Thanks to dramatic transformations, these five world-class museums are casting a whole new light on their collections.
Amsterdam: After a 10-year renovation, a grand atrium now greets visitors to the Rijksmuseum(pictured). More than 8,000 objects, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals, have been rearranged as a historical survey. —Raul Barreneche
Honolulu: The extraordinary story of how Pacific Islanders developed their diverse cultures is told—with canoes, costumes, musical instruments, and more—in the renovated Pacific Hall, debuting this month at the Bishop Museum. —Peter Webster
New York City: Housed in a pavilion built for the 1939 World’s Fair, the Queens Museum reopens in November at twice its original size. One of the first shows, “The People’s UN,” nods to the building’s former role as host to the General Assembly.—Peter Webster
Mexico City: The Museo Jumex, displaying artists both Mexican (Gabriel Orozco; Carlos Amorales) and global (Olafur Eliasson; Tacita Dean), expands into David Chipperfield’s sawtooth-roofed building in November. —Raul Barreneche
Cleveland: Come December, the Cleveland Museum of Artwill unveil the last of three wings by Rafael Viñoly, showing works that range from Chinese bronzes to Impressionist paintings. —Peter Webster
The hot ticket at New York’s Metropolitan Opera is Two Boys (Oct. 21–Nov. 14), in which Internet duplicity leads to murder. The anticipation is no surprise, considering the composer, wunderkind Nico Muhly. T+L asked the 32-year-old New Yorker, who has worked with everyone from Philip Glass to Björk, about the music-world events he’s looking forward to most.
London: “Australian composer Ben Frost has written a stunning music theater piece, The Wasp Factory, based on Iain Banks’s violent novel. Frost is directing it himself at the Royal Opera House(Oct. 2–8). Also, the English National Opera is reviving Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch’s insanely genius production of Glass’s Satyagraha(Nov. 20–Dec. 8).”
U.S./Europe: “The Icelandic band Sigur Rós is touring this fall (Sept. 14–Nov. 28). I love their live shows, a poetic mix of high- and low-tech unique to them.”
New York City: “I’m thrilled that Benjamin Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be running at the Met at the same time as Two Boys(Oct. 11–31), so I can see it on my nights off.”
With so many options on this season’s arts calendar, how’s a traveler to choose? Here are four standouts.
Opera:Milan’s fabled Teatro alla Scala devotes most of this season to titans Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, both of whom celebrate their bicentennials in 2013. Wagner’s Lohengrin kicks off the party in a new production starring tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who looks and sounds like a Wagnerian god. Dec. 7–27.
Theater: Jessica Chastain, known for her Oscar-nominated turn in The Help, comes to Broadway in the title role of The Heiress, adapted from Henry James’s Washington Square. David Strathairn, Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens, and director Moisés Kaufman (I Am My Own Wife) round out the pedigreed production. Opens Nov. 1.
Art: “Impressionism and Fashion,” a groundbreaking exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, will consider the relationship between Manet, Degas, Caillebotte, and other painters and the then-emerging fashion industry, pairing Impressionist masterpieces with rarely exhibited finery of 19th-century Parisians. Sept. 25–Jan. 20.
Dance: American Ballet Theatre star David Hallberg is also a premier danseur at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet. It’s an intriguing partnership: the Russian company is legendary for its bravura style, while Hallberg is a paragon of classical restraint. See the results of the cross-pollination this season, when Hallberg dances signature roles in Swan Lake and Jewels. Sept.–Dec.
The best hotel art programs think outside the frame. In France, a bipolar case in point.
The six rooms at Au Vieux Panier, in Marseilles’ oldest quarter, aren’t just rooms: they’re immersive experiences, reconceived annually by guest artists. This year’s standout is the Panic Room by French tagger Tilt, who slathered half the space in dense, psychedelic graffiti, leaving the rest stark white—the visual equivalent of switching radio stations from floor-shaking hip-hop to ambient trance. So, which side of the bed would you choose? 13 Rue du Panier.$
Last June, American contemporary-classical composer Nico Muhly, who is barely 30, electrified London audiences with the world premiere of his genre-busting opera Two Boys. That work, a disturbing detective story set in a world of sinister Internet chat rooms, comes to the Metropolitan Opera in 2013. But New York City is getting a chance to sample Muhly’s iconoclastic gifts, with his equally unconventional second opera, Dark Sisters, which currently has its premiere production by the Gotham Chamber Opera (through November 19). Dark Sisters moves next summer to the Opera Company of Philadelphia (June 8-18).
The new piece, which has a libretto by playwright Stephen Karam, follows one woman’s desperate attempts to escape from a polygamist Mormon sect. Fifty Nine Productions, the lighting and projections team responsible for integrating dramatic moving images into the Two Boys staging, creates images that range from stark landscapes of the American southwest to the re-creation of a sensational television news show, studio and telecast feed, side-by-side.
The opening of a 15-gallery suite that houses the peerless collection of Islamic art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art(opens Nov. 1) could not come at a more appropriate geopolitical moment. Filled with 1,200 works of art, from Spain to India, the renovated galleries show the extraordinary diversity, sweep, and influence of 13 centuries of Islamic civilization. Don’t miss the Patti Cadby Birch Court, an interior patio based on a late-medieval Moroccan design meticulously created by craftsmen from Fez.
No doubt Montenegro’s 28-year-old Miloš Karadaglić could get by on his dreamboat looks alone. They’re matched by a virtuoso guitar technique and deep musicality that make Miloš, as he’s known professionally, one of the most galvanizing classical instrumentalists to emerge in recent years. Born in Montenegro—“The most beautiful country in the world,” he says, with some justification—Miloš was eight when he picked up his father’s battered old guitar. By age 16, he was accomplished enough to win a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music. Today, Miloš seems poised for a major international career. Deutsche Grammophon recently released his first recording, Mediterráneo; following club appearances at New York’s Living Room and at (Le) Poisson Rouge, and he made his Carnegie Hall debut this past weekend in the intimate Weill Recital Hall. Look for more dates in the future. We will be following this rising star.
Chicago: Charles James (1906–1978) was a true couturier, revered for his mastery of cut and structure. “Charles James: Genius Deconstructed,” an exhibition at the Chicago History Museum(Oct. 22–April 16, 2012), aims to broaden appreciation of the designer’s talents by showcasing his ball gowns and tailored dresses.
New York City: Milliner Stephen Jones plays curator with “Hats: An Anthology” at the Bard Graduate Center(pictured; Sept. 15–April 15, 2012). Jones has chosen more than 250 items, including a Balenciaga hat and creations by fellow London milliner Philip Treacy, whose witty fascinators made Will and Kate’s wedding such a head-turning event.
When New York City Ballet’s ballet master in chief Peter Martins told his 14-year old daughter he was choreographing a new ballet with a scenario and orchestral score by Sir Paul McCartney, the teenager was adamant: “Daddy, Stella McCartney has to do the costumes.” Simultaneously, the fashion designer was making the same suggestion to her ex-Beatle dad, so both McCartneys will be making their dance theater debuts when Ocean’s Kingdom—a 50-minute-long, four-act work—receives its world premiere on September 22 at New York City Ballet (through Sept. 29).