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Houston Performing Arts and Events September 2011

Artists from the Houston Ballet in Giselle.


Houston Ballet, Beginning Sept. 22

A striking pairing of contemporary and classical, speed and stillness, this two-part program is a spectacular showcase for the dancers of Houston Ballet. Giselle is a journey into a beautiful world of love, ghosts and mystery. The story of a peasant girl and the man who deceives her, Giselle is one of the most widely performed works of the Romantic era. Newly staged for Houston Ballet, this Giselle harkens back to early Russian productions. Performances will be held through Oct. 2. Purchase tickets by phone at 713-227-2787 or go to houstonballet.org.



Pianist Xiayin Wang will perform with the St. Petersburg Symphony.


Society for the Performing Arts, Oct. 6

One of Russia’s musical treasures, the St. Petersburg Symphony was founded in the late 1960s with the intention of performing seldom-played opuses of different musical styles from all over the world. By 1988, the symphony’s repertoire expanded greatly and is now considered limitless as they perform music of every era, genre and style. Led by Principal Guest Conductor Vladimir Lande, the St. Petersburg Symphony’s Houston debut program will feature Weinberg’s Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes and piano soloist Xiayin Wang performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 in Jones Hall. For additional information or tickets, visit spahouston.org.


Melissa Miller, American, born 1951; tapestry, 2007, oil on canvas.


Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Through Sept. 25

Second Nature examines the revived interest in landscape by contemporary artists, demonstrating the power of the land to speak to the imagination. Recent MFAH acquisitions — together with major works that are rarely on view — trace the evolving image of the landscape in art of the last 40 years, moving from the literal interactions of the 1960s and 1970s to the conceptual manipulations of the present day.

Encompassing all media, this exhibition illustrates landscape imagery mediated through natural selection, imagination and technology, offering a second look at the natural world. For more information, visit mfah.org.



Houston Friends of Music, Sept. 8

The Tokyo String Quartet has performed for Houston audiences on 38 occasions, more than any other chamber music ensemble. They have played more than 100 compositions by over 50 different composers, with Beethoven having been chosen the most.

The Tokyo String Quartet continues to play with the same youthful exuberance and execution plus mature insight that has placed them in the pantheon of the world’s finest string quartets.

For additional information, go to houstonfriendsofmusic.org.



Houston Ballet, Beginning Sept. 8

From three of the world’s most esteemed choreographers come three lyrically stunning ballets long absent from Houston Ballet’s repertoire. Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs, with its ice-skating couples, showcases the wit and warmth for which Ashton is known. Set against a starry sky, Jerome Robbins’ In the Night is a beautiful and poignant ballet featuring three pairs of dancing lovers. Rarely performed in America, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth is a symphonic masterpiece of music and dance, inspired by an ancient Chinese poem. Performances will be held through Sept. 18 in the Brown Theater at Wortham Theater. For tickets, go to houstonballet.org.



Houston Grand Opera, Sept. 9 – 12

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, Houston Grand Opera presents the premiere of Pieces of 9/11, Memories from Houston, a specially commissioned song cycle by renowned U.S. composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer.

Commissioned as part of the HGOco Song of Houston project, a unique initiative designed to connect a great opera company to its community through collaboration, the work commemorates those Houstonians who were affected by, and responded to, events on Sept. 11, 2001. All performances are free. HGO will perform on Friday, Sept. 9, Houston City Hall Reflection Pond. and Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Rothko Chapel.

For additional information, visit www.houstongrandopera.org.



DiverseWorks, Beginning Sept. 10

Starting in September, DiverseWorks’ dock will be the backdrop for a rotating series of large-scale works by some of Houston’s most accomplished and sought after street artists. Every eight weeks, a new artist reveals Grandalism, showcasing the raw talent and innovation of the city’s freshest and most prolific urban artists selected by Gonzo247, one of Houston’s most notable street art legends.

Grandalism explores the combination of street art’s traditional large-scale format,its “grand” from the public, and sometimes its unappreciated label of vandalism. For complete list of artists, go to www.diverseworks.org.



The Country Playhouse, Beginning Sept. 16

Anna in the Tropics is a poignant and poetic new play set in Florida in 1929 in a Cuban-American cigar factory, where cigars are still rolled by hand and “lectors” are employed to educate and entertain the workers. The arrival of a new lector is cause for celebration, but when he begins to read aloud from Anna Karenina, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics, and the American dream prove a volatile combination.

Performances will be held through Oct. 1. To purchase tickets, go to countryplayhouse.org.



Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Through Sept. 18

In an era of virtual neighborhoods and fast-paced internet communication, The Spectacular of Vernacular addresses the role of vernacular forms in the work of 20 artists who utilize craft, incorporate folklore, and revel in roadside kitsch to explore the role of culturally specific iconography in the increasingly global world of art.

Originally employed as a linguistic term, vernacular is now broadly applied to categories of culture, standing in for regional, folkloric or homemade — concepts that contemporary artists have investigated since the late 1950s as part of a deeper consideration of the relationship between art and everyday life. Visit camh.org for additional information.



Houston Symphony, Sept. 22 – 25

Imagine the knight in shining armor, lance held high. Noble, determined and charming, he conquers his enemies, wins countless battles, champions peace, and always gets the girl! This deliciously ironic musical self-portrayal shows Strauss’ acute sense of humor at his compositional height. Hans Graf conducts with Olga Kern on piano. Performances will be held at Jones Hall. For more information, go to houstonsymphony.org.



Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 23

Ars Lyrica’s 2011-12 season of Transformations begins with a journey from worldly torment to heavenly ecstasy featuring French-Italian soprano Céline Ricci in her Houston début with core Ars Lyrica string and continuo players. To purchase tickets, go to thehobbycenter.org.



The Menil Collection, Beginning Sept. 23

A unique and rarely shown facet of the Menil’s holdings is work on paper by self-taught artists. The Surrealists were particularly enchanted by what has come to be known as “Outsider Art.” Seeing Stars features outsider drawings, as well as drawings by established modern and contemporary artists who have consciously adopted an outsider vocabulary. Both groups work against traditional and academic methods of representation and mark making. They also share formal and stylistic tendencies that have continued to play a role in conversations about drawing in the 21st century.

For more information, visit menil.org.



Theatre Under The Stars, Beginning Sept. 27

Theatre Under The Stars will open its 2011-12 season on Sept. 27 with the golden age, swing-era musical comedy Guys and Dolls, a Tony Award winner for Best Musical and Best Musical Revival. The production will run through Oct. 9 at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Guys and Dolls follows a group of gamblers, gangsters and gals in the seedy, after-hours underworld of the city that never sleeps. When chronic gambler Nathan Detroit finds himself in need of funds to support his floating craps game, Save-a-Soul Mission’s ultimate “good girl,” Sgt. Sarah Brown, becomes the center of a wager between gamblers Nathan and Sky Masterson. Visit TUTS.com for more information.



Masquerade Theatre, Beginning Sept. 30

Based on the lives of the Sicilian Maceo brothers, GALVESTON tells the incredible story of their gambling and bootlegging empire in Galveston during the depression of the early 1900s, the critical role they played in the city’s identity, and ending with their construction of the famous Balinese Room. Music and lyrics by Mark York. Performances will be held through Oct. 9 at Zilkha Hall . For additional information or to purchase tickets, go to thehobbycenter.org.



Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Through Oct. 9

Marc Swanson constructs sculptures out of found iconographic sources, from taxidermy to tattoos, fabricating them from culturally-loaded materials so that the resulting sculptures in both form and content reveal the conspicuous constructedness of personas in the modern mediated world. For example, taxidermy forms relating to his own father’s fantasy of an outdoorsy hunter’s life — one his dad never really lived but simulated — are overlaid with the glittered mirrored surfaces associated with the demimonde of the after-midnight nightclub world the artist inhabited for many years. Swanson’s allusions often refer simultaneously to both the austere, rarefied and serious history of minimal art and the legacy of cheesy metal and self-consciously decadent glam rock bands. In stating the equal importance of both in his work, Swanson makes viewers aware of the complex negotiations between high and low culture in everyone’s lives. This exhibition is curated by Bill Arning, director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. For more information, visit camh.org.

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