New York, New York

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

Classical Music

Leon Fleischer’s 90th

Carnegie Hall celebrates revered pianist Leon Fleisher’s 90th birthday. Fleisher himself performs solo works by Bach and Kirchner and collaborates with the Dover Quartet in an arrangement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 12. Special guests include Jonathan Biss and Yefim Bronfman who join the festivities in music by Beethoven and Brahms.

Blue Heron

Director Scott Metcalfe leads the 13 singers of Boston’s highly-praised Blue Heron in music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, works that have won them international plaudits galore (including a recent Limelight recording of the Month). Careful scholarship means you can now hear pieces by the impressive Hugh Aston alongside music by Fayrfax and Taverner.

The Concertgebouw

The legendary Dutch orchestra is in town conducted by Daniel Harding. Two concerts kick off with Schumann, Mozart and Brahms, followed the next night by Beethoven, Strauss and Connesson. Mozart’s 40th rubs shoulders with Brahms’ Fourth, while Pierre-Laurent Aimard joins for Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto alongside Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben.

Russian National Orchestra

The Russian National Orchestra, thrilling exponents of the classic Russian repertoire, are part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers program. An all-Rachmaninov concert (the Second Piano Concerto and the Symphonic Dances) sees Ukrainian conductor Kirill Karabits on the podium with Mikhail Pletnev the soloist in the concerto.

Tous les Matins du Monde

The film Tous les Matins du Monde premiered nearly 30 years ago and introduced the music of two French composer-gambists – Mons. de Sainte-Colombe and Marin Marais – to wider audiences, Jordi Savall, who played gamba on the soundtrack, and Le Concert des Nations play music for viols, graceful dances and dramatic character pieces.

Opera

La Fille du Régiment

Laurent Pelly’s delightfully dizzy production stars a pair of today’s bel canto stars: Javier Camarena (getting to sing Ah! Mes amis with its grueling nine high Cs) and soprano Pretty Yende. Alessandro Corbelli and Maurizio Muraro share the role of Sergeant Sulpice with Hollywood legend Kathleen Turner as the Duchess of Krakenthorp.

Don Giovanni

Peter Mattei and Luca Pisaroni take turns to play the lascivious Don with Adam Plachetka and Ildar Abdrazakov as his sidekick Leporello in Michael Grandage’s staging of Mozart’s darkly comic masterpiece. Rachel Willis-Sørensen and Guanqun Yu play Donna Anna, Federica Lombardi and Susanna Phillips take on Donna Elvira and rising star Aida Garifullina sings Zerlina.

Falstaff

Ambrogio Maestri reprises his ripe portrayal of the title role in Robert Carsen’s production, which moves the action to postwar 1950s England when the nobs were losing influence. Golda Schultz is Nanetta, Marie-Nicole Lemieux is Mistress Quickly and Ailyn Pérez sings Alice Ford except on March 8 when Australian soprano Helena Dix makes her Met debut.

Rigoletto

Verdi’s tragic jester returns in Broadway director Michael Mayer’s neon-and-feather-bedewed Las Vegas production. Roberto Frontali and George Gagnidze share the title role with rising-star soprano Nadine Sierra reprising her career-launching portrayal of Gilda. Vittorio Grigolo and Bryan Hymel play the lascivious Duke while Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Dido and Aeneas

Purcell’s only genuine opera – and the first work recognised as an opera in English – concerns the ill-fated liaison between Dido, Queen of Carthage and her all-too-temporary visitor, the Trojan Prince Aeneas. Avi Stein conducts singers from the Juilliard School in a production by Mary Birnbaum. A chance to see the opera stars of tomorrow for very little outlay!

Musicals & Theatre

Marys Seacoal

Jackie Sibblie Drury’s new play is an exploration of what it means to be a woman who is paid to care. Mary is an ambitious Jamaican woman determined to live a grand life; her adventures take her across oceans and eras, from a battlefield of the Crimean War to a contemporary nursing home, and many times and places in between. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. Pricing $30

Sea Wall / A Life

Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge make their Public Theater debut in an intimate evening of theatre. Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall (starring Sturridge) is an astonishing monologue about love and the human need to know the unknowable. Nick Payne’s A Life (starring Gyllenhaal) is a meditation on how we say goodbye to those we love most.

Boesman & Lena

Athol Fugard was Signature’s inaugural playwright in residence and his themes of complex identities, racial tension, and social protest remain relevant as ever. The need for compassion is revealed in the struggles of abusive Boesman and his long-suffering wife Lena who encounter a stranger in the South African wastelands. Yaël Farber directs.

The Cake

Debra Jo Rupp stars as Della, whose North Carolina bakery is legendary and who’s just been cast on her favorite television baking competition. But then, her late-best-friend’s daughter comes home from New York to ask her to make a cake for her upcoming same-sex wedding. An emotional and deliciously funny play by Bekah Brunstetter. Lynne Meadow directs.

Merrily We Roll Along

Roundabout’s company in residence, Fiasco Theater, follows up on their acclaimed staging of Into the Woods with another Stephen Sondheim creation. Merrily We Roll Along follows a trio of friends who want to make it in show business as they fall apart and come together over 20 years – but the catch is that the show runs backwards in time.

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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