■ "Exploring Henry VIII"
As I mentioned here, earlier this month, we had the opportunity to see a working rehearsal of Henry VIII, which opens tonight at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) and will run through June 16. We are certainly looking forward to seeing the polished production in May!
■ Chicago Symphony Orchestra
In that same entry I mentioned that last week, we attended an open rehearsal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Ricardo Muti and featuring pianist Maurizio Pollini (Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467). The 2.5-hour program also included Beethoven's Consecration of the House Overture, Op. 124; Schumann's Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97 (Rhenish); and our favorite piece of the day -- Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture, Op. 27, which was inspired by two Goethe poems.
■ Chris Thile (mandolin) and Brad Mehldau (piano)
The week prior to that, we saw Thile and Mehldau at the home of the CSO. Most people would not think of pairing bluegrass and jazz, but Thile and Mehldau are onto something with this complex conversation between the two music traditions. The Chicago papers were surprisingly brief in their remarks, but here's a review from the duo's stop in Boston.
■ Giulio Cesare
Have you checked out FathomEvents.com yet? Among other programs, they promote live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera's productions, including the current David McVicar production of Handel's 4.5-hour opera, Giulio Cesare, which stars Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra (although the absolute showstopper is Alice Coote in the "pants role," Sesto -- listen here). The broadcast was shown in a movie theater one town over on a Saturday on which all of us were available. Woot! It was terrific! And may I just add that as much of a privilege as it is to see productions at the Lyric Opera (in fact, we're heading to another next month), movie theater seats are eversomuch more comfortable than seating at the Lyric. Heh, heh, heh.