Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Ricardo Muti seen in this file photo will conduct “Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross” at Holy Name Cathedral Feb. 17. Photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography
On Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m., Holy Name Cathedral will turn into a concert hall and welcome members of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director Ricardo Muti as they perform Joseph Haydn’s “Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross.” Cardinal Cupich will serve as narrator during the performance.
General admission tickets are $75 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting ministries at Holy Name Cathedral.
Cristina Rocca, vice president of artistic planning for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, responded by email to questions about the upcoming performance.
Chicago Catholic: Why did the Chicago Symphony Orchestra choose Holy Name Cathedral as a venue for this concert over other worship spaces in the city?
Cristina Rocca: The history of Holy Name Cathedral and its parish is closely linked to that of the city of Chicago. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has already performed in this landmark building and it is a particular wish of Maestro Muti to conduct in this venue right before the beginning of Lent. Its impressive size will be able to welcome a large audience and Maestro Muti hopes that people of all faiths will be attracted by the power of the music performed by the CSO.
Maestro Muti has always been very keen to bring his orchestra outside Symphony Center into the community.
Chicago Catholic: Why does the CSO like to perform in various locations such as the cathedral?
Rocca: Symphony Center is our home, but Maestro Muti feels that, whenever possible, the CSO should perform outside our main venue. Music is a universal language and should be enjoyed by the widest possible audiences. Whether in Chicago, in the United States or in foreign countries, the CSO is an ambassador for classical music and for the city of the Chicago.
Chicago Catholic: The seven last words of Christ refers to the last sentences spoken by Jesus before he died. Why was this piece of music selected?
Rocca: Haydn’s “Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross” was the composer’s personal favorite of his sacred works and it is rarely performed. It seemed a very appropriate choice for this time of the year and Maestro Muti is particularly fond of this work and its spiritual message.
Chicago Catholic: What are the challenges of performing in a building that is not a concert hall?
Rocca: There are a number of logistical and, above all, acoustical challenges to overcome each time that an orchestra performs in a venue such as a church. However, the CSO is capable of adapting very quickly to different acoustics. Some of the musicians have already performed in the cathedral and a team went to visit the venue and assessed the challenges in advance. Everything will be prepared well in advance.
To purchase tickets for the concert, visit cso.org.