Florentine Opera’s Studio Artists go for the romantic jugular this weekend in Isn’t It Romantic? From left: Dan Richardson, Matthew Richardson, Erica Schuller and Kristen DiNinno.  #5: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center Seen Black Swan three times. Took little Jessica and her friends to the Christmas Nutcracker. Had your fill of Tchaikovsky, […]

Florentine Opera’s Studio Artists go for the romantic jugular this weekend in Isn’t It Romantic?
From left: Dan Richardson, Matthew Richardson, Erica Schuller and Kristen DiNinno.

 #5: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center
Seen Black Swan three times. Took little Jessica and her friends to the Christmas Nutcracker. Had your fill of Tchaikovsky, yet? No, we didn’t think so. It’s hard to get enough of the great Russian’s arching melodies and splashy orchestration, and there will be plenty of that available as Edo de Waart takes the helm for two of Peter Illych’s best loved works: the suites from The Nutcracker and the fantasy overture, Romeo and Juliet. And in the spirit of détente, de Waart pairs the great Russian with an American masterpiece, Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3. Stay for the well-known “Fanfare for the Common Man” in the fourth movement, but come for Copland’s wide-open heartland harmonies and driving ballet rhythms.

#4: Ailey II at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center
There are big changes at one of America’s best-known dance companies. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre recently built a splashy new home in New York City. Robert Battle replaced the retiring Judith Jamison as artistic director last summer. And Sylvia Waters, the longtime director of Ailey II, the group’s apprentice company, retires this summer. The group is still defined by its sense of soul and splashy athleticism, which should be on display for the company’s latest tour. There’s a blend of old and new on the program: Kyle Abraham’s street/hip-hop inspired “About the Corner,” Thang Dao’s abstract “Echoes,” and, of course, Ailey’s signature piece, “Revelations.”

#3: Accidental Genius at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Think Outsider Art, and you typically conjure the image of someone painting elaborate biblical scenes on the barn boards of his Appalachian home. But this brand of “untaught” art is international in scope, which is why the MAM’s recent acquisition of the Anthony Petullo collection is one of the biggest events in Milwaukee cultural history. The museum welcomes the Petullo Collection to its marbled walls with this exhibit, which includes a generous sampling of Petullo’s collecting legacy, 200 pieces that include works from England, Switzerland, Germany, and America.

#2: Florentine Opera’s Isn’t It Romantic? at the Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall
Why? Because these days, real romance is hard to come by, even on the Broadway stage (see Avenue Q’s “The Internet Is for Porn” if you don’t believe me). But the Florentine Opera still believes in love, and they’ve got the songs to prove it. Love songs that make Andrea Bocelli seem like Iggy Pop. Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jerome Kern and Lehar, Lehar, Lehar! All courtesy of the gorgeous voices of the Florentine’s own Studio Artists. Be sure and stop by and wish Florentine’s General Manager William Florescu as he heads out to Los Angeles to collect (fingers crossed) three Grammy Awards for the company’s recording of Elmer Gantry.

#1: Wild Space Dance Company’s Delicious at the Milwaukee Rep
Adventurous as they are, February is a bit too cold for one of Deborah Loewen’s trademark “site specific” performances. So instead she and her company transform the Milwaukee Rep’s Steimke Theatre into a suitable geography for their dance explorations. Here, it’s everything and the kitchen sink, as Wild Space founding member and chef extraordinaire Jennifer Goetzinger braises, chops and caramelizes onstage. And dancers move through various vignettes about appetite, desire, satiation, and the joy of a perfect layer cake. Come early to see a cooking demonstration by chef Michelle Evans of Braise Restaurant. Remember, sometimes a strawberry is just a strawberry. 

Photo courtesy of Florentine Opera. 

 

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