New York, New York

LIMELIGHT’S GUIDE TO THE BEST ARTS EVENTS IN THE BIG APPLE this December

Classical Music

Langston Hughes in Song

Poems such as Harlem, Genius Child and Song for a Dark Girl are set to music in this Met Museum recital curated and performed by Julia Bullock with Nicole Cabell, NY Phil clarinettist Anthony McGill, Jessie Montgomery on violin, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and pianist/composers Ricky Ian Gordon and John Musto.

The Head and the Load

A play on the Ghanaian proverb, “the head and the load are the troubles of the neck,” this large-scale work speaks to the nearly two million African porters who bore the brunt of the casualties during the First World War in Africa. Music by Philip Miller, one of South Africa’s leading composers, complements Kentridge’s grandest and most ambitious production to date.

Anna Netrebko in Recital

Anna Netrebko is known for her lustrous tone and electrifying stage presence. In this intimate recital she is joined by pianist Malcolm Martineau, mezzo Jennifer Johnson Cano and David Chan on violin in a program of Russian art song plus operatic arias and songs by Richard Strauss, Charpentier, Debussy and many others.

John Adams at Juilliard

Composer John Adams conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in Brahms’ epic Fourth Symphony alongside Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’Hiver and his own powerful Doctor Atomic Symphony, a three movement work refashioned from his opera about Oppenheimer and the creation of the first atomic bomb. Tickets are only $30.

Charpentier at Xmas

Music Before 1800 offers a refreshingly different December program. Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Christmas Pastorale tells the nativity story, blending the shepherds’ naïveté with the gravity of Jesus’ birth and is performed by French Ensemble Correspondances, a group that has been described as “alarmingly sensual” and boasts nine prize-winning CDs.

Opera

Il Trittico

Jack O’Brien’s production of Puccini’s triple bill features first-class casting: Marcelo Álvarez and Amber Wagner are the illicit lovers of Il Tabarro; Kristine Opolais sings the shattering title role of Suor Angelica, alongside mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the Principessa; and the ageless Plácido Domingo takes a comedic turn in the title role of Gianni Schicchi.

Greek

In this in-your-face operatic retelling of the Oedipus tale, composer Mark-Anthony Turnage transports Sophocles’ tragedy to an apocalyptic 1980s London, plagued by police violence, racism, and socioeconomic decay. Cockney profanities combine with Turnage’s audacious score and an outstanding four-person cast in an incisive, brash contemporary statement on fate and family.

La Traviata

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Michael Mayer’s new production, featuring a dazzling 19th-century setting that changes with the seasons. Diana Damrau plays the tragic Violetta, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez returns to the Met for the first time since 2015 to sing the role of Alfredo. Baritone Quinn Kelsey is Alfredo’s father, Germont, the man who destroys their love.

Nativity Reconsidered

Soprano, and Met Museum Artist in Residence Julia Bullock stars alongside mezzo J’Nai Bridges and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in a chamber version of El Niño, John Adams’  Latin American influenced take on the traditional Christmas oratorio. Arranged for the forces of the American Modern Opera Company, the work has been adapted for the intimate Met Cloisters.

Otello

Leading Australian tenor Stuart Skelton heads the cast with his acclaimed portrayal of Shakespeare’s doomed hero – a man torn apart by jealousy – in the first revival of Bartlett Sher’s gripping 2015 production. Conducting sensation Gustavo Dudamel is making his Met debut with star soprano Sonya Yoncheva as the devoted but doomed Desdemona and Željko Lučić as the treacherous Iago.

Musical Theatre

Network

Bryan Cranston makes his triumphant return to Broadway in the National Theatre’s  acclaimed production. In Lee Hall’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-winning film, anchorman Howard Beale unravels live on-screen. But when the ratings soar, the network seizes on its newfound prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Aaron Sorkin’s new play is based on Harper Lee’s classic novel. Set in Alabama in the 1930s, it’s a story of racial injustice and childhood innocence centering on small-town lawyer Atticus Finch (Jeff Daniels).  The cast of characters includes Atticus’s daughter, her brother Jem and their mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley (Danny Wolohan).

The Prom

In a small Indiana town, the prom is cancelled when the school forbids a female student from bringing her girlfriend. When a group of Broadway actors hear her story, they head out west to correct the injustice. However, their hilarious attempts at social activism make the situation even worse. “Makes you believe in musical comedy again”, said the New York Times.

The Waverley Gallery

Iconic actor Elaine May returns to Broadway for the first time in 50 years in Kenneth Lonergan’s play about the final years of a generous, chatty and feisty grandmother’s battle against Alzheimer’s. Gladys is an old-school lefty and social activist and longtime owner of a small art gallery in Greenwich Village. The play explores her fight with humor in the face of crisis.

The Cher Show

For six decades, an unstoppable force has dominated popular culture, breaking down barriers, pushing boundaries and letting nothing and no one stand in her way. Three women play Cher in a show sporting 35 smash hits, two rock-star husbands, a Grammy, an Oscar, an Emmy, and enough Bob Mackie gowns to cause a sequins shortage in New York City.

New York, New York

LIMELIGHT’S GUIDE TO THE BEST ARTS EVENTS IN THE BIG APPLE

Australians are the world’s greatest tourists, right? And no city offers quite as much in the way of artist thrills and spills as the Big Apple. After a year spent finding his feet, Limelight Editor-at-Large Clive Paget has hunted down the big names and haunted the city’s glittering venues. He’s also found unexpected performance spaces, from clubs to churches and even the odd cemetery. From the glamour of the Met and the buzz of Broadway to classical music hideaways and, yes, even some free stuff, our insider’s guide aims to be everything an adventurous cultural tourist needs.

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