Riccardo Muti, Anita Rachvelishvili & Francesco Meli Highlight Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-21 Season

By Francisco Salazar

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2020-21 season with Riccardo Muti leading a number of important and rare works and international soloists. For this article we will highlight the vocal performances.

A highlight of the year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth will be Riccardo Muti conducting the composer’s Missa solemnis. The maestro will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with soloists Hanna-Elisabeth Müller, Gerhild Romberger, Matthew Polenzani, and Tareq Nazmi.

Performance Dates: Sept. 24-26, 2020

Riccardo Muti conducts works by Britten and Elgar with British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote singing Elgar’s song cycle “Sea Pictures.” The program also includes Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

Performance Dates: Oct. 22-27, 2020

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts his piece based on a poem by Illinois native Carl Sandburg, entitled Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind.  This theatrical presentation features soprano Measha Brueggergosman, along with backup singers, a chamber orchestra and bar band. Tchaikovsky’s Little Russian Symphony will also be included in the program.

Performance Dates: Dec. 10-12, 2020

Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Chorus in a rich program that includes two settings of texts by Goethe. First the program will showcase Schubert’s “Song of the Spirits over the Waters” and Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody, featuring superstar Anita Rachvelishvili. The program concludes with Cherubini’s Mass for the Coronation of Charles X.

Performance Dates: March 4-6, 2021

Amanda Majeski makes her CSO debut in Wagner’s “Wesendonk Lieder.” Fabien Gabel conducts the program which also includes Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony and Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde.”

Performance Dates: April 8 & 10, 2021

Giovanni Antonini leads an evening of vocal and choral works by Vivaldi and Handel. The evening will end with Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” which was last performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in 1972. Soloists include Amanda Forsythe, Yulia Van Doren, and Julie Boulianne.

Performance Dates: April 29-May 4, 2021

Riccardo Muti brings the 2020-21 season to a close with a night of festive Italian opera favorites featuring Krassimira Stoyanova and Francesco Meli. 

Performance Dates: June 10-13, 2021