What we’re excited to do in Chicago this week

By Stephen Raskauskas |

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Experience a living legend, Kathleen Battle live. See an opera that hasn’t been performed in 321 years. Be the first to hear Chicago’s newest chamber ensemble, and more this week.

See five-time Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home”

The Broadway cast of “Fun Home” (Source: funhomebroadway.com)

Called “extraordinary” by the New York Times, the five-time Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home has its Chicago premiere this week at Victory Gardens Theater. The theatrical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir is considered the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist. Off-Broadway, the show opened in 2013, before being transferred to Broadway in 2015. It received a dozen nominations at the 2015 Tony Awards, and won in the categories of Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction, and Best Leading Actor in a Musical. After a week of previews at Victory Gardens, Fun Home opens on Thursday, September 28. The performance marks not only the Chicago premiere of the work, but its regional theater premiere.

Details: Performances run Tuesday – Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, 3pm at the Biograph Theater Building located at 2433 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614. More information on Victory Garden’s website.

Be the first to hear Chicago’s newest ensemble, DComposed

DComposed (Source: Dcomposed’s Instragram)

You can say you heard about DComposed from WFMT first. The ensemble offers an “intimate chamber music experience that celebrates musicians and composers within the African Diaspora.” The group’s inaugural concert, titled Movement 1: Americana in Black, features works by African American composers past and present including Florence Price, George Walker, William Grant Still, and Jessie Montgomery. DComposed promises to transform Currency Exchange Café into a “musical oasis.” The event is free, though an RSVP is required.

Details: Thursday September 28th at 6:30pm at the Currency Exchange Café  located at 305 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 60637. More info on DComposed’s website.

Experience a living legend, Kathleen Battle, live

Soprano Kathleen Battle

Though soprano Kathleen Battle has made few public appearances in recent decades, this weekend, she returns to Chicago for the first time since 2009 for a one-night only performance. Battle presents a program called Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey, which she also presented recently at the Metropolitan Opera, marking her first performance there in 22 years. The concert includes works like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Wade in the Water,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Battle’s long history with and specialty in this repertoire will make the performance particularly memorable, though she could also sing names and numbers from the phone book and we’d probably show up to hear her. Accompanying Battle is a choir of voices selected specifically for the evening, and led by Jonita Lattimore, soprano and professor at Roosevelt University.

Details: Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 pm at the Auditorium Theatre located at 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605. More info on the Auditorium Theatre’s website.

See the first revival of “Ariane et Baccus” in 321 years

Titian’s “Bacchus and Ariadne” (1520-1523)

Haymarket Opera Company presents the first performances of a “tragédie en musique” by Marin Marais, Ariane et Bacchus. The story, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, is full of myth, magic, spectacle, and dance. The production opens Haymarket’s 2017-18 season and features the newly formed Haymarket Opera Company Ballet. Sarah Edgar returns to Haymarket, serving as both choreographer and director. Craig Trompeter, Haymarket’s artistic director, conducts. After opening night this Saturday, Haymarket presents two additional performances of Ariane et Bacchus. Mark your calendars so you don’t need to wait another 321 years for the next chance to see it.

Details: Saturday, 7:30 pm, September 30 at the Studebaker Theater (Fine Arts Building) located at 410 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. Additional performance dates and more info on Haymarket’s website.

Do deep listening with “America’s foremost new-music group”

International Contemporary Ensemble (Source: iceorg.org)

International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), called “America’s foremost new-music group” by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, begins its 2017-18 season at Constellation. The concert presents cellist Katinka Kleijn, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and percussionist Ross Karre in a program of works by modern and contemporary composers. Experience the world premiere of Lia Irene Kohl’s and mouth and for solo cellist and projection, an ICE commission. Hear Shiver Lung 2, composed this year by Ashley Fure, a 2017 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Ly Ful Hood, composed by Bryan Jacobs. And enjoy Applebox Double by the late, great Pauline Oliveros, who developed the term “deep listening” in which performer and listener try to “cultivate a heightened awareness of the sonic environment.” Enhance your deep listening with a cocktail from Constellation’s bar.

Details: “Open ICE: Katinka Kleijn & Ross Karre.” Sunday, October 1 at 8:30 pm at Constellation, located at 3111 N Western Ave Chicago, IL 60618. Event is free, though limited to those 18 and older. More info on Constellation’s website.

Hear a choir of 1000 in Millennium Park

Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, Chicago, where David Lang’s “crowd out” has its U.S. premiere

Crowd Out Chicago brings together voices from all 50 of Chicago’s wards for a single performance of crowd out by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. 1000 voices come together for the U.S. premiere of the piece, which takes place in Millennium Park this Sunday afternoon. The ensemble is composed of amateur and professional musicians alike, all of whom have been rehearsing throughout the summer in local gatherings. The event is produced by the Chicago Humanities Festival and Illinois Humanities.

Details: Sunday, October 1 at 3:00 pm at the AT&T Pavilion Cloud Gate and Chase Promenade in Millennium Park at 201 East Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60602. More info on Crowd Out’s website.