About the broadcast: When the little-seen music theater masterwork Mass was presented as the centerpiece of Ravinia’s 2018 celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, the Chicago Tribune declared it one of the best concerts of the year, and audiences clamored for a repeat performance. Ravinia obliged, reuniting more than 200 onstage artists—the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a cast of “Street Singers,” the choruses of Vocality and Chicago Children’s Choir, and even the local Highland Park High School marching band, plus baritone Paulo Szot, performing as the Celebrant at the center of it all—for a single 2019 encore that Ravinia arranged to have filmed.
The result premiered as an installment of the seminal PBS series Great Performances on May 15, and was freely streamable in its entirety until June 12.
We wish to express our gratitude to The Ravinia Women’s Board for its valued support which makes this broadcast possible.
A virtual “panel discussion” was livestreamed on Ravinia’s Facebook page just before the broadcast on May 15, covering topics from the origins of and reactions to Ravinia’s centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein with Mass at its center (twice!) to the personal experiences and resonances of bringing the piece to life onstage. For this talk, then Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman and Chief Conductor and Curator Marin Alsop were joined by the Tony Award-winning (South Pacific) singer/actor Paulo Szot, as well as Chicago Children’s Choir and Vocality Artistic Director Josephine Lee and Highland Park High School Band Director Joshua Chodoroff. The panel was moderated by WFMT Vice President and General Manager George Preston.
During the countdown to the broadcast, Ravinia premiered a special behind-the-scenes documentary about Leonard Bernstein’s Mass and its presentation at Ravinia, featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with the performers and creative team behind the festival’s acclaimed production as well as Bernstein’s three children.