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This Week in Chicago Culture

From Renée Fleming to the Great Chicago Fire Festival, here are six cultural happenings to take note of this week.

Renée Fleming in the Lyric’s Cappricio   Armando L. Sanchez

Must-See Movies

The Chicago International Film Festival is officially under way.  The films you have to watch.

They Didn’t Start the Fire

The Great Chicago Fire Festival was a bust. Chicago has the lowdown on what went wrong.

A Voice of a Generation Comes to Town

Girls star Lena Dunham was in town Monday night to promote her new book, Not That Kind of A Girl, and The Tribune’s Chris Borelli was there.

Star TV Producer from Chicago Tells All

Chicago native and TV showrunner Shonda Rhimes talks about early Grey’s Anatomy,  that infamous New York Times ‘angry black woman’ article, and more in an in-depth profile by The Hollywood Reporter.

Transparently Awesome

Annoyance Theater alum Jill Soloway gets a second season for her critically acclaimed Amazon Prime show Transparent.

Review Revue 

The reviews are in for superstar soprano Renée Fleming, who began her celebrated run at the Lyric on Monday with the opening of Richard Strauss’s 15th and final opera, Capriccio. With high praise from both the Tribune and the Sun-Times, Fleming’s return to the stage (this is her first fully staged role at the Lyric in six years) is not a performance to be missed. 

Andrew Patner: “Fleming would be the first to say that the human voice changes over time, but she marshals all resources, and benefits, too, from a work of crisp German diction and conversational quality. She fully delivers the famed 20-minute solo scene towards the opera’s end and makes it of a piece with all that comes before. Her solo curtain call drew a well-deserved ovation." Read more.

John von Rhein: “Strauss’ sumptuous music suits Fleming’s vocal gifts and stage persona particularly well at this stage of her career. The “people’s diva” may not command the seemingly limitless float at the top of her range she once had, but the peaches-and-creamy tone and melting phrases that make her today’s go-to Strauss soprano remain. As witty and charming as she is beautiful, Fleming brought touching introspection to the final scene, making a poignant exit with some of the most sublime music Strauss ever composed.” Read more.

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