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T+L's Guide to Culture 2005


EUROPE London Richard II Old Vic Theatre (Sept. 14–Nov. 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.15–Nov. 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. 20–Feb. 19). Los Angeles The Drowsy Chaperone Ahmanson Theatre (Nov. 8–Dec. 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. 24–Oct. 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. 8–Dec. 6). Valery Gergiev conducts. Dresden Berceuse for Dresden (Nov. 17–19; 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. 23–Nov. 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. 2–28; 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. 1–22; 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

French Connection

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. 19–30; 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. 14–Dec. 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. 21–25; 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. 20–29; www.theatredelaville-paris.com) . —KRISTEN HOHENADEL


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