Stravinsky’s “Oedipus rex” is not only the greatest masterpiece of Stravinsky’s neo-classical period, but is the greatest adaptation of the celebrated Sophocles play into any art form. Stravinsky labeled it an “opera-oratorio after Sophocles” and although the work has been staged as an opera, the music is so compelling and the action so static that it is most effective done in concert form, as will be the case here.
British actor Sir Patrick Stewart, best known in the States for his starring role on the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series, will be the narrator while mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung will sing the role of Jocasta and tenor William Burden will star as the king.
The handful of times that the Chicago Symphony has performed this unique work have been quite memorable, not only because of the virtuoso orchestral score, but also because of the participation of the men of the CSO Chorus taking on the role of the traditional Greek chorus.
Michael Tilson Thomas, a master Stravinsky interpreter, will conduct a program that will also include Stravinsky’s ballet “Apollo,” also on a Greek theme, and his short orchestral work, “Ode.” (Dennis Polkow)
February 18-21 at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, (312)294-3000.
Dennis Polkow is an award-winning veteran journalist, critic, author, broadcaster and educator. He made his stage debut at age five, was a child art prodigy and began playing keyboards in clubs at the age of fourteen. He holds degrees in music theory, composition, religious studies and philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago. Polkow spent his early years performing and recording in rock and jazz bands while concertizing as a classical pianist, organist and harpsichordist and composing, arranging and producing for other artists. As a scholar, Polkow has published and lectured extensively and taught at several colleges and universities in various departments. As an actor, narrator and consultant, Polkow has been involved with numerous films, plays, broadcasts and documentaries. As a journalist, Polkow helped co-create the experiential Chicago Musicale and Spotlight, the award-winning tabloid arts and entertainment section of the Press Publications chain of newspapers, which he later edited. He also created and ran the nationally recognized journalism program at Oakton College and was faculty advisor to its award-winning student newspaper; many former students went on to major media careers, including Channel Awesome’s the Nostalgia Critic. Polkow’s research, interviews, features, reviews and commentaries have appeared across national and international media and he has corresponded from the Middle East, Asia and Africa for the Chicago Tribune. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org