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Grant Park Symphony Orchestra

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The Shostakovich most of us know is the brooding poet of the string quartets and the fervid humanist of the symphonies. No doubt the Soviet composer put much of his emotions and intellectualism into these two musical forms, producing works significant enough to place him in the company of Prokofiev and Stravinsky. But, being a Muscovite, Shostakovich was also drawn to the theater, and in his operas and ballets he revealed a warm, lighthearted side that could be satirical and dramatic without being bitter and ponderous. These Grant Park Symphony Orchestra performances, conducted by his son Maxim Shostakovich, will offer a choice sampler of his greatest hits for the stage. The program includes the Entr'acte from his first opera, The Nose (1930), loosely adapted from Gogol and considered decadent by the Communist Party, which responded with the formulation of "Socialist Realism" as an artistic dictum; the Suite from his best (and psychologically astute) opera, The Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934) whose antibourgeois heroine inspired first praise and later attack (under Stalin); Suite of 13 Movements for the ballet Hamlet (1932); and Suite from the 1930 ballet The Age of Gold. For curiosity value, there's also his Fragments from The Gadfly, a 1955 film score rarely performed these days. Maxim, who's made a noteworthy career of interpreting his father's music, is a favorite with the Grant Park crwod and can be counted on to add the gloss on these unabashedly theatrical pieces. Thursday, 7 PM, and next Friday, July 9, 8 PM, Petrillo Music Shell, Columbus Drive and Jackson; 819-0614.

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