My (radio) guest tonight/Monday: rebroadcast from 2009, legendary composer Pierre Boulez, Helen Regenstein conductor emeritus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This Wednesday through Sunday, 12 through 16 November, the CSO presents concerts and "Beyond the Score" programs of and in tribute to Boulez and his upcoming 90th birthday. Critical Thinking, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. CST on 98.7WFMT Chicago and via free streaming at wfmt.com. Subsequently available any time wfmt.com/criticalthinking. See you on the radio!
Acclaimed South African opera stage designer Johan Engels has died at 62 in his adopted home of Bath, England, of an apparent heart attack. Closely associated with the Bregenz Festival in Austria, stage director David Pountney, and intendant Anthony Freud at Houston Grand Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, Engels had just completed designs for the new Chicago Ring Cycle, set to launch in 2016-2017. Statement of Anthony Freud below and a recent interview from South Africa's online Classica magazine here. I had looked very much forward to interviewing and getting to know him.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic passing of Johan Engels. We mourn with the rest of the international performing arts community, which has lost one of its brightest lights, and send our sincerest sympathies to his family. --
Johan was an incredible artist who made a tremendous impact at Lyric in just a few short seasons. His designs for last season's Parsifal took our breath away. His complete commitment to Weinberg's The Passenger [pictured, above in with Zofia Posmysz, author of the original radio play and novel, and below; both Bregenz 2011] which will have its Chicago première in February, helped bring that work to vivid life. We will dedicate our upcoming performances of this work to his memory. --
Johan recently completed the set designs for our upcoming Ring cycle. Despite this devastating loss, our plans to produce Wagner's Ring cycle, starting in the 2016-17 season, remain in place."