Stories » Aggressive virtuosity and fitful poetry in Lang Lang's return to Lyric Opera / Chicago Classical Review

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Aggressive virtuosity and fitful poetry in Lang Lang's return to Lyric Opera / Chicago Classical Review

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Following its regular opera season, another mariachi musical, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, the Lyric Opera of Chicago ended its season in classical style–sort of–with a recital by Lang Lang Saturday night.

Though the evening didn't have quite the sense of occasion as Lang Lang's debut at the Civic Opera House in 2012, the superstar manifestations were certainly evident. "This is amazing!" a woman exclaimed, even before the artist had walked on stage. And when was the last time you saw Richard Goode or Emanuel Ax wipe their brow and throw the sweaty handkerchief, Tom Jones-style, to an adoring female fan in the audience?

To provide some degree of intimacy in the vast house, Lyric once again had a camera mounted over the keyboard for a live overhead projection of the pianist's hands. Rather than having a single large screen suspended over the stage as three years ago, Lyric elected to have two screens high on either side of the stage, Ravinia style, though the fuzzy images looked decidedly low-def.

Those coming for their dose of hero worship and pianistic derring-do were surely satisfied but many of those looking for a deeper response to the music would likely leave feeling disappointed.

An announcement indicated that the order of works on the first half would be reversed from that in the program with Tchaikovsky's The Seasons first, followed by Bach's Italian Concerto.

READ THE FULL Chicago Classical Review