Ravinia performers ready for their close-up

Posted on: August 4, 2009

In Monday’s (8/3) Chicago Sun-Times , Bryant Manning writes, “It’s a balmy July evening and you’re sitting in the Ravinia pavilion for a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ commences, and the clarinetist blows out the famous opening solo. The scene is hardly unfamiliar, except for the two added visual elements that are now in play. Twin mammoth video screens on each side of the stage reveal the soloist in extreme closeup, captured by a small film crew who are set up throughout the pavilion. … For most Ravinia patrons, this rock-concert brand of intimacy—introduced this year—has been a welcome addition to Chicago’s storied music festival. Ravinia CEO and executive director Welz Kauffman states that 99 percent of the feedback he’s received on the giant screens has been in the form of ‘outrageous praise.’ ” Some concertgoers have expressed reservations about the screens, Manning notes, among them Miami-based classical music writer and native Chicagoan Lawrence A. Johnson. “Kaufmann says Ravinia is ‘treading lightly’ with the lawn screens, which they’ll trot out Aug. 14 for several dates for a trial run. For now, they’re tinkering with where to put them, gauging the audience reaction and effect on ticket sales.”

Posted August 4, 2009