London Jewels Royal Opera House (Nov. 23–Dec. 7; 44-20/ 7304-4000; roh.org.uk). In 1967, George Balanchine created the first multi-act "abstract" ballet, a three-part showcase of classical dance inspired by specially selected com-posers and precious stones: "Emeralds" (set to music by Fauré), "Rubies" (Stravinsky), and "Diamonds" (Tchaikovsky). This fall, the Royal Ballet mounts all three gems for the first time.
New York Morphoses New York City Center (Oct. 17–21; 212/581-1212; nycitycenter.org). English choreo-grapher Christopher Wheeldon debuts his company in two programs that feature four of his new ballets, two of which have costumes by Narciso Rodriguez. The program also includes Wheeldon's acclaimed Morphoses, set to the music of Györgi Ligeti. American Ballet Theatre New York City Center (Oct. 23–Nov. 4; 212/581-1212; abt.org). The troupe's fall season will feature the premiere of A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close, by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo, to music of Philip Glass, with sets by Close and costumes by Ralph Rucci; the revival of Baker's Dozen, Twyla Tharp's jazz-tinged showcase; and Antony Tudor's wistful The Leaves are Fading.—R.G.
Milan Tristan und Isolde Teatro alla Scala (Dec. 7–Jan. 2, 39-02/7200-3383; teatroallascala.org).
Daniel Barenboim makes his long-awaited first move as La Scala's new principal guest conductor, and Patrice Chéreau, whose revolutionary Bayreuth Ring may be the sine qua non of Wagnerian opera production, returns to Wagner with a staging that features soprano Waltraud Meier in the role of Isolde.
Vienna Die Walküre Staatsoper (Dec. 2–20; 43-1/513-1513; staats oper.at). Having tapped Franz Welser-Möst to be its next music director as of 2010, the Vienna State Opera is bringing him in to conduct all four operas—two per season—of its new Ring, staged by Sven-Eric Bechtholf.
New York "Berlin in Lights" Carnegie Hall (Nov. 2–18; 212/ 247-7800; carnegiehall.org). The Berlin Philharmonic comes to the States, shining with even more luster than usual. The concerts at Carnegie, under music director Simon Rattle, are the centerpiece of a citywide festival that ranges from not-to-be-missed cabaret at Café Sabarsky to the hot-ticket Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under the brilliant young conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Metropolitan Opera (212/362-6000; met opera.org). With live simulcasts, bigger crowds, and better conductors, Peter Gelb's house really does feel like a "new Met." Fall highlights include Verdi's Macbeth (Oct. 22–Nov. 3), with the fiery Maria Guleghina as Lady Macbeth; Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride (Nov. 27–Dec. 22), here for the first time in 90 years, with Susan Graham in the title role and Plácido Domingo as Oreste; and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel (Dec. 24–Jan. 31), sung in English for the kids. Delusion of the Fury Japan Society (Dec. 4–8; 212/715-1258; japansociety.org). The Japan Society, which has inspired cutting-edge cross-cultural dialogue for 100 years, caps its centennial celebrations with a piece it commissioned from maverick composer Harry Partch in 1969, performed on instruments Partch invented, and directed by performance artist John Jesurun.
Baltimore Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (410/783-8000; baltimoresymphony.org). Feting Marin Alsop, the first woman to lead a major American orchestra, the BSO delivers a season (with tickets starting at $15) that continues Baltimore's tradition of showcasing recent American works—for example, Barber's piano concerto, played by Garrick Ohlsson (Oct. 25–28, with Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony), and works by 47-year-old Aaron Jay Kernis (Nov. 29–Nov. 30, with Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony).—A.M.
London "The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London, 1947–1957," at the Victoria & Albert Museum (Sept. 22–Jan. 6; vam.ac.uk). This show highlights the creations of Parisian houses like Dior (promulgator of the New Look in the 40's), Givenchy, and Balenciaga, alongside their London counterparts.
Rome "Valentino a Roma: 45 Years of Style," at the Ara Pacis Museum (through Oct. 28; ara pacis.it). Valentino, Rome's last great couturier, gets imperial treatment with a retrospective in this Richard Meier–designed museum, where throngs of scarlet-clad vestals surround an ancient altar formerly used for sacrifices.
Boston "Walk This Way," at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (through Mar. 23; mfa.org). Shoes are art: that's the thesis behind this exhibition, which pairs Venetian chopines with paintings of the Grand Canal by Canaletto, for example, or displays Vivienne Westwood pumps beside the 18th-century damask that may have inspired them.
San Francisco "Stylized Sculpture: Contemporary Japanese Fashion from the Kyoto Costume Institute," at the Asian Art Museum (Oct. 12–Jan. 6; asian art.org). Art photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto turns his camera on contemporary Japanese style with this show, which presents never-before-seen designs alongside innovative styles by Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, and Rei Kawabuko. —L.C.
More Art Trips
Lisbon With their trams, mosaic sidewalks, and tiled houses, the Portuguese capital's streets have long been considered its foremost attraction. But a new world-class museum is changing the city's image. Latest on the scene is the Museu Colecção Berardo (Praça do Império; 351-21/361-2913; museuberardo.com) at the Centro Cultural de Belém, just opposite the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Entrepreneur Joe Berardo has amassed a superlative collection of nearly 900 works, including masterpieces by Picasso, Dalí, Mondrian, Bacon, and Gursky. Looking ahead, St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum will open its third European satellite, the Hermitage-Lisboa, here in 2010. But there's no need to wait until then, since Russian president Vladimir Putin will be in Lisbon on October 25 to help president Anibal Cavaco Silva inaugurate "Imperial Russia: From Peter I to Nicolas II," at the D. Luis Gallery in the stunning 18th-century Ajuda Palace (Largo da Ajuda; 351-21/361-4200), north of the Belém district. The survey of 650 works is among the largest ever to leave Russia. —A.F.
Seattle Long home to tech giants, the Emerald City has also emerged as a top cultural destination, thanks to the largesse of its citizens and foundations. To celebrate the 75th anniversary, in 2008, of the Seattle Art Museum (1300 Union St.; 206/344-5275; seattleartmuseum.org), 53 private collectors have given the museum 1,000 works—valued at more than $1 billion—including paintings ranging from Murillos to Richters; contemporary Chinese art; and Native American and African pieces. To house them, SAM has built a 300,000-square-foot expansion, designed by Brad Cloepfil, with room to grow. Earlier this year, SAM transformed nine acres along the waterfront into the Olympic Sculpture Park (2901 Western Ave.; 206/654-3123; seattleartmuseum.org), where visitors can see works by Louise Nevelson, Tony Smith, and Richard Serra, along with the view of the Olympic Mountains. —M.R.M.