Ravinia and the Chicago Symphony also exceeded their goal for "Full House," their initiative to increase ticket-buying audiences within the seating pavilion for the CSO's core classical concerts at Ravinia. The goal had been to reach an average attendance of 73 percent; the actual average for the 2006 summer season was 83 percent, with five concerts (the Gershwin Gala and programs featuring Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Ren_e Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma) selling out entirely.
Another success was the 10-punch lawn pass introduced this year for lawn seating at all CSO concerts; it will be expanded for 2007 to include all classical concerts at the festival (excepting the fundraising gala with Plšcido Domingo).
Kauffman and festival music director James Conlon also announced the schedule and general outline of the 2007 classical concert program at Ravinia. Among the highlights:
* The continuation of Conlon's multi-year project "Breaking the Silence," which focuses on Jewish composers whose music was suppressed by the Nazis. The subject of next summer's series is Alexander von Zemlinsky, who was a prot_g_ of Brahms and Mahler, the teacher of Alma Mahler and the brother-in-law of Erich Korngold and Arnold Schoenberg. Conlon will conduct the CSO in three major Zemlinsky scores: the Lyric Symphony (with soprano Christine Brewer); the opera A Florentine Tragedy (featuring Brewer, tenor Anthony Dean Griffey and bass James Johnson), whose libretto is by Oscar Wilde; and the orchestral tone poem Die Seejungfrau ("The Mermaid").
* Mark Morris's Mozart Dances, which had an acclaimed world premiere at the 2006 Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
* A concert performance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, starring Patricia Racette, Frank Lopardo and Frederick Burchinal and conducted by Conlon.
* The Ravinia debut of viola da gamba superstar Jordi Savall and his ensemble Hesprion XXI.
* A performance by pianist Lang Lang with the CSO and Long Yu, China's most prominent conductor.
* Two programs by the Toronto period-instrument orchestra Tafelmusik.
* Conductor Paavo J‹rvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in Beethoven's Sixth and Seventh Symphonies.
* The return of former Ravinia music director Christoph Eschenbach, now music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris, for three concerts.
Among the featured soloists visiting Ravinia next summer are violinists Sarah Chang and Pinchas Zukerman; pianists Olga Kern, Misha Dichter, Ursula Oppens, Andr_ Watts and Garrick Ohlsson; cellist Lynn Harrell; baritone Thomas Hampson; and flutist James Galway.
For more information on the 2007 Ravinia Festival, visit www.ravinia.org.