HIGHLIGHTS: Chicago Symphony's Ravinia Festival 2014 Announces Classical Programming for “Summer of Love/Season of Stars”

By Louise Burton on Feb 28, 2014 10:51 PM EST

The Ravinia Festival announced its 2014 summer season in the midst of a deep freeze here in Chicago, where temperatures struggled to reach 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Looking through the impressive concert calendar of "Summer of Love/Season of Stars," it's pleasant to daydream of warmer nights spent listening to music on Ravinia's expansive lawn.

What follows is just a sample of the classical highlights from the 2014 festival. To view the complete concert calendar, please visit

This year's classical concerts include three musical incarnations of the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's Overture-Fantasy (July 27), a suite from Prokofiev's ballet setting of the story (July 16) and the score of West Side Story during a screening of the classic film in the pavilion (July 17-18).

The CSO will also perform the score to The Return of the King during a showing of the movie (August 7-8), completing its trilogy of Peter Jackson films based on J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.

Ravinia Festival Premieres

Ravinia, located just north of Chicago in Highland Park, Ill., is the summer home of the Chicago Symphony. The CSO's residency begins on July 8 with a program that holds the U.S. premiere of a flute concerto by Riverdance composer Bill Whelan. The concerto was written for James Galway and will be performed by the Irish flutist and the CSO under the direction of Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

This is the first of several premieres the festival will present in 2014. Celebrated soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, fresh from her appearances on the public television series Downton Abbey, will celebrate her 70th birthday with a concert in the Martin Theatre on August 12. She will sing the world premiere of a piece written by composer Jake Heggie, commissioned for the occasion by Ravinia.

Other Martin Theatre highlights include the world-premiere staging of The Devil's Tale, composer James Stephenson's sequel to Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, which will also receive its first staged performance at Ravinia on the same program, performed by the Chicago Pro Musica on August 5.

Ravinia Gala Evening with Joshua Bell

Violinist Joshua Bell will headline Ravinia's annual Gala Benefit Concert on July 26. He will perform Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the CSO led by James Conlon.

Richard Strauss Sesquicentennial

The Festival will present seven evenings devoted to the music of Richard Strauss in celebration of his 150th anniversary. The centerpiece of this celebration is a concert staging of Strauss' opera Salome, a work that explores a much darker side of love. Soprano Patricia Racette will sing the title role with James Conlon leading the CSO in the pavilion on August 2.

Mozart in the Martin

The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni round out this year's trio of operas. These Mozart masterpieces will be performed in repertory at the 850-seat Martin Theatre. Conlon conducts the CSO and chorus in one evening and one matinée performance of each from August 14-17.

Again, this is but a sampling of the highlights of Ravinia's classical season. So, for a complete listing of orchestral and chamber music concerts, do visit

It's worth noting, too, that most pavilion tickets to CSO concerts are only $25. And lawn tickets for most classical concerts are only $10. Children and students in college are admitted free to all classical performances.

Tickets to all events will go on sale to Ravinia donors starting March 5 and to the general public on April 24, exclusively at

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TagsRavinia Festival, Ravinia, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Conlon, Summer of Love/Season of Stars, Peter Jackson, The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Richard Strauss, Salome, Bill Whelan, James Galway, Joshua Bell, Kiri Te Kanawa, James Stephenson, The Devil's Tale

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