The Ravinia Festival on Thursday announced its 2013 season featuring more than 120 events, including returning favorites Tony Bennett, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Buddy Guy, The B-52s and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra along with the festival debuts of Josh Groban, Alabama, Jewel and a double bill of Matchbox 20 and the Goo Goo Dolls.
Special events include the Midwest premiere of the "The Gospel According to the Other Mary" a Passion by John Adams; the Midwest premiere of cellist Yo-Yo Ma's 2013 Grammy Award-winning "The Goat Sessions;" a tribute to the late Benny Goodman on the 75th anniversary of his Ravinia debut featuring the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and clarinetists Eric Schneider, Larry Combs and Anat Cohen; the return of Pilobolus dance ensemble after 34 years; and the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir among others.
Violinists Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham; cellist Alisa Weilerstein, pianists Emanuel Ax and Leon Fleisher are among the guest soloists performing with the CSO, in its 78th summer residency. Music director James Conlon leads the orchestra in performances of Verdi's "Aida;" Gustav Mahler's Seventh Symphony and Howard Shore's score from "The Lord of the Rings -- The Two Towers" accompanied by a screening of the Peter Jackson film. Pianist Lang Lang joins the Conlon and the CSO in performances of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. Additionally, Christoph Von Dohnanyi conducts the CSO and Ax in back-to-back performances of Beethoven's Third Piano Concert and "Eroica" Symphony and the Fourth Symphony and the "Emperor" Concerto.
New this year, 2,500 of the Pavilion's 2,400 seats will be priced at $25 for each CSO concert, Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman announced. Lawn admission to classical concerts is $10 and free for children and students through college.
The Martin Theatre hosts a chamber orchestra performance of Leonard Bernstein's "Songfest" featuring poems read by Writers' Theatre ensemble members, along with Music of the Baroque's performance of Handel's "Israel in Egypt" and the Ravinia debut of pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. At Bennett Gordon Hall, violinist Rachel Barton Pine performs all 24 of Paganini's caprices while pianist Anthony de Mare performs Stephen Sondheim classics transcribed for the piano.
Other artists scheduled to perform include: Joan Baez, The BoDeans, Melissa Etheridge, John Hiatt, Steely Dan, Smash Mouth and Brian Wilson among others.
Festival donors may order tickets beginning March 28. Online sales of reserved and lawn tickets begin April 25 at ravinia.org. The box office opens May 18, and phone orders will be available beginning May 20, at (847) 266-5100. Note: all sales are final and refunds are not available.
Performances begin June 6, and run through Sept. 15, at 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park. Visit ravinia.org for a complete schedule.