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Weekend Off?

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Well it was and it wasn't -- but the "work" was a pleasure as usual!

The real excitement of the afternoon was Passion at the Public Library. This was the setting chosen by the talented director Joanie Schultz for the Chicago Cultural Center's production of Acis and Galatea. All the characters were library staff! And my goodness, watch out next time you go to borrow a book. They are hot! No doubt the inspiration for Galatea was Marian the Librarian in the Music Man.

Well their utterly delightful, spectacles and all, Marian/Galatea was Amy Conn. The show is worth it for her alone. But for much else as well. Francesco Milioto did a super job with the New Millennium Orchestra, a band of first class young Chicago free lancers. It was all immaculate and the first oboe is clearly a star player. You can see the show in another setting tomorrow (Monday) evening at the Pritzker Pavilion -- 100 delightful minutes without intermission. And our daughter sat spellbound on my knee as well -- not bad for a five year old.

And I went to the whole of the thoroughly splendid Dream of Gerontius with the Grant Park Orchestra on Saturday evening. Superb work all round led by the excellent Carlos Kalmar (below). A big thank you and bravo to him. And Christopher Bell has done a magnificent job with the chorus which is highly polished and with rich full throated sound. And Allyson McHardy effaces all memories of other distinguished exponents of the Angel. She has developed into something very special and moving. And John MacMaster sings the taxing title role with considerable assurance and thrilling sound. So altogether I had a fine day of music with two of England's greatest composers.

And so tomorrow begins another week of quiet but determined activity. We have some committee meetings and are preparing for the beginning stages of a thorough strategic review of COT. This will be a major job for the board over the coming weeks and months. More about that in due course.