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The performing arts calendar goes into overdrive this week.

I hope you’re recovered from the holidays and the dawn of the new year, because the performing arts schedule in town is about to get serious. Some of the year’s most eagerly awaited performances hit the stages in the coming week. Here’s a look ahead.

Milwaukee Opera Theatre teams up with Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre and Cadance Collective in a production of Mozart’s opera, Zie Magic Flute. True to the Masonic spirit of the story, it will be performed at the Tripoli Shrine Center, headquarters of Milwaukee’s own Freemason group.

Ayad Akhtar
Photo by Nina Subin

The Milwaukee Rep continues its collaboration with playwright Ayad Akhtar by presenting his Pulitzer Prize winning drama, Disgraced, an explosive drama about religious identity in the 21st century. Akhtar will be in town for several events associated with the production, including a Newsmaker Luncheon at the Milwaukee Press Club, during which he’ll answer questions from arts journalists Jim Higgins (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), Bonnie North (WUWM-FM), and yours truly.

Tami Workentin

Renaissance Theatreworks also opens a contemporary play about challenging issues this weekend. Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale explores the challenges faced by a social worker assigned to finding a home for a infant born to a troubled family. Mary MacDonald-Kerr directs and Tami Workentin heads the cast.

Elina Vähälä

Concert stages are busy as well. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra features two 20th century masterpieces, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony and Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto, featuring soloist Elina Vähälä. Carlos Kalmar conducts.

The Alash Ensemble

Woodland Pattern Book Center hosts the Alash Ensemble, a trio of Tuvan musicians who play traditional instruments and special in throat singing, in which a vocalist can create multiple pitches simultaneously.

And Frankly Music returns to the Schwan Concert Hall for a stellar program of woodwind and string music, featuring a dozen top-notch musicians from the MSO and elsewhere. A little Mozart, a little Haydn. And some less-familiar works, as well. Musicians include Frank Almond, Sonora Slocum, Todd Levy and Katherine Young Steele.