T+L's Guide to Culture 2005
Published: May 2009
T+L's guide to culture: Renaissance paintings and French Surrealists; Tristan und Isolde and The Odd Couple; architecture in the Berkshires; and more.
EUROPE London Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris Tate Modern (Nov. 3Feb. 5). The exotic dreams of a retired customs official who never left France, Rousseau's jungle paintings rank among the best-loved Modernist works. This exhibition gathers an unprecedented collection of his large-scale canvases, in which tigers romp beneath hibiscus flowers. Paris Klimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka. Vienna 1900 Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Oct. 5Jan. 23). This show of four fin-de-siècle Viennese artists and designers, whose work is known for its frank eroticism, exemplifies the intertwining of art and life in the fertile cultural metropolis. Dada Centre Pompidou (Oct. 5Jan. 9). Born from the ashes of the First World War, Dadaism pronounced an end to all established hierarchies and accepted ideas. The interdisciplinary exhibition brings together more than 1,000 works, from paintings to photomontages, sound poems, and ﬁlms. Berlin BrückeThe Birth of German Expressionism Berlinische Galerie (Oct. 1Jan. 15). This show is the highlight in a series of exhibitions marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Brücke, the artists' collective whose oeuvre, from dreamy rural idylls to vibrant Berlin streetscapes, made German painting new again. UNITED STATES New York Fra Angelico Metropolitan Museum of Art (Oct. 26Jan. 29). The Dominican friar's musical cherubim, and Madonnas in celestial blues and golds, earned him the sobriquet the Angelic Painter shortly after his death in 1455. The first major show devoted to his art in half a century includes paintings, drawings, and manuscripts. Also at the Metropolitan, Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings (Oct. 18Dec. 31) brings together more than 100 works that provide a rare view into the draftsmanship developed by the brilliant artist during his brief career. Russia! Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Sept. 16Jan. 12). The exclamation point is justified: this spectacular survey comprising nine centuries of Russian art—along with Western masterworks in Russian collections—is jammed with seldom-seen treasures, from 15th-century icons by Andrey Rublyov to Kazimir Malevich's Black Square (circa 1930). Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama Jewish Museum (Dec. 2April 2). One of the first truly modern celebrities, the Divine Sarah is the focus of a retrospective that showcases her extraordinary talents as a tragedienne and muse, in addition to her role as the first major actress to appear on film (in 1900). The Imagery of Chess Revisited Noguchi Museum (Oct. 21March 5). Marcel Duchamp famously gave up art to play chess; the game also exerted its allure on a generation of Surrealists and fellow travelers, as this re-creation of a legendary 194445 exhibition from Julian Levy's New York gallery makes clear. Chess sets and chess-inspired works by luminaries including Noguchi, Duchamp, Calder, and Giacometti are the focus. Chicago Tropicália Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Oct. 22Jan. 8). The hybrid 1960's brand of Brazilian Modernism known as tropicalismo—which takes its name from an interactive installation by artist Hélio Oiticica—is explored in a show that traces the revolutionary movement's impact on the visual arts, music, theater, and film and its continuing legacy for today's artists and designers. Houston Andrea Zittel: Critical Space Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (Oct. 1Jan. 1). This is a comprehensive survey of work by an influential young artist whose psychologically suggestive and quirkily minimalist designs for "living units" and personal uniforms are a response to both Western life and the constraints of urban living. Los Angeles Masters of American Comics Hammer Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (Nov. 20March 12). Krazy Kat meets Maus in an exhibition showcasing 15 cartoonists from the past century—Lyonel Feininger to Charles Schulz to R. Crumb—whose comic strips and books helped shape a major American art form. CANADA Montreal Right Under the Sun: Landscape in Provence, from Classicism to Modernism Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Sept. 22Jan. 8). Provence was a cradle of modern art, inspiring Cézanne, van Gogh, and a horde of Post-Impressionists, but this show reaches back further, to find the roots of the region's aesthetic allure in 18th-century Arcadian and Italianate landscapes and the 19th-century fascination with Marseilles, gateway to "the Orient."
UNITED STATES Fall marks the opening of a number of new institutions—some off the beaten path—designed by leading architects. Williamstown, Mass. The '62 Center for Theatre & Dance at Williams College (www.williams.edu/go/62center), named for the graduating class that initiated fund-raising for the $50 million building, will provide state-of-the-art facilities and, in summer, will be home to the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The center, designed by William Rawn, architect of Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in nearby Lenox, includes three theaters, a dance rehearsal studio, and a striking glass lobby with a Douglas firclad canopy that peeks above its limestone exterior. A performance of Tall Horse by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company launches the festivities on September 30, to be followed by Songs of Innocence and Experience by Broadway composer and lyricist (and Williams alum) William Finn (Oct. 78); and the New York City Ballet (Oct. 9). Durham, N.C. Raymond D. Nasher, the Texas philanthropist who previously commissioned Italian architect Renzo Piano to create the restrained and refined building that now houses his sculpture collection in Dallas, has lent his name to an art museum at his alma mater, Duke University. Rafael Viñoly designed the Nasher Museum of Art (www.nasheratduke.org) with five concrete pavilions that fan out around a glassed-in central courtyard. Adjacent are the popular Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The museum opens October 2 with the exhibition "The Forest: Politics, Poetics, and Practice," which explores the worlds of forests in contemporary art through the work of Petah Coyne, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and others—a fitting focus, given the Nasher's wooded setting. Minneapolis Michael Graves's renovation and expansion of the Children's Theatre Company (www.childrenstheatre.org), North America's biggest theatrical venue for youngsters, is the first of an unprecedented number of projects being inaugurated in 200506 by the city's cultural institutions: others include the expansion of the Guthrie Theater by Jean Nouvel and a new central library by Cesar Pelli. The revamped children's theater complex includes the new Cargill Stage, which will open with the American premiere of The Cat's Journey, a puppet play adapted from the popular Swedish story Kattresan. Performances begin October 4. EUROPE Bern, Switzerland The Paul Klee Zentrum (www.paulkleezentrum.ch), an $87 million complex devoted to the Swiss artist, opened its doors on June 20. Renzo Piano wanted to celebrate Klee as "a poet of stillness," so he designed a serene but striking building with three towering steel arches and glass façades that create an undulating wave above the A6 motorway east of Bern. At the heart of the center are 4,000 paintings, watercolors, and drawings—an estimated 40 percent of Klee's work—as well as his archives. There are also a state-of-the-art concert hall and a children's mini-museum.
EUROPE London Richard II Old Vic Theatre (Sept. 14Nov. 26; 44-8700/606-628; www.oldvictheatre.com). Kevin Spacey begins his second year as the artistic director of the Old Vic by taking the title role in Shakespeare's portrait of a king destroyed by the complexities of divine right and wrong. UNITED STATES New York The Odd Couple Brooks Atkinson Theatre (opens Oct. 4; 212/719-4099). Joe Mantello directs the hottest ticket on Broadway this fall: a revival of Neil Simon's classic comedy that reunites Matthew Broderick (Felix Unger) and Nathan Lane (Oscar Madison). A Touch of the Poet Studio 54 (opens Dec. 8; 212/719-1300; www.roundabouttheatre.org). The Roundabout Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary with a lineup that includes Gabriel Byrne, last seen on Broadway in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten. Here, he returns in another O'Neill classic, in the role of the gentleman tavern keeper Con Melody. Chicago Steppenwolf Theatre is 30 this year, and marks the occasion with five premieres. First up: Last of the Boys by Steven Dietz, featuring company members Tracy Letts, Mariann Mayberry, and Amy Morton (Sept.15Nov. 13; 312/335-1650; www.steppenwolf.org); next, director Frank Galati's adaptation of Haruki Murakami's After the Quake, stories of the 1995 disaster in Kobe, Japan (Oct. 20Feb. 19). Los Angeles The Drowsy Chaperone Ahmanson Theatre (Nov. 8Dec. 24; 213/628-2772; www.taperahmanson.com). The favorite entry from last year's New York New Musicals Festival is a send-up of shows of the twenties and thirties; this pre-Broadway run is staged by Spamalot choreographer Casey Nicholaw. —BILL ROSENFIELD
EUROPE Paris Cardillac (Sept. 24Oct. 20; 33-1/43-43-96-96; www.opera-de-paris.fr).The Opéra National de Paris offers a new production of Hindemith's seldom produced but powerful 1926 opera about the artist's relationship to his work and society. Not be missed: the revival of the acclaimed Peter Sellars staging of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, with scenic design by Bill Viola (Nov. 8Dec. 6). Valery Gergiev conducts. Dresden Berceuse for Dresden (Nov. 1719; www.frauenkirche-dresden.org).The New York Philharmonic premieres this orchestral work by Colin Matthews, commissioned to mark the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche, Dresden's venerable cathedral. UNITED STATES New York The Mines of Sulphur (Oct. 23Nov. 5; 212/721-6500; www.nycopera.com). Mystery, madness, and murder are the elements in this 20th-century work, a major rediscovery. Composer Richard Rodney Bennett's Gothic thriller, put on by the Glimmerglass Opera in 2004—its ﬁrst production in almost 40 years—arrives at the New York City Opera in time for Halloween. With An American Tragedy (Dec. 228; 212/362-6000; www.metopera.org), the Metropolitan Opera produces its first commission since John Harbison's 1999 The Great Gatsby. Composer Tobias Picker and librettist Gene Scheer's adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's pivotal novel, which also inspired the film A Place in the Sun, centers around the story of impassioned crime and willful punishment. Conductor James Conlon leads a cast that includes Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, and Susan Graham. Francesca Zambello directs. San Francisco Doctor Atomic (Oct. 122; 415/ 864-3330; www.sfopera.com). The San Francisco Opera produces the world premiere of John Adams's work about J. Robert Oppenheimer at the time of the first atom-bomb test, in New Mexico, in July 1945. Peter Sellars, who stages the drama, also worked with Adams in compiling the libretto from letters, documents, and reminiscences. Nationwide The Library of Congress (202/707-2905; www.loc.gov/creativity/hampson) initiates Creativity Across America, a celebration of several artistic disciplines that includes a national tour of American song recitals by baritone Thomas Hampson. A dozen venues are slated from coast to coast, among them Yardley Hall in Overland Park, Kansas (Nov. 12), and Bass Hall, Fort Worth, Texas (Nov. 15). —LEIGHTON KERNER
Those looking for a bit of Gallic culture in New York will find it at the festival Act French: A Season of New Theater from France (until Dec. 15; www.actfrench.org), which offers a rare chance to see some 30 productions from luminaries of contemporary French theater. Highlights include the U.S. stage debut of renowned actress Isabelle Huppert, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Oct. 1930; 718/636-4100; www.bam.org), performing in 4.48 Psychose, the French-language production (with subtitles) of late British playwright Sarah Kane's searing portrait of mental collapse. It's the Year of Brazil in France, and Paris's 34th annual Festival d'Automne (Sept. 14Dec. 25; www.festival-automne.com) celebrates with dance, theater, and music from Brazil's top artists, plus Argentine director Claudio Segovia's homage to samba (Dec. 2125; www.chatelet-theatre.com). Also on the program: performances of Just for Show, by the blatantly physical British dance company DV8, at Théâtre de la Ville (Oct. 2029; www.theatredelaville-paris.com) . —KRISTEN HOHENADEL
UNITED STATES Buffalo The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese
Art Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the University of Buffalo Art Galleries (Oct.21–Jan.
29). An ambitious survey focusing on emerging artists in China who use the Great Wall—and
lesser walls—as metaphors for cultural and social boundaries and for the challenges
wrought by modernization. Expect a host of fascinating unknowns. Fort Worth
Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Sept. 25–Jan.
8). At once monumental and elusive, this contemporary German painter’s investigations
of the sublime have drawn upon sources as diverse as Egyptian mythology, Jewish mysticism,
and alchemy, elucidating recent German history as well as the eternal cosmos. His first American
retrospective in two decades embodies that, and more. —LESLIE CAMHI
EUROPE Copenhagen Since the Ordrupgaard Museum opened,
in 1953, the manor of the late collector Wilhelm Hansen, just outside town, was the sole home
of the museum’s holdings of French Impressionists (Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir) and
19th- and early-20th-century Danish paintings, drawings, and sculptures. But on August 30
of this year, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik christened a startling
addition to Ordrupgaard’s stately grounds: a sweeping new structure designed by Zaha
Hadid that doubles the museum’s size. Emerging from a grassy hillside, the concrete-and-glass
wing houses a new lobby, café, and galleries for temporary exhibitions, including its
inaugural show—70 works by Paul Gauguin. —RAUL BARRENECHE
EUROPE London Romance Almeida Theatre (Sept.
6–Oct. 22; 44-207/359-4404; www.almeida.co.uk).
John Mahoney (well-known for the role of Marty Crane on Frasier) stars in the European
premiere of David Mamet’s exuberant, politically incorrect comedy about the American
judicial system. Lindsay Posner directs. Hair Gate Theatre (Sept. 12–Oct.
8; tel 44-207/229-5387; www.gatetheatre.co.uk).
Iconoclastic young director Daniel Kramer is sure to have a bold new take on the quintessential
sixties musical, which was in its time bold and iconoclastic. My Name is Rachel Corrie
Royal Court Theatre (October 11-29; tel. 44-207/565-5000; www.royalcourttheatre.co.uk).
Alan Rickman stages a return engagement of this critically-acclaimed drama based on the diaries
of a young American woman who traveled to the Middle East to work for the Palestinian cause.
UNITED STATES New York Sweeney Todd Eugene O’Neill
Theatre (opens Nov. 3; 212/239-6200). Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris star in an
unusual revival of Stephen Sondheim’s classic about the demon barber of Fleet Street
and his meat pie–baking accomplice, Mrs. Lovett. The cast, reduced to nine actors, also
doubles as the orchestra. Question: Do you bake meat pies or play a tuba?Los
Angeles Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates Mark Taper Forum (Nov. 30–Jan.
22; 213/628-2772; www.taperahmanson.com).
Robert Schenkkan won a Pulitzer Prize for The Kentucky Cycle; his new play, a comedy-fantasy,
takes the eponymous explorers through a bend in time and space along a range of American crusades.
EUROPE London Maskerade (Sept. 19-Oct. 13; 44-207/304-4000;
www.roh.org.uk). Highlights of the fall
season at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House include new productions of Carl Nielsen’s
lively (and all too seldom seen) comic opera about the tricks and surprises of young love,
staged by David Pountney, and Wagner’s Siegfried, the latest installment
in the company’s compelling new Ring cycle, led by conductor Antonio Pappano and staged
by Keith Warner (Oct. 2–22). UNITED STATES New York
Throughout the season, Carnegie Hall (212/247-7800; www.carnegie-hall.org)
presents a wide range of solo artists and orchestras from cities throughout the United
States and Europe. Notable this fall: a concert version of Richard Strauss’s rarely
performed opera Daphne, based on the myth of a chaste mountain nymph who escapes the
love of Apollo by becoming a tree, with -soprano Renée Fleming in the title role, tenor
Johan Botha as the sun god, and Semyon Bychkov conducting the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Cologne (Oct. 15); mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli singing arias of Handel, Alessandro
Scarlatti, and Antonio Caldara, accompanied by the Orchestra La Scintilla of Zurich Opera
(Oct. 19); the remarkable pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in a solo recital of the music
of Ravel, Boulez, Debussy, and Schumann (Oct. 20); James Levine leading the Metropolitan
Opera Chamber Ensemble in works by Wuorinen, Carter, and Milhaud, in Carnegie’s sleek
cellar, Zankel Hall (Oct. 30); and a four-hour marathon devoted to Meredith Monk’s
minimalist music, performed by the composer and several of her famous allies (Nov. 6).
Uptown, on the Columbia University campus, the Miller Theatre (212/854-7799; www.millertheatre.com)
continues to present some of the most innovative programming while successfully de-graying
New York’s classical audience with low prices and high-quality new and old music. Typical
highlights: As part of a salute to American composer Frederic Rzewski (Oct. 20), Rzewski
and fellow pianist Ursula Oppens will perform his large-scale suite of variations on the Chilean
song “The People United Will Never Be Defeated.” The brilliant pianist Christopher
Taylor audaciously undertakes the complete (and fiendishly difficult) études of Hungarian
composer Gyorgy Ligeti (Oct. 29). The 500th birthday of Renaissance composer Thomas
Tallis (Dec. 10) is celebrated in a concert of his vocal music by—who else?—the
eminent chamber ensemble The Tallis Scholars. Boston James Levine’s
second season as chief conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Hall; 617/266-1492;
www.bso.org) is marked by distinguished
programs throughout the fall. On October 6, 7, and 8, Levine leads the first complete performance
of Elliott Carter’s Three Illusions for Orchestra, a trilogy whose first “illusion,”
the Don Quixote–inspired Micomicon, was premiered last season. On the same program:
revivals of Lukas Foss’s wondrous Time Cycle (with soprano Dawn Upshaw), Charles Ives’s
Three Places in New England, and George Gershwin’s Concerto in F (with pianist
Jean-Yves Thibaudet). Levine also conducts concerts in honor of Gunther Schuller’s 80th
birthday and George Perle’s 90th (Nov. 17, 19, 22), and collaborates with mezzo-soprano
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs and with soprano Dorothea
Roschmann in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (Nov. 25 and 26). Finally, the maestro
leads performances of four works commissioned by BSO over several decades: Elliott Carter’s
recent Boston Concerto, Henri Dutilleux’s colorful Symphony no. 2, and those two historic
staples, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, and Bartók’s Concerto
for Orchestra (Dec. 1–3). Chicago Daniel Barenboim’s
final season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (312/294-3000 or 800/223-7114;
www.cso.org) honors his championing
of masterpieces of the repertoire and of contemporary music. Listeners should take special
notice of the first performances of Elliott Carter’s Soundings (Oct. 6–8).
The last of these concerts will form part of the orchestra’s ninth annual eight-hour
marathon of symphonic, jazz, pop, folk, and world music, known as the Marshall Field’s
Day of Music. Admission is free.