You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Lauren McNeese’ tag.

John Aler (Jack Mitchell photo)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins the music world in mourning the loss of American tenor John Aler, who died on December 10, 2022. He was seventy-three.

A four-time Grammy Award winner, Aler was a frequent guest with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both in Orchestra Hall and the Ravinia Festival. A complete list of his appearances and recordings with the Orchestra and Chorus is below.

February 13, 14, and 16, 1986, Orchestra Hall
BRITTEN War Requiem, Op. 66
Margaret Marshall, soprano
John Aler, tenor
Benjamin Luxon, tenor
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus
Doreen Rao, conductor
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

August 14, 1986, Ravinia Festival
LISZT A Faust Symphony
Men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
James Conlon, conductor

December 12 and 17, 1991, Orchestra Hall
BARTOK Cantata profana
John Aler, tenor
John Tomlinson, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall on December 16, 1991, for Deutsche Grammophon. Paired with Bartók’s The Wooden Prince, the release won four Grammy awards—Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Choral Performance, and Best Engineered Recording–Classical—from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

January 16, 17, 18, and February 14, 1992, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Requiem in D Minor, K. 626
Renée Fleming, soprano (January 16, 17, and 18)
Margaret Jane Wray, soprano (February 14)
Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano
John Aler, tenor
Peter Rose, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

April 29, 30, May 1, and 4, 1993, Orchestra Hall
BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis in D Major, Op. 123
Tina Kiberg, soprano
Waltraud Meier, mezzo-soprano
John Aler, tenor
Robert Holl, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded live in Orchestra Hall for Erato.

October 22, 1997, Orchestra Hall
MOZART Requiem in D Minor, K. 626
Emily Magee, soprano
Anna Larsson, contralto
John Aler, tenor
René Pape, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
The second half of a concert given in memory of Sir Georg Solti, who died on September 5, 1997

August 14, 1999, Ravinia Festival
MOZART Dies Bildnis is bezaubernd schön from The Magic Flute, K. 620
LEHÁR Lippen schweigen from The Merry Widow
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
John Aler, tenor
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
A portion of a concert—called A Galaxy of Stars—presented to benefit Ravinia’s outreach programs

July 23, 2010, Ravinia Festival
BERNSTEIN/Mauceri Vocal Suite from Candide
Cunegonde Anna Christy, soprano
Old Lady Kim Criswell, vocalist
Candide Nicholas Phan, tenor
Maximilian Jonathan Beyer, baritone
Governor/Vanderdendur John Aler, tenor
Paquette Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano
Lakeside Singers
Robert Bowker, director
John Axelrod, conductor

August 6 and 8, 2010, Ravinia Festival
MOZART The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
Figaro John Relyea, bass-baritone
Countess Almaviva Ailyn Pérez, soprano
Bartolo Richard Bernstein, bass
Susanna Lisette Oropesa, soprano
Marcellina Jane Bunnell, mezzo-soprano
Cherubino Lauren McNeese, mezzo-soprano
Count Almaviva Nathan Gunn, baritone
Basilio John Aler, tenor
Antonio Paul Corona, bass
Don Curzio Rodell Rosel, tenor
Barbarina Lei Xu, soprano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
James Conlon, conductor

Daniel Barenboim leads the Orchestra and Chorus in Mozart’s Requiem in memory of Sir Georg Solti on October 22, 1997 (Jim Steere photo)

This article also appears here.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family joins our friends at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in mourning the passing of beloved Chicago actor John Mahoney. He died in Chicago on February 4, at the age of 77.

John Mahoney in rehearsal at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2008 (Chris Walker photo for the Chicago Tribune)

John Mahoney appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on three occasions, once at the Ravinia Festival and twice in Orchestra Hall, as follows:

July 14, 2001 (Ravinia Festival)
MENDELSSOHN A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
John de Lancie, Narrator/Puck and director
John Mahoney, Bottom
Janet Zarish, Titania
Timothy Gregory, Oberon
Stacey Tappan, soprano
Lauren McNeese, mezzo-soprano
Chicago Children’s Choir
Josephine Lee, director

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma set the stage. “It was a dream of a midsummer’s night at the Ravinia Festival Saturday, the kind of warm, clear evening just made for picnicking and listening to music outdoors. The music offered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrew Davis provided a perfect match. After intermission, the pavilion light dimmed and sprites with glowing wands flitted through the night as the orchestra, singers and actors including John Mahoney . . . as the bumptious Bottom [he was] an endearing monster.”

April 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21, 2002 (Orchestra Hall)
STRAVINSKY The Soldier’s Tale
William Eddins, conductor
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
John Mahoney, Narrator
Paul Adelstein, Soldier
Hollis Resnik, Devil
Tina Cannon, dancer
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
David McGill, bassoon
Craig Morris, trumpet
Jay Friedman, trombone
Joseph Guastafeste, bass
Edward Atkatz, percussion
Peter Amster, director and choreographer
Rafael Viñoly, stage designer

“Seizing the opportunity to do something different, the CSO teamed with Steppenwolf Theatre to stage The Soldier’s Tale, which Stravinsky wrote in 1918 as a theater piece,” wrote Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times. “Mahoney was the dispassionate Narrator and Hollis Resnik a fashionable Devil in a generally lively staging by Peter Amster. Zukerman and six CSO musicians, conducted by William Eddins, perched on a tall, black platform centerstage, while Mahoney, Resnik, Paul Adelstein as the Soldier and dancer Tina Cannon spilled around the set of raised platforms and a few props devised by Rafael Viñoly. . . . Amster and his colleagues created a compelling drama. . . . Relaxed, making no judgments as he chronicled the Soldier’s victories and defeats, [Mahoney] was a sympathetic guide to Stravinsky’s morality tale.”

November 17, 18, 20, and 23, 2004 (Orchestra Hall)
Mikko Franck, conductor
John Mahoney, narrator
Erin Wall, soprano

Again, Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times described the event. “Mahoney returned to Symphony Center Thursday night to narrate a rare performance of Beethoven’s complete incidental music to Goethe’s Egmont. Goethe’s play about a former loyalist fighting Spanish colonialism in the 16th century Netherlands was quickly forgotten, but Beethoven’s Egmont Overture has long been a concert hall staple. It was fascinating to hear it in its complete context, especially with the young Finnish conductor Mikko Franck honing in on the music’s noble bearing and expansive reach. . . . In the minimal staging devised by director Sheldon Patinkin, [Mahoney] managed to turn the obscure Egmont into a flesh-and-blood presence. With his straightforward delivery and Beethoven’s evocative music reinforcing each scene, he brought us glimpses of a brave soldier and king’s loyal administrator destroyed by political intrigue and despotism. The thirst for liberty is a recurring motif in Beethoven’s life and much of his music. Hearing the entire Egmont, the movie music of its day, was a reminder of how strongly Beethoven believed in that ideal.”

Numerous tribute have been posted online, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Timesand CNN, among others.


the vault

Theodore Thomas

csoarchives twitter feed

chicagosymphony twitter feed


The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.


  • 494,072 hits
%d bloggers like this: