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John Malkovich

FEATURES

Honest John

By David Zivan

Photography by Sandro Miller

03.26.18

The always dazzling John Malkovich returns to Chicago this month for four performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the narrator in "Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland. We spoke with the masterful actor about his classical connections.

You’re no stranger to the world of classical music.
I toured for eight years with a baroque orchestra based in Vienna, doing one show called The Infernal Comedy, which played in Chicago a few years back, and another called The Giacomo Variations, which was later made into a movie called Casanova Variations.

Clearly you enjoy it.
Yes, I like classical music, and yes, more or less the same composers everyone else has been listening to for a couple of hundred years.

The Copland piece has been performed by Walter Cronkite, Henry Fonda and even Dr. J. What sort of personal stamp would you like to make?
I don’t really do ‘personal stamps.’ I just perform the material. The piece is about Aaron Copland’s music and his reflections upon Abraham Lincoln, not about me. 

Do you find the current political climate makes the piece seem more urgent to you?
I don’t know, as I haven’t performed it yet. It does seem a particularly charged time politically, but it normally is in the good old U. S. of A., isn’t it?

April 12, 13, 14, and 17, $55-$280

Main Image: This photograph, “Alexander Gardner / Abraham Lincoln (1863),” by Sandro Miller, is part of Miller’s series titled Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters.