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CSO’s 2014 plans at Ravinia: ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Salome’

This summer at Ravinia is still rolling, but just after extending its contract with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for five years through summer 2018, the Highland Park festival is offering a sneak peek at next year’s CSO residency.

With Romantic works — by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin — emphasized in 2014, Leonard Bernstein’s score for “West Side Story” also will get a live performance as the 1961 film classic is projected on screens both in the pavilion and on the lawn. On an even more pop end, Ravinia completes its “Lord of the Rings” trilogy with the luxury of the CSO accompanying “The Return of the King” live as well.

CSO residency music director James Conlon, currently contracted through next summer, has had some of his biggest success at the park with semi-staged and concert-version operas, and he is scheduled to lead three in 2014. The pavilion will host “Salome,” the 1905 one-act Expressionist masterpiece by Richard Strauss, commemorating that composer’s 150th birthday anniversary with the excellent American soprano Patricia Racette performing the title role for the first time.

Conlon’s popular half-size orchestra Mozart operas return to the indoor Martin Theatre after a year’s absence with “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro” each getting two performances in one repertory weekend. Though full-scale Broadway musicals in concert still won’t return next year, a Lerner & Loewe evening is slated in the pavilion.

Announced soloists include soprano Deborah Voigt with popular songs, violinist Joshua Bell playing Sibelius and Saint-Saens for Ravinia’s annual education programs benefit, the fast-rising Montenegrin guitarist Milos Karadaglic in music of Joaquin Rodrigo (in another program of classical music used for movie scores), and Midori in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

The 20-concert residency runs July 8 through Aug. 17, 2014. Most CSO pavilion seats will again be marked down to $25, with $10 lawn admission to most performances and free lawn admission for children and students (through college and with I.D.) to all classical concerts.

More program, date, conductor and soloist details will be announced in the next months, and tickets go on sale through March 10.

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