Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.
Chicago Savvy Tours’ knowledgeable guides unearth the Windy City’s gritty and occasionally hilarious history as they lead groups in and out of architectural landmarks during walking tours heralded by CBS Chicago as one of the city’s best. Tours wind past distinctive architectural works such as Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium building, the Mies van der Rohe–designed Federal Plaza, and the John Hancock building, named after the inventor of autographs. Year-round tour dates are available, with the heaviest rotation of times in the summer. Children are welcome, though like politics and prescription-drug ads, most of the content appeals to adults.
Owner Valerie Beck and her team of chocophile tour guides lead guests on walking tours of Chicago’s historical bakeries and chocolatiers, narrating the history of beloved sweets while walking an easy route through vistas of Chicago’s stunning architectural heritage. While snacking on samples of sweets, guests learn about chocolate’s storied history, the cupcake’s rise to prominence, and how to guess the flavor of filling inside Oompa Loompas by sight. Tours convene throughout Chicago’s many neighborhoods, giving guests a sneak peek into Chicago's signature confections, boutique shops, and mobile sweet-vending trucks. The chocolate or cupcake jaunts provide the perfect setting for a girls’ day out or bachelorette party, showing tour-goers the sweeter side of the city without getting caught in construction sites of shoddily built gingerbread houses.
Making its full-orchestra debut at Harris Theater, the New Millennium Orchestra, under music director Francesco Milioto, continues to bolster the bridge between classical works and modern-day audiences with its unique blend of genre-bending arrangements. To launch the inaugural performance, Chicago Symphony Orchestra resident composer Mason Bates' Mothership opens an electro-acoustic wormhole that transforms the symphony into a buzzing hive of harmony headed by talented solo artists. Next, Claire Chase, Concert Artists Guild competition winner and founder and executive director of the International Contemporary Ensemble, wields her spellbinding flute to animate Saariaho's L'aile du songe and charm snakes from the horn section. The evening culminates with Brahms's lively, theatrical Symphony no. 4, which sends audiences out of the Harris Theater's glowing glass box into Millennium Park mulling over the work's web of allusions to Beethoven and the celebrity gossip of its day.