, silent sentry, a monument to the victims of World War I looms upstage in Scottish director David McVicar's stark and…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:58PM

Review: Lyric Opera stages new production of 'Wozzeck' by John Von Rhein

"Wozzeck" Lyric Opera of Chicago Four stars (out of four) Like a grim, silent sentry, a monument to the victims of World War I looms upstage in Scottish director David McVicar's stark and wr…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:35PM
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Figaro' and friends get the Barbara Gaines touch in Lyric's season opener by John Von Rhein

Barbara Gaines was giving me a peek at the luminous set and sumptuous costumes that grace her new production of "The Marriage of Figaro," which will open the Lyric Opera season Saturday nigh…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:08PM

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