Best Bets: January

Our staff picks for the best November in Milwaukee has to offer in art, theater, and more.

Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights.

History of the Remaking

Is Milwaukee becoming a recording hub for contemporary American opera? In 2012, the Florentine’s recording of Elmer Gantry earned two Grammys. And in 2013, the Florentine’s recording of Rio De Sangre helped Blanton Alspaugh win a Grammy for classical producer of the year. Building on that success, William Florescu and his company have started a special project to record the work of American composer Carlisle Floyd, whose Susannah was a highlight of the Florentine’s 2011-12 season. It begins this month with Floyd’s 1958 opera Wuthering Heights. And you should be there. (Paul Kosidowski)
Wuthering Heights (Jan. 9, 11). Harris Theater. Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. 19805 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield, 414-291-5700,

Richard Goode by Sasha Gusov
Richard Goode by Sasha Gusov.

King of Keys

Pianist Richard Goode never was – and never will be – a star. He’s neither splashy like Lang Lang, nor as quirky as Glenn Gould, nor as camera-friendly as Ingrid Fliter. But you will never hear anyone play with more insight and balance. In other words, he’s a perfect match for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Edo de Waart, who will conduct the MSO to accompany Goode playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18. Against the elegant ease of Mozart, the MSO has paired Dmitri Shostakovich’s passion-filled 10th Symphony, which was written right after the death of Joseph Stalin and ponders his reign. (Paul Kosidowski)
Goode Plays Mozart (Jan. 24-25). Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. 929 N. Water St., 414-291-7605,

Untitled (Marina Lucica) Courtesy of Aleksandra Domanović and Tanya Leighton
Untitled (Marina Lucica), Courtesy of Aleksandra Domanović and Tanya Leighton.

National Characters

What is our identity as Americans? We like to think of ourselves as courageous, self-reliant and innovative, but how would that change if our borders were to shift? This month, Israel-born Yael Bartana, Yugoslavia-born Aleksandra Domanović and Mumbai-born Shilpa Gupta reflect on exactly that. With thought-provoking multi-media installations, these artists explore how our individual identities are shaped by ever-mutating national borders. Turn on any national television broadcast, and you’ll see it’s a timely and necessary meditation for us all. (Claire Hanan)
States of Uncertainty (Jan. 22-May 31). Haggerty Museum of Art. 530 N. 13th St., 414-288-1669,

Winter’s Thaw by Tom Berenz, Courtesy of Tory Folliard Gallery
Winter’s Thaw by Tom Berenz, Courtesy of Tory Folliard Gallery.

Color Rush

Bright, permeating and myriad colors can often be curative in an oppressively cold environment. This month, works of all shades fill Tory Folliard Gallery, including those of metal sculptor Richard Taylor, along with Jason Rohlf’s geometric, dizzying acrylic paintings and Derrick Buisch’s oil abstractions. Jeremy Popelka’s amoeba-like glass sculptures will provoke and perplex. And Mark Ottens’ multilayered, psychedelic paintings will offer a study in painstaking self-discipline. Collectively, it’s a remedy with just enough burn to get those neurons firing again. (Claire Hanan)
Chroma (Jan. 9-Feb. 28). Tory Folliard Gallery. 233 N. Milwaukee St., 414-273-7311,

The Beautiful Music All Around Us
The Beautiful Music All Around Us.


Let’s face it, Stephen Wade is a national treasure. Steeped in his native Chicago’s music scene in the 1950s and ’60s, he became a national authority on folk and blues traditions. But instead of writing a dissertation about it, he crafted a one-man show, Banjo Dancing, that became one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows in history. His latest show, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, is drawn from two decades of field research, recording and documenting folk music in the American South. He brings it to life onstage with deep respect and ingratiating charm. (Paul Kosidowski)
The Beautiful Music All Around Us (Jan. 16-March 15). Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Stackner Cabaret. 108 E. Wells St., 414-224-9490,

‘Events Best Bets: January’ appears in the January, 2015, issue of Milwaukee Magazine. Click here to subscribe.