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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Charles Dutoit has the ability to make even familiar works sound fresh, finding details other conductors miss or gloss over. Since resigning as the artistic director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 2002 following a dispute with musicians, he's been guest conducting other orchestras and focusing on his specialties--the French and Russian repertoires, especially from the 20th century. His CSO program includes selections from Prokofiev's high-octane Romeo and Juliet and Faure's gentle Pelleas and Melisande. In general he brings lightness and transparency to his French choices and really turns the screws in the Russian--and there are a lot of screws to turn in Romeo and Juliet, with its pummeling rhythms and ear-punishing climaxes. Like most conductors, Dutoit has formed his own suite from the complete ballet, sticking to the story's big moments and neglecting some plot points, but preserving the tragedy and the best music. Also on the program is the Petite symphonie concertante by Swiss composer Frank Martin, an unself-conscious work for orchestra and a twitchy combination of solo harp, harpsichord, and piano. Thursday, March 4, 8 PM, Friday, March 5, 1:30 PM, and Saturday, March 6, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan; 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114.

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