Carrie Underwood, Jeff Beck headed to Ravinia

Written By BY PHIL ROCKROHR For Sun-Times Media Posted: 02/27/2014, 12:06am
Array INDIO, CA - APRIL 27: Dwight Yoakam performs onstage during 2013 Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival held at The Empire Polo Club on April 27, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Ravinia Festival unveiled its 2014 season schedule early Thursday, with a lineup of 130 acts taking the stage June 5 through Sept. 14 at the Highland Park venue. Tickets go on sale March 5.

Among the loaded summer schedule are a series of golden shows that would make any music fan excited including:

Aug. 12 — Kiri Te Kanawa. Recently seen on “Downton Abbey,” the iconic soprano celebrates her 70th birthday with a program in the Martin Theatre that includes a world premiere by Jake Heggie commissioned by Ravinia for the occasion.

Aug. 28ZZ Top with Jeff Beck. Neither of these artists alone would be enough to keep the musically adventurous occupied for a full evening, but together they frame a bill that combines shrewd pop sensibility with masterful technique — of which both artists are capable within the right composition. In other words, this unique combination will entertain any rock fan who may want to hear some classic hits but still wants to be challenged by expertise and nuance.

Aug. 31 Dwight Yoakam, with Bob Weir & RatDog. Like the Aug. 28 billing, this may seem like an unlikely combination, in particular to purists who eschew Weir’s former incarnation in the Grateful Dead. But Yoakam’s smooth country and Weir’s ethereal rock nicely complement each other. If Weir gets too stiff or jammy, remember Yoakam is up next. And if Yoakam gets a little too slick or poppy, remember you just heard Weir.

Other highlights include: Carrie Underwood (Sept. 6-7); Rufus Wainwright and Cat Power (June 25); OneRepublic and the Script (June 18-19).

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Newman, performs the score of “West Side Story” during screenings on July 17-18. Violinist Midori is on the program July 9 in the Martin Theatre. For opera fans, Patricia Racette stars in Ravinia’s first complete presentation of “Salome” (Aug. 2).

For tickets and a complete schedule, visit

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