Lang Lang Lyric Recital Review – Flying Finger Showman


Lang Lang, after his first standing ovation, sweetly introduced his mother and then dedicated his first encore, a Chinese folk song called Carol Dance, to his and other mothers for Mother’s Day.  An intimate touch, it added to the already confounding sense that we were in an intimate soiree with Lang Lang, instead of in the grand Civic Opera House.


Photo by Detlief Schneider


Perhaps it did feel intimate to Lang Lang, whose previous audiences have numbered in the billions for the Beijing Olympics, for instance.   For some reason the Civic Opera House felt more crowded than usual, curious because it always seems sold out for every opera.  Where did the extra people sit? 



How fun to listen to this crowd before the show and during intermission.  Chinese was being spoken as much as English.  There was also lively chatter in French, Russian and other tongues too difficult to pin down.



There were two jumbotron screens on each side of the stage that projected an aerial top-down view of Lang Lang’s fingers flying across the keys.   If you hadn’t already been feeling like you were at a rock concert, that touch seemed to seal it. 



Lang Lang’s performance included Tchaikovsky’s “Seasons”, Bach’s “Italian Concerto BMV 971 in F Major” and Chopin’s “Four Scherzos”.  The latter especially gave us a gander of Lang Lang’s ability to make his fingers fly across the keyboard, or perhaps make keys fly, to paraphrase his children’s book title.   He is wont to pop up for a bow in between movements, which is such a welcome alternative to the scolding glances of conductors who turn to growl at inappropriate audience clapping before a piece ends.


Lang Lang is called a rock star for no shortage of reasons.


The Lyric Opera has announced their 2015/16 season, nine full operas and two one-night only solo performances. For tickets or information visit the Lyric Opera website or call the box office at 312 827 5600.





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