One evening, the great English composer Edward Elgar sat down at his piano to improvise. “That’s a good tune,” said his wife, Alice. “What is it?”
“Nothing yet,” replied Elgar, “but something might be made of it.”
Elgar then continued improvising, imagining what his various friends would do with the tune. What came about was his much-loved Enigma Variations, depicting “friends pictured within,” and tagging their initials and nicknames to each of the variations. The affectionate and vivid series of variations that resulted was to change their lives. This Beyond the Score® performance created by Gerard McBurney, who also narrates, delves into those special personalities that are the basis for this most famous and heart-warming musical masterpiece.
For this Beyond the Score production, originally presented in March 2011 at Orchestra Hall, guest conductor Charles Dutoit leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, along with pianist John Goodwin. Longtime Chicago actor Larry Yando, known for his portrayal of Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” performs the role of Edward Elgar.
In his review of this concert for the Chicago Sun-Times, critic Andrew Patner wrote: “Projections of designer Hillary Leben will make you want to book a trip to Elgar’s West Midlands and McBurney offers some of his most successful and insightful musical demonstrations to date.”