The best of Spring’s openings—Art and Architecture, Theater, Music, and Film.
"Hogarth" at Tate Britain (through Apr. 29). This wide-ranging retrospective, the most comprehensive devoted to the 18th-century British satirist and moralist William Hogarth in 30 years, includes portraits, conversation pieces, and proto-cinematic suites of paintings like The Rake’s Progress, and reveals an artist whose preoccupation with the city, sexuality, and corruption seems entirely contemporary.
"Sargent’s Venice" at Museo Correr (Mar. 23-July 22). Crumbling, licentious, and gloriously Byzantine, Venice cast an enchanted spell over 19th-century artists and literati. The first-ever solo exhibition of the expatriate American painter John Singer Sargent in the city he prized features watercolors and oils of Venetian churches, piazzas, palazzi, and waterways, many presented as he saw them from a gondola.
"The Gupta Empire, The Golden Age of Indian Civilization" at Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Apr. 4-June 25). India’s Gupta dynasty (from around A.D. 320 to 500) witnessed a flowering of developments in science, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, religion, and the arts. More than 100 sculptures, all of them on loan from major Indian collections, form the heart of this exhibition, which explores a period of vast influence and extreme aesthetic refinement, still little known in the West.
"Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Mar. 27-July 8). A point of departure for pilgrims to the Holy Land, and a "hinge" between Europe and the Middle East, Venice maintained robust trade and unbroken diplomatic relations with the Islamic world even in wartime. This unprecedented exhibition of glass, textiles, furniture, armor, manuscripts, and paintings explores centuries of artistic exchange between La Serenissima and Damascus, Alexandria, and Istanbul. "Global Feminisms" at the Brooklyn Museum (Mar. 23-July 1). This hotly anticipated show presents broadly political works, in an array of media, by more than 100 women artists from some 50 countries, including Sierra Leone and Indonesia.
"Edward Hopper" at the Museum of Fine Arts (May 6-Aug. 19). A retrospective devoted to America’s luminous premier painter of urban anomie includes nude studies and self-portraits as well as his more familiar restaurants, apartment interiors, lighthouses, and hotel rooms.
West Palm Beach
"Georgia O’Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction" at the Norton Museum of Art (Feb. 10-May 6). This show highlights O’Keeffe’s pioneering contribution to American abstract art, from the hypnotic swirl of petals in her painting of a white rose to the austere curves of pelvic bones in her later canvases.
"The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Mar. 4-June 3). From Edward Weston’s photographs of the Western desert to Jackson Pollock’s appropriation of Native American symbols in his early paintings, this exhibition makes a compelling case for the central role of the frontier in shaping 20th-century American art.
The fabled Mariinsky Theatre (www.mariinsky.ru) has opened a state-of-the-art concert hall in a former warehouse near its main stage on Theatre Square. When a disastrous fire nearly destroyed the building in 2003, the Mariinsky’s charismatic artistic director and conductor, Valery Gergiev, pushed to build a new permanent home for the orchestra. The warehouse was redone as a 1,100-seat hall by French architect Xavier Fabre, who designed cedar-lined walls to fit within the existing structure, which was then fine-tuned by Yasuhisa Toyota, the acoustician of Los Angeles’s acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Kansas City, Missouri
Since the 1930’s, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (www.nelson-atkins.org) has been famous for its Neoclassical building, which commands 22 acres of parkland dotted with large-scale sculptures such as Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s shuttlecocks. In June, the opening of the Bloch Building, designed by Steven Holl, will expand the museum’s size by 70 percent without intruding on the original structure or its surroundings. Holl buried part of the 840-foot-long wing in the property’s grassy hillside but allowed five glass-walled pavilions—he calls them "lenses"—to emerge from the landscape to bring daylight into the underground spaces. The largest of them flanks a reflecting pool and contains a lobby that leads to five levels of galleries.
The Seattle Art Museum (www.seattleartmuseum.org) took a more radical approach to enlarging its downtown building, a 1990’s concrete structure designed by Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Portland, Oregon-based Brad Cloepfil, of Allied Works Architecture, connected the museum’s interior to the lower floors of a new high-rise (housing Washington Mutual’s headquarters). When SAM reopens in May, 268,000 square feet of galleries will include its collections of contemporary, African, Aboriginal, and Oceanic art.
The Lady from Dubuque Theatre Royal Haymarket (opens Mar. 5; 44-870/400-0626; www.trh.co.uk). Maggie Smith plays the lady, an unexpected guest at a dinner party where a dark undercurrent suggests an ominous truth. Anthony Page directs Edward Albee’s rarely produced play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream Roundhouse (Mar 8-Apr. 21; 44-870/389-1846; www.roundhouse.org.uk). Tim Supple’s critically acclaimed Indian-inspired spectacle of the Shakespearean comedy arrives in London with a cast of actors, musicians, dancers, and street acrobats from India and Sri Lanka.
Curtains Al Hirschfeld Theatre (opens Mar. 22; 800/432-7780; www.telecharge.com). One of the last scores by the team of Kander and Ebb, with a book and additional lyrics by Rupert Holmes, this homage to 1950’s musical comedy stars David Hyde Pierce as a stagestruck detective who arrives on the scene to solve a playhouse murder—and save a weak second act. The Year of Magical Thinking Booth Theatre (opens Mar. 29; 800/432-7780; www.telecharge.com). David Hare stages Joan Didion’s dramatic adaptation of her memoir about the sudden death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and the illness of her only daughter. Vanessa Redgrave appears in the limited 24-week run of this tribute to marriage and family. LoveMusik Biltmore Theatre (opens May 3; 212/239-6200; www.mtc-nyc.org). The legendary Harold Prince mounts a new musical work based on the letters of two theater icons: composer Kurt Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya, portrayed by Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy. Deuce Music Box Theatre (opens May 6; 800/432-7780; www.telecharge.com). Tennis anyone?Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes star in the latest drama by Terrence McNally, about two retired tennis players who once made up a championship doubles team and are reunited for a match.
Traced Overhead: The Musical World of Thomas Adès The Barbican (Mar. 7-Apr. 22; 44-20/7638-8891; www.barbican.org.uk). The young British composer has almost too many musical ideas for his own good. At this in-depth festival, some of Adès’s most talented compatriots—conductor Simon Rattle, tenor Ian Bostridge, the BBC Symphony Orchestra—explore his mercurial, expressionistic, and very hip works.
Manon Vienna State Opera (Mar. 3-19; 43-1/513-1513; www.staatsoper.at). Anna Netrebko is the darling of the international scene: her Russian Album debuted last fall at number eight on the German pop charts. Now, the soprano brings Massenet’s heroine to life in a new production by Andre Serban.
El Viaje a Simorgh Teatro Real (May 4-17; 34/902-244-848; www.teatro-real.com). Opera in Spain is flourishing these days, and Madrid’s principal opera house is committed to works by Spanish-born composers. José María Sánchez-Verdú’s latest mingles 16th-century Spanish traditions with Muslim influences. Jesús López-Cobos conducts.
Orfeo ed Euridice Metropolitan Opera (May 2-12; 212/362-6000; www.metopera.org). The choreographer Mark Morris makes his Met debut, directing Gluck’s opera, with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi and a cast led by stellar countertenor David Daniels.
A Flowering Tree San Francisco Symphony (Mar. 1-3; 415/864-6000; www.sfsymphony.org). For Mozart’s 250th birthday, John Adams, one of America’s most celebrated composers, turned from political subjects (Nixon in China) to this unabashedly lyric tribute to The Magic Flute; his lush opera-oratorio draws on all the resources of a large orchestra.
The Tristan Project Los Angeles Philharmonic (Apr.12-24; 323/850-2000; www.laphil.org). Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde led by conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and staged by Peter Sellars, with video design by Bill Viola—part multimedia installation, all opera—returns to Los Angeles this spring, then travels to Lincoln Center in New York for performances on May 2 and May 5 (212/721-6500; www.lincolncenter.org); it should be the ticket of the season.
"Paris, Je T’aime" offers a generous taste of the French capital in 18 bite-size films. Composed of short takes (about five minutes each) written and directed by an all-star roster of international filmmakers, this cinematic dedication to the city adopts romance as a central theme but steers clear of Paris’s clichés. Each episode unfolds in a different arrondissement: Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón stages his near the Parc Monceau; a flirtatious encounter as imagined by Gus Van Sant takes place in a Marais studio. Hollywood actors, including Natalie Portman and Steve Buscemi (who plays a hapless tourist in a scenario concocted by Ethan and Joel Coen), share the screen with French icons Juliette Binoche and Gérard Depardieu. The most brilliant and versatile star of all, however, is the City of Light itself (opens [in U.S.] in May).
Montpellier "Color Again: Homage to Jean Fournier, Art Dealer in Paris" at the Fabre Museum (through May 6). The jewel of provincial French museums, with particular strengths in 19th- and 20th-century art (Courbet, Bazille), has reopened after a four-year renovation with an homage to art dealer Jean Fournier, who championed the advance of postwar abstraction (Joan Mitchell, Simon Hantaï, Daniel Buren) in France.
Madrid "Tintoretto" at the Prado Museum (through May 13). Paintings, drawing, and sculpture by the Venetian artist have been brought together for the first major retrospective devoted to the Renaissance master in 70 years. Elsewhere in Madrid, "The Mirror and the Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso," an exhibition presented jointly at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Caja Madrid Foundation (through May 20) assembles more than 150 portraits and sculptures from 60 artists, including Van Gogh, Munch, Kokoschka, Warhol, and Hockney and considers the striking evolution of the portrait genre in the 20th century against the marked effects of the advances and cataclysms of the age.
Moscow The new "Galleries of European and American Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries" at the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (ongoing). These greatly enlarged galleries pay tribute to Russian private collectors like Sergei Shchukin and their brilliant patronage of the European avant-garde, including Monet to Matisse, Chagall, and Kandinsky. Also, "Modigliani" (Mar. 20May 20) assembles 20 paintings, alongside drawings, photographs, and written materials, documenting the life of the original peintre maudit.
Dallas "Balenciaga and His Legacy" and "Boleros y Mantillas" Meadows Museum (Feb. 4May 27). The master of Parisian haute couture returns to his Spanish roots via the adulation of three Texan women, an oil heiress, a socialite, and a buyer for Neiman Marcus, with these two related exhibitions: the first, of creations by Balenciaga and his protégées; the second, of icons of Iberian fashion in Spanish paintings drawn from the museum's extensive collection.
Santa Barbara "Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted" Santa Barbara Museum of Art (through May 27). Seven decades of work by this leading Mexican modernist, whose unique fusion of indigenous motifs, existentialist themes, and the formal preoccupations of the European avant-garde fueled controversy in his lifetime. —Leslie Camhi
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (mcasd.org) recently inaugurated a 30,000-square-foot outpost, designed by Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects, in downtown San Diego. A far cry from MCASD's original La Jolla home, a Robert Venturi renovation of a genteel Irving Gilldesigned Spanish Revival manse, the new downtown facility combines two buildings: the baggage wing of the still-functioning Santa Fe Depot rail station, an arched brick-and-stucco Mission Style 1915 landmark that has been renovated into four expansive, light-filled galleries, and a new three-story structure wrapped in corrugated metal, concrete, and translucent glass, which houses educational facilities and offers a rooftop terrace with views of San Diego Harbor. Both wings will be filled with artworks commissioned from Richard Serra, Jenny Holzer, and Brazilian sculptor Ernesto Neto, among others. The museum inaugurates its new digs with "Modern American Masters," an exhibition of canvases by Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Barnett Newman, all drawn from a local collection, and smaller exhibitions of work by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Glenn Kaino, and Amy Adler. —Raul Barreneche
London Big White Fog Almeida Theatre (May 11June 30; 44-207/359-4404; www.almeida.co.uk). Michael Attenborough stages the European premiere of the American drama by Theodore Ward, set in Depression-era Chicago, which follows the struggle of its protagonist, his allegiance to the Back to Africa separatist movement, and the resulting tension with his family's pursuit of the American dream.
New York The Pirate Queen Hilton Theatre (opens April 5; 212/307-4100; www.thepiratequeen.com). For their latest musical, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (Les Misérables and Miss Saigon) take inspiration from a 16th-century historical figure, the Irish chieftain Grace O'Malley who defends her country, at the time when England and Spain were on a collision course and Ireland was in play. Frank Galati directs and choreographer Graciela Daniele creates the musical staging. Frost/Nixon Bernard B Jacobs Theatre (opens Apr. 22; 212/239-6200; www.frostnixononbroadway.com). Actors Frank Langella and Michael Sheen re-create their roles in the smash hit of the London fall season about David Frost's celebrated interviews with Richard Nixon in the aftermath of the president's resignation. The lacerating study of 1970's American politics, media manipulation, and competing prerogatives is by Peter Morgan, author of film The Queen. Legally Blonde Palace Theatre (opens Apr. 29; www.legallyblondethemusical.com). Based on the movie of the same name, the new musical comedy is adapated by Heather Hach, Laurence O'Keefe, and Nell Benjamin, directed by Jerry Mitchell, with sets by David Rockwell.
Chicago The Oedipus Complex Goodman Theatre (Apr. 28June 3; 312/443-3800; www.goodmantheatre.org). In time for Mother's Day comes The Oedipus Complex by director and playwright Frank Galati, his adaptation of the Sophocles trilogy with interpolations from the writings of Sigmund Freud. Los Angeles Sleeping Beauty Wakes Kirk Douglas Theatre (Apr. 7May 13; 213/628-2772; www.centertheatregroup.org). A collaboration between the innovative Deaf West Theatre and the Center Theatre Group, the cast of the new musical includes deaf actors and the indie rock band GrooveLily, in a freewheeling treatment of the Grimm classic. —Bill Rosenfield
Paris St. John Passion Théâtre du Châtelet (Mar. 28Apr. 6; 33-1/40-28-28-40; www.chatelet-theatre.com). Director Robert Wilson's brand of intense and otherworldly movement, coupled with Lucinda Childs's choreography, should bring an extra dimension to Bach's great religious oratorio, and with the Baroque specialist Emmanuelle Haïm leading her own ensemble, the Concert d'Astrée, and soloists like countertenor Andreas Scholl, the musical standard is guaranteed to be high.
Berlin Festtage: Mahler Cycle Deutsche Staatsoper (Apr. 112; 49-30/2035-4555; www.staatsoper-berlin.de). Mahler's sprawling symphonies are an apogee of the symphonic tradition: romantic sensibility tumbling messily into the 20th century. Echoing the expansive scale of these works, conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra has programmed all 10 symphonies plus the song cycle Das Lied von der Erde), with help from Pierre Boulez and soloists like the expressive baritone Thomas Quasthoff.
New York La Donna del Lago New York City Opera (Mar. 22Apr. 7; 212/721-6500; www.nycopera.com). Rossini, remembered for comic opera, had ambitions for grander works, and City Opera, always ready to explore lesser-known repertory, is following its successful production of the composer's Ermione with another of his tragedies. Alexandrina Pendatchanska, a dramatically compelling soprano, and Barry Banks, one of the better Rossini tenors around, will be directed by the witty Chas Rader-Shieber.
Chicago Dialogues of the Carmelites Lyric Opera of Chicago (through Mar. 17; 312/332-2244; www.lyricopera.org). As powerful as it is understated, Poulenc's opera about faithset in a Carmelite convent torn apart by the French revolutionarrives for the first time at the Lyric Opera in Robert Carsen's spare and beautiful production, from the Netherlands Opera, with some wonderful singers: Isabel Bayrakdarian, Patricia Racette, and Felicity Palmer. —Anne Midgette