All Hail the Arsht
Florida’s largest performing arts venue, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the country’s premier cultural destinations. It is the home of Miami City Ballet and Florida Grand Opera—and, to a lesser extent, New World Symphony, though NWS now performs mainly in its own venue—and offers performances in three outstanding halls: Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall and Carnival Studio Theater.
From provocative theater to major operatic productions, this is the place to go. Not only is the design spectacular (thank you, Cesar Pelli), it also attracts world-class performances and some things you won’t see elsewhere. Case in point: Ayikodans, a Haitian dance company that was on the brink of collapse when it caught the attention of the Center’s leaders. The Arsht commissioned a piece that will premiere May 25.
On the popular side, Miami’s Broadway series performs here. Next season’s shows include Les Misérables and Memphis. And, significantly, the Arsht also is the Miami residence of the Cleveland Orchestra, an excellent, established group of musicians with a loyal following.
Strokes of Brilliance
Forget la vida loca. For Miami’s culturally voracious, it’s all about la vida MOCA. Though it’s not located in the thick of the action (it’s closer to Bal Harbour than downtown), the Museum of Contemporary Art is on the cutting edge of the contemporary art scene. That’s because of the sharp eye of its curators, who are known for discovering amazing new talent as well as identifying important work by established artists. Well worth the hike to 125th Street.
A Whole New World
Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, the New World Symphony has been quietly educating and developing some of the world’s leading musicians for 25 years. But when the orchestral academy moved to its new, Frank Gehry-designed campus, it really got the world’s attention.
The new facility is the perfect home for this talented group of fellows. The space is beautiful, of course, but more importantly, the acoustics are pitch-perfect, which is imperative to both the playing and listening experience.
From the public’s standpoint, the venue has become more of a destination for taking in concerts like the ultra-dramatic Bluebeard’s Castle or Stravinsky’s 1910 masterpiece, The Firebird. And how’s this for democratic? The Wallcast concerts bring music to the people. For a number of performances, anyone can spread out a blanket on the center’s lawn and enjoy the show projected onto a massive wall—no ticket needed.