Photos by Robert Carl, courtesy of Harris Theater



Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago
Paris Opera Ballet

The best antidote to Chicago temperatures in the nineties is this surpassingly cool prospect — free Millennium Park concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where the sound is superb and the ceiling’s a canopy of stars.

Cooler still was the addition of big screen video to this outdoor mix that a huge crowd enjoyed June 27, when the Paris Opéra Ballet’s exquisite production of “Giselle” was projected live via the big screen, from inside the Harris Theater, to the traditional classical-loving audience of the Grant Park Orchestra. 

There’s so much more to video presentation than just hanging up a big screen.  It’s costly to broadcast high-quality sound and video, and it’s quite risky from an artistic standpoint.  The camera crew must engage in its own choreography to catch the action in a way that underscores the drama and harmonizes with the music. The overall effect needs to heighten the experience for its intended audience.

That’s why it was so encouraging to see this remarkable “Giselle” take flight in a well-conceived, beautifully executed video production that drew upon the talent of video and film director Bruce Bryant, who has done similar work for the Houston Grand Opera, the Washington National Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The result was manna for the capacity outdoor crowd, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a big supporter, had estimated at as many as 15,000 people. 

Nancy Malitz, Chicago on the Aisle