Everyone has one and uses it, but there are few who can *really* make it sing. Join us as we ask Alexandra Olsavsky and Thomas Alaan what it takes to be a singer.
This predecessor of the piano is probably the best known early Western musical instrument known to modern audiences. Join national treasure David Schrader to learn more about the harpsichord!
It’s true. Most people associate recorders with screeching, neon-colored plastic instruments. But listen to Laura Osterlund play, and you'll wish you'd paid more attention in elementary music class!
What do you get when you employ two creative Frenchmen as the resident artists of your 17th century court? With some luck, you'll get the Baroque oboe. Explore the "leading reed" with Sung Lee!
Love glue: two words you never thought you'd see together in classical music. But, there they are. Find out what that actually means, and meet our traverso player, Leighann Daihl Ragusa!
It kind of looks like a cello... only it's not! It's called a viola da gamba, which means "leg-viol." Come explore this beautiful and versatile instrument with BBE artist and Chicago favorite, Anna Steinhoff.
Once upon a time (c.1500) in a land far, far away (Italy), a maiden named Isabella d’Este made the purchase of a lifetime in c. 1500. You probably guessed it: the violin. Explore that purchase, and how the violin has evolved since the 16th century, with BBE Artistic Director, Brandi Berry.
The early trombone (also called a sackbut) has remained relatively unchanged since it was invented in the 15th century. That’s a pretty stellar run, but as the saying goes, “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.” Join us as we explore this *genius* instrument with Paul Von Hoff.
Some of the instruments we're using for our Chicago Stories project don't have a modern counterpart. Bill Baxtresser, member of Gaudete Brass and Rook, plays a really unique instrument that has no sound or physical shape remotely close to anything we have today. It's called a cornetto, and no, it's not a brand of ice cream.
Did you ever stop and think that Bach and Beethoven, in their times, were creating new music? Not a soul had ever heard Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos or the Mass in B Minor, or Beethoven’s nine symphonies, before their premieres. B&B were at the cutting edge, and that's where we aim to go, too. Join us as we start our journey through a new project: Chicago Stories.
California native Kiyoe Matsuura (kee-yo-eh) is a dual-wielding Baroque and modern violin player that likes R&B and rap. She'll be playing up a storm at A Gaelic Summer, and answering the age old question: what do you do with a drunken sailor?
Thomas Aláan (pronounced uh-LAY-uhn) is a displaced West Virginian who sings like a girl - and that's awesome. He'll be leading all the drinking songs at A Gaelic Summer. The question everyone's dying to know, though: can he hold his liquor?
The BBE teams up with Holly Nastenko, the creative crocheting mind behind DaisyJoyStore, to create the BBE's next animal mascot friend, BBEaver. Find out about Holly and her work here!
The opera dates back to 1725. In North America, historical evidence tells us, a Philadelphia audience attended a performance of the piece in 1798. That was it until two months ago, when, on consecutive days, two audiences in Chicago had the privilege. And last Saturday evening, that opportunity was extended to Bloomington: to experience in concert what may be the first opera ever written in Scotland, “The Gentle Shepherd.”
WFMT interviews directors Brandi Berry and Thomas Alaan about the BBE's upcoming production of Scotland's first opera, The Gentle Shepherd.
Who is Tom McElroy?
Christian, husband, father, grandfather, actor. Born and raised in the far north suburbs, Have worked flippin' burgers, fryin' chicken, construction, youth ministry, driving a delivery truck, sales, store manager, sales trainer, substitute teaching, Starbucks and for the past 23 years theatre, film, and television. Avid reader, love a good conversation with anyone, friend, enemy, new or old. Being part of telling a great story whether it's in theatre, film, television, or just sitting around with friends and family is something I am so incredibly grateful to have enjoyed doing, so many times and in so many places."God has made me an actor, when I perform I feel His pleasure." (with apologies to Eric Liddlell)
How did you get into acting?
I've been performing all my life. Skits for the parents and relatives, magic for banquets and parties, a little ventriloquism too. Moved on to plays in highschool and community theatre. Then in 1993 I decided to give it a try professionally and just never looked back.
What is the best play you've ever seen?
Hands down my favorite is the first show I ever saw in Chicago. It was at the Body Politic and starred my good friend Roger Mueller as Chris in All My Sons by Arthur Miller.
Tell us about a funny or embarrassing moment from a production.
Most recently (there have been many) I was in "A Life of Galileo" performing in a lecture hall at Northwestern university. At a very tense moment in the show, just after Galileo has recanted as I (playing Galileo) was crossing to my exit the door (which was to be my exit) suddenly opened and a man (possibly a professor?) burst in to the room looked around (at the theatrical lighting, actors on stage, and a huge audience) and fairly shouted, "Is there something going on in here?!" One of the other actors immediately replied, "Yes! We are doing a Brecht play!" The man paused and said, "oh." turned and walked out. Did I mention there was a sign on the door he came in advising that there was a play in progress? Hmmm....
How's your Scottish accent?
What do you like about The Gentle Shepherd production?
I'm loving the music, my fellow actors, and especially the "seer" scene where I tell Patrick's fortune.
The BBE is overjoyed to announce that it has received a grant from the Julian Grace Foundation, which will support its production of Scotland's first folk opera, The Gentle Shepherd! Thanks in part to JGF's support of this project, Chicago will experience a one of a kind show not seen in North America since 1792. Come enjoy the show, featuring the folk and fiddle music of Scotland and a cast of 15 actors, singers, and instrumentalists!
The BBE is reviewed by M.L. Rantala, Classical Music Critic for the Hyde Park Herald, for its "Corda Vocale" duet program: "deft ensemble playing, working together seamlessly."
The BBE is proud to announce it will produce Scotland's first opera, Allan Ramsay's The Gentle Shepherd (1725), in the fall of 2016 as part of a three-month residency at the Old Town School of Folk Music.