Ravinia Picks from President and CEO Welz Kauffman

As the Festival’s fearless leader, Welz Kauffman knows this summer’s schedule inside and out—so, we asked him for a tour.

And while of course the Highland Park resident loves everything on the lineup that he helped create, “there are some things that are very special and unique this summer,” he says—one of them being the 75th anniversary of the CSO in residence at Ravinia.

Here are the President’s Picks, in chronological order:

Jennifer Hudson
Saturday, July 16

The Chicago native is “outrageously gifted. I’ve been trying to make this happen for awhile.”

Gala Benefit All-Gershwin Evening
Saturday, July 23

In addition to the 75th anniversary of the CSO in residence at Ravinia, it’s also the anniversary of the only appearance George Gershwin ever made at Ravinia in 1936. “So, we’re replicating to the note the program he did in 1936, with the orchestra and wonderful soloists.”

Puccini’s “Tosca”
Saturday, July 30

“It’s one of the most dramatic and tuneful operas ever written, and one of the most popular. Everything in it is gorgeous—arias, ensembles. The story is fantastic and it’s all in the music.”

Bryn Terfel Recital in the Martin Theatre
Tuesday, Aug. 2

“He is an amazing artist and a big, huge bear of a guy. He’s Welsh. Beautiful voice, lots of drama. Usually his recitals are done in theaters that are 2,000 to 4,000 seats, so to have him in the Martin Theatre, which is just 850, is a rare treat.”

“Mahler 100-Concluding James Conlon’s Mahler Cycle”
Thursday, Aug. 4

“It a very early work, sort of a fairytale, with a big chorus and soloists and the CSO. It’s a very rarely done piece.” Bonus: Itzhak Perlman performs Beethoven, all in the same program.

Jackie Ivancho
Sunday, Aug. 7

This 11-year-old classical crossover singer is “profoundly gifted, loves to sing, and is a real charmer. She will be a magnet and an inspiration for young people.”

Anything Liszt
Throughout the summer, the Festival will be celebrating “the 200th birthday of the great, romantic piano master.”

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