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Arts & Culture Preview 2019: Who to Know And What To See This Season

Indagare has scouted the season’s top tickets in the worlds of art, theater, opera and ballet just for you. From New York to Los Angeles, London to Paris (and beyond), Indagare’s 2019 Fall Culture Preview showcases the best of the new season, with our picks of the top art exhibitions, shows and performances for travelers. So whether you’re curious about the MoMA expansion or what’s on in London in the coming months, we’ve got you covered. Plus, here are four top talents that are on our radar right now.

Contact Indagare to plan a culture-filled fall trip to one of these or other cities.

New York City

Art Exhibitions

MoMA Reopens
When the Museum of Modern Art reopens on October 21 after a multi-year expansion, its gallery space will increase by a third, extending into a new residential tower by Jean Nouvel. The renovation also marks the first time that passersby will be able to see contemporary design in street-level galleries behind a new glass façade. It forms part of facilities that include an auditorium-studio space for performance and film and a six-floor lounge and outdoor terrace facing West 53rd St. To mark the opening, the museum will devote all its galleries and spaces to exhibitions and installations from its renowned collections, ranging from painting and sculpture, to photographs and media.

Theater

Soft Power
Playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home) collaborate on Soft Power, a musical-within-a-play, a look at evolving East-West relations, America’s shifting global standing and the rising influence of China. It is also a raucous satire in which Hillary Clinton, depicted by Alyse Alan Louis, before and after the election, and a Shanghai producer, the suave Conrad Ricamora, cut indelible images. September 24-November 3, 2019

Linda Vista
Linda Vista,
a new play by Tracy Letts, well-known for August: Osage County, considers a man’s nosedive during a mid-life divorce. Presented by Second Stage, this Steppenwolf production is far more than a story of midlife crisis. It is both a hard-hitting comedy and acid critique of modern life, and features Ian Barford as Wheeler, the play’s protagonist, as he charts a bumpy future. September 19-November 10

The Inheritance 

Following critical acclaim and sold-out runs in London, the two-part The Inheritance arrives on Broadway this month at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Written by American playwright Matthew Lopez, the plays, sharply witty and affecting, reimagine E.M. Forster’s Howards End, set in 21st-century New York, alongside the palpable legacy of AIDS. Stephen Daldry directs a British-American cast, including John Benjamin Hickey and Kyle Soller, who reprise roles from the London production. Opens September 27

Opera/Ballet/Music

The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, Courtesy Met Opera

Porgy & Bess
The artistic demands of George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess make productions a rarity. All the greater credit to the Metropolitan Opera for having assembled a superior cast: Eric Owens and Angel Blue, in the title roles, along with Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves and Ryan Speedo Green. The staging from the English National Opera, vividly evocative of Charleston’s Catfish Row, is directed by James Robinson. Conductor David Robertson leads performances, starting September 23, as the Met season opener.

The 50th Anniversary of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
The 2019-20 season marks the 50th anniversary of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. To commemorate the auspicious occasion, CMS, led by artistic directors cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, present programs centered around key works by Haydn, Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky and Messiaen. Music that was at one time the domain of the 18th-century princely chamber is brought to listeners worldwide through on-demand streaming of concerts and through telecasts, including a musical travelogue through Greece presented on Live from Lincoln Center on PBS stations on September 6.

Jewels
One of choreographer George Balanchine’s enduring masterworks is Jewels. The full-evening ballet, in three parts, each named for a gemstone, Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds, with music by Fauré, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, dazzles. It launches the company’s fall season on September 17, which includes works by Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, NYCB’s resident choreographer, and premieres by Lauren Lovette and Edward Liang. The company also revives Summerspace by Merce Cunningham, rarely staged since its City Ballet premiere in 1966. September 17-October 13, 2019

Los Angeles

Art Exhibitions

Opera/Ballet/Music

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic has been led by some of today’s distinguished and distinctly different musicians during its 100-year history. To mark its centennial this season, two of its recent music directors, Zubin Mehta and Esa-Pekka Salonen return, and its present conductor Gustavo Dudamel, will lead performances of repertoire for which each has special affinity (Mehta and Mahler; Salonen and Sibelius) in a mini music festival, October 18-27; the festivities conclude with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, by the charismatic Dudamel leading a starry ensemble of vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. All performances are in Walt Disney Hall, worth a trip in itself.

Philadelphia

Opera/Ballet/Music

Festival O
Two years ago, Opera Philadelphia launched Festival O, a fall series of opera, music-theater pieces, and recitals, featuring leading singers and imaginative productions throughout the city. This September’s festival is a marvel of contrasts: Handel’s baroque music drama Semele, with English text by William Congreve, and Prokofiev’s satirical opera The Love for Three Oranges. The latter is performed in the Academy of Music, a mid-19th-century architectural jewel and National Historic Landmark. The chamber opera Denis & Katya by Philip Venables, with libretto by Ted Huffman, has its world premiere on September 18, with performances throughout the month. September 18-29

London

Art Exhibitions

Tate Modern
With the exhibition Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life, the Tate Modern turns its focus to the wide-ranging achievements of this Danish-Icelandic conceptual artist, whose work plays with perceptions of light and color and engages the viewer’s imagination in contemporary issues, from climate change to migration. Through January 5, 2020

The British Museum
From the Alhambra in Spain, characters in Mozart operas, and paintings by John Singer Sargent, Islamic culture has variously found expression in the West. The show Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art, charts this relationship and exchange through objects, including ceramics, glass, jewelry and clothing, from the 15th century to the present day. October 10, 2019-January 26, 2020

Theater

Lungs
Duncan Macmillan’s contemporary love story, tart and funny, revolves around a 30-something couple, who come of age in the age of assured uncertainty—climate change, political and social instability, overpopulation—and wrestle with the desire to have a baby. Clare Foy (The Crown) and Matt Smith (Prince Philip in The Crown; known otherwise as Doctor Who) star in this two-person play, staged by Matthew Warchus. October 14-November 9

The Man in the White Suit
The 1951 satirical film masterpiece that starred Alec Guinness has been reimagined as a musical play for the West End. The plot revolves around a modern everyman who invents a fabric that never gets dirty or wears out. The irrepressible Stephen Mangan stars as the protagonist in this fast-paced comedy, staged by Sean Foley. September 26-January 11, 2020

Opera/Ballet/Music

Death in Venice
Benjamin Britten’s last opera, an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, is rarely enough produced to warrant seeing it whenever one has the opportunity. There may be no better singing actor than Mark Padmore to take on the complex role of protagonist Gustav von Aschenbach or Gerald Finley for the work’s multiple roles, from the ominous fellow traveler to hotel barber, in Britten’s evocative sound world. David McVicar directs the new staging, which opens on November 1 at the Royal Opera House.

Southbank Centre
The auditoriums of the Southbank Centre—Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room—were renovated last year. After the refurbishment, they burnish anew but, more importantly, the acoustics have been improved. As significant as their luster is varied programming, which this fall includes a concert featuring the sacred music of Vivaldi and Pergolesi, with the Orchestra of the Enlightenment and countertenor Iestyn Davies and sopranos Katherine Watson and Rowan Pierce (November 11), and performance by a troupe of contemporary clowns, Out of Order by Forced Entertainment (October 12-14)—which may be just the thing as Brexit looms.

Paris

Art Exhibitions

El Greco at the Grand Palais
The painter Domenico Theotokopoulos, also known as El Greco, is the subject of this large-scale show, that surprisingly, is the first retrospective of the artist in France. A master of the late Spanish Renaissance whose works reflect an intense spirituality imbued with mystery and striking color, El Greco held appeal both for 19th-century Fauvists and the 20th-century avant-garde. On display: the recently restored Assumption of the Virgin from the Chicago Art Institute and masterworks including St. Martin and the Beggar as well as an intimate portrait of the artist’s son. October 16-February 10, 2020

Opera/Ballet/Music

Théâtre du Champs-Éysées
In recent years, notable performing arts centers have been built in Paris, the Philharmonie de Paris and the Seine Musicale, which add to the city’s vibrant cultural life. Singular among historic venues is the Théâtre du Champs-Éysées, the scene of the celebrated 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The theater’s programming remains as impressive and vital, as a home for the Orchestre National de Paris (the Vienna Philharmonic has a multi-concert residency in 2020), and a dance series which ranges from Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project, with works by contemporary Los Angeles-based choreographers, to the Kiev National Opera Ballet’s production of Swan Lake.

Châtelet
Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s stage musical American in Paris, an adaptation of the beloved movie musical directed by Vincente Minelli and starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, premiered in Paris’s Châtelet Theatre in 2014 for a limited run before opening on Broadway and a subsequent West End production. This fall, its infectious score, timeless romance, and valentine to the city, returns to the Châtelet for a longer stay, with a cast led by Ryan Steele as Jerry Mulligan and Leslie Cope as Lise Dassin. As the exuberant Gershwin lyric proclaims, “I’ve got rhythm—who could ask for anything more?” November 19, 2019-January 20, 2020

Mexico City

Art Exhibitions

National Museum of World Cultures
In days when looted works of art and cultural patrimony are returned to individuals or institutions only after contentious legal battles, the heirs of an Italian collector, through the intermediary of the Italian government, voluntarily returned to Mexico almost 600 small retablos and ex-votos dating from the 18th through the 20th century. The unexpected cache of devotional art and icons, depictions of the Virgin, religious scenes, and colonial life, from the 18th through the 20th centuries, are on view for the first time in the exhibition Memory of Milagros at the National Museum of World Cultures. Through January 26, 2020

Washington, D.C.

Opera/Ballet/Music

The Reach
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is celebrating the opening of the Reach, three new pavilions designed by architect Steven Holl, set among a landscape of lawns and groves in grand style with a 16-day, free festival, September 7-22. The multi-genre, multi-disciplinary celebration features 400 events, from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to an outdoor screening of The Muppet Movie, hip-hop group Arrested Development to a concert with soprano Renée Fleming and Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo. September 7-22, 2019

Museum to Know

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
There may be no time more propitious than now for the opening on September 18 of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Its key exhibition documents the rise of the Nazi regime and stresses the extent of Hitler’s barbarous ambitions. As an artifact, a restored World War II boxcar, the first displayed in such a setting, makes manifest—in starkest terms—the mode of deportation to concentration camps. Other galleries document the recognition of universal human rights that arose after the war and evolving circumstances for groups—African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Immigrant, Women, the Disabled, among others—in contemporary American society.

Culture Spotlight: Four Top Talents

The soprano Golda Schultz, admired for her expressive voice and range of her vocal characterizations, appears in recital on November 1 in New York at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, after performances in the role of Clara at the Metropolitan Opera’s Porgy & Bess. In October, she performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This season, Schultz is one of three exceptional artists from South Africa who distinguish concert stages and opera houses worldwide.

American artist Leo Villareal, born in New Mexico, grew up in El Paso. He has brought his singular creations of light to office lobbies and subway stations as well as large-scale, site-specific works for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, Auckland Theatre Company, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Now, he has illuminated four bridges over the Thames, including the Millennium and London Bridge. These and other bridges are strikingly illuminated by Villareal as part of a plan to light 15 bridges of the English capital.

Pretty Yende presents a Carnegie Hall recital on December 4, after concerts in Prague and London. She begins the 2019-20 season in La Traviata at Opéra Bastille Paris.

Elza van den Heever ranks as one of today’s most versatile musicians: after a performance of Verdi’s Requiem at London’s Royal Festival Hall in October, she appears in Vienna, starring in the rarely performed opera La Vestale by Gaspare Spotini during November, and returns in December to the Metropolitan Opera in Berg’s searing Wozzeck.

Contact Indagare to plan a culture-filled fall trip to one of these or other cities.

– Mario R. Mercado on September 5, 2019

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