Ravinia is the oldest outdoor music festival in North America and it is a treasure that, for decades, has consistently delivered a diverse cornucopia of music, dance, and wonderful entertainment to Chicagoland in a setting that is unmatched in beauty. Is there a more delightful place to relax and picnic with friends and then have the opportunity to become absorbed in your favorite music, live…I think not.
This evening, Ravinia gave its patrons yet another gift, presenting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ted Sperling, along with world famous soprano Deborah Voight in a concert of classic and unique Broadway tunes.
Mr. Sperling is the recipient of the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater. He has found renown as a music director and conductor serving in those roles for the first Broadway revival of South Pacific in 2008 , which won seven Tony Awards. He also won Tony and Drama Desk awards for his orchestrations in the Light in the Piazza in 2005. This is the seventh season of his association with Ravinia.
Deborah Voight is a local girl, born and raised in Wheeling, Illinois. She has risen to international renown performing in title roles at the Boston Lyric Opera, Munich, Vienna, and the Metropolitan Opera. She has become a celebrated interpreter of German roles recently staging her first Brunnhilde for the five night presentation of the complete “Ring” cycle on PBS’s Great Performances from the Met. In 2003, she was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des arts des Lettres and Musical America’s vocalist of the year. She was bestowed an Opera News Award for distinguished achievement in 2007. This is her fifth season at Ravinia.
The CSO is considered by many, to be the standard by which to measure symphonic greatness, and in the capable hands of master Sperling this group of CSO musicians lived up to that reputation! What a night of music!The concert opened with a rousing rendition of the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Sperling personalized this piece, relating to the audience that has always been his dream to perform this piece and tonight he did! He then introduced Deborah Voight who performed a beautiful version of “I could have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. Next was a little known song by Charles Strouse, “Blame it on the Summer Night” from Rags and then “Something Wonderful” from the King and I. The rest of the first set included music from Kurt Weill, Richard Rodgers, and Meredith Willson. “If I loved You” from Carousel was truly lovely and Ms. Voight was mesmerizing
The second set opened with music from my favorite composer, George Gershwin, with the overture to Girl Crazy which included“I Got Rhythm”, “Embraceable You”, and “But not for Me”. Deborah Voight returned and sang “So in Love” from Kiss Me Kate by Cole Porter followed by Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing my Mind” from Follies and Jerome Kern’s “Why was I Born” from Sweet Adeline, all nicely done. Deborah stepped away for a breather as the CSO performed the overture from Annie Get your Gun, by Irving Berlin, in my opinion one of the best musicals ever written. Ms. Voight returned to sing “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” and I got lost in His Arms”. The evening concluded with Gershwin’s “My Man is Gone Now” from Porgy and Bess, a very difficult song to sing but easily handled by such a talent as Ms. Voight. The audience showed its appreciation with thunderous applause which prompted an encore.
This was a wonderful evening of music at the best outdoor venue in America on a magnificent summer evening. It doesn’t get any better than this and if you want to experience the wonder that is Ravinia check out the upcoming schedule at: www.Ravinia.org or call 847-266-5100