Whatever their fancy, Chicago’s A-list can bask in an array of cultural riches this season as the city hosts four world-class events.
Muti Does Verdi
“Verdi is the composer of a lifetime,” says Riccardo Muti. “[He] communicates to us all our feelings: our hope, our joy, and our sadness,” the Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director continues. “He speaks to mankind. And his music in the future will be more and more important.” As part of the city’s yearlong Shakespeare 400 celebration, Muti conducts Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff—a work that continues to challenge the conductor of nearly 50 years. Says Muti, “The score should be performed in a very light, nuanced way, almost like in Mozart, despite the full and heavy orchestration.” April 21, 23, and 26.Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan Ave., 312-294-3000
Miami City Ballet
Thirty years after George Balanchine-trained New York City Ballet principal dancer Edward Villella launched Miami City Ballet, the renowned company makes its Harris Theater debut under artistic director Lourdes Lopez. “It’s true that there are many men choreographers and many male directors of companies,” observes Harris’s outgoing president Michael Tiknis, “but there are equally as great a number of very important women in the ballet world, and this is a really unique opportunity.” Among the highlights of Miami City Ballet’s two separate programs is Heatscape, which choreographer-to-watch Justin Peck presents against a backdrop by artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic 2008 Barack Obama Hope image. April 29-30, 7:30 pm. 205 E. Randolph Dr., 312-334-7777
Rio 2016 might be top of mind now, but well before the modern Olympic Games as we know them, there was the America’s Cup. In a maritime milestone, this grand sailing race hits freshwater for the first time with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago qualifying event. “There is no better stadium than Chicago for this style of racing,” observes Chicago event director Tod Reynolds. “The Windy City is truly made for this.” With a race village built out at Navy Pier (complete with grandstands, entertainment, and a Dark ’N Stormy bar), the course stretches toward Museum Campus for an unforgettable lakefront weekend. June 10-12. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago Polo returns for the 94th year with its summer season beginning in June. Nearly 15,000 spectators will visit Chicagoland through September to take in the ever enduring equestrian sport; mark your calendar for August 7, when Oak Brook Polo Club competes against India’s Delhi Polo Club for the storied USPA Drake Challenge Cup. June 1-September 14