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New Year, New Art

   A new year means new art. And in Palm Beach County, 2013 promises to be a thrilling year. In January alone, there will be the opening of big-ticket art exhibits, high-end productions and high-class music. To help narrow down the field, here are my best picks for January.

   On January 8, the 2013 Flagler Museum Music Series begins. Flagler has a long musical history; Henry and his wife regularly hosted musical performances in Whitehall's music room. This tradition carried on with the Flagler family, resulting in a chamber music series, which runs every year from January through March.

   This music series is different from all the rest for a number of reasons. Now performed in the west room, the series offers an intimate setting. In addition, musicians only perform music composed before 1930. Following performances, guests and musicians are invited to mingle during a champagne and dessert reception. If that doesn't say gilded-age opulence, I don't know what does.

   The Quartetto Bernini, based out of Rome, kicks off the five-concert series. Other performers include the Utrecht String Quartet (Jan. 22), the Schubert Ensemble (Feb. 5), the Vienna Piano Trio (Feb. 19) and the Auryn Quartet (March 5). Individual tickets cost $60, or you can opt for a five-concert special at $280. To learn more visit flaglermuseum.us.

   I've always billed The Drowsy Chaperone as the musical for people who don't necessarily like musicals. Between its cheeky depiction of turn-of-the-century life, ironic song choice and dialogue that burns with self-mockery, The Drowsy Chaperone sheds light on the innate absurdity of the genre.

   At the heart of the production is a musical lover who yearns to be a star. As he listens to a favorite musical on vinyl, the show escapes the record player and comes alive, a sea of characters and narratives taking the stage hostage. The fourth wall broken, the audience assumes the role of the theater fanatic, adopting his unbridled enthusiasm along the way. It's enough to turn any musical skeptic into a believer.

   The Lake Worth Playhouse presents The Drowsy Chaperone from January 17 through February 3. Tickets range in price from $26-$35. For more information, visit lakeworthplayhouse.org.

   January promises to be a big month for the visual arts community in Palm Beach. First off, the Norton Museum of Art will mount an exhibition by world-renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz. Famous for her iconic images of actors, musicians, athletes, socialites and everyday people, Leibovitz's work has appeared in RollingStone, Vanity Fair and Vogue, among others. Remember the image of a naked John Lennon embracing a clothed Yoko Ono? Yep, that was Annie.

   The Norton's exhibition, which runs from January 17 through June 9, features 39 photographs from Leibovitz's catalogue. If you'd like to learn more about Leibovitz before visiting the exhibit, pick up a copy of the January issue of Palm Beach Illustrated, or visit Norton.org.

   For the 16th year in a row, Art Palm Beach will visit the palm Beach County Convention Center. This massive exhibition, running from January 24 through 28, features paintings, sculptures, photography, glass, videos and installations. This year's program is the biggest in the event's history. Enjoy artist lectures on such topics as photojournalism, the future of studio glass and the madness of art, as well as talks from local curators. One-day passes are available for $15, while a multi-day pass will set you back $20. Visit artpalmbeach.org for more information and a schedule of events.

   Fashion fans have reason to be excited this January. On January 29, "IMPACT: 50 Years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America" opens at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Shining a light on the artistry of American fashion designers, IMPACT features work from Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Norma Kamali and Francisco Costa, among others.

   In addition to the main exhibit, a supplementary show entitled "Draw and Shoot: Fashion Illustrations and Photographs from the Collection" showcases the evolution of fashion aesthetics in America. Also, if you're attending Art Palm Beach, catch a lecture on IMPACT by Boca Museum Director Steven V. Maklansky on January 28. For more info, visit bocamuseum.org.

   The opera has long been a medium where art, music and theater collide. My last pick for January is the Palm Beach Opera's production of La Traviata, running from January 18 through 20. When Verdi's masterpiece first premiered in 1853, it flopped; casting an overweight actress to play a woman dying of consumption didn't help. With some tweaks, however, it became one of the most beloved operas of the modern age. If you've never seen La Traviata live, you simply cannot miss the Palm Beach Opera's production. For well-versed opera goers, PBO's performance is also sure to please. Joyce El-Khoury and Sarah Joy Miller share the role of Violetta, the infamous Parisian courtesan, while Georgy Vasiliev and David Miller both perform as Alfredo, Violetta's secret love. Join Palm Beach Opera for a classic kick off to a textured 2013 season. Tickets start at $20, and performances take place at the Kravis Center. Visit pbopera.org to learn more and purchase tickets.


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