Cultural Preview: Performing Arts

Miami City Ballet

Palm Beach County residents are once again able to witness the wonder of the Miami City Ballet without having to struggle with Magic City traffic, as the lauded dance company will bring its entire 2017-18 season to the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.

It all begins November 17-19 with “Program One,” a shimmering presentation of jewel-named works (i.e. Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds) by choreographer George Balanchine. Then, catch an all-new presentation of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, featuring reimagined costumes and sets by the Cuban-American couple Isabel and Ruben Toledo, December 28-30. A Jerome Robbins extravaganza follows in “Program Two,” February 2-4, with a lineup that includes The Cage, West Side Story Suite, and the company premiere of Circus Polka. “Program Three” will run the gamut of contemporary dance—from the purest example of Balanchine’s approach to classical ballet to a comedic work by Jerome Robbins—March 2-4. MCB will close the season April 6-8 with “Program Four,” featuring two more works by Balanchine as well as a piece by Alexei Ratmansky.

In addition to the reinvigorated Nutcracker, another MCB season highlight comes in the middle of “Program Three,” with the world premiere of a new work by choreographer Brian Brooks. This commissioned piece, entitled One Line Drawn, is part of Brooks’ tenure as choreographer in residence at Chicago’s Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Despite living in New York City and being professionally based in Chicago, Brooks found immense inspiration in the diversity of South Florida and the dancers of MCB.

“People come from a lot of different countries and backgrounds in Florida, but also in Miami City Ballet, which is somewhat unique for a classical company,” Brooks says. “They were incredibly generous with me. We talk about taking risks, and I feel like the dancers helped me widen my safety net so I can jump a little farther. And for them, as well. They were excited to go into new areas of their artistry.”

Brooks’ modern approach to dance often revolves around a fascination with the physics of the human body. He enjoys playing with speed, force, and the idea of tipping everything slightly off-balance. “You’ll rarely see a piece of mine that feels very upright,” he says. “Rather than masking effort, the inner workings of the partnerships, and the contacts that happen within a piece, I like to bring that all to the forefront so there’s a certain sportsmanship that is always evident.”

The same philosophy applies to One Line Drawn, which stars eight men and eight women. “The women are on pointe, and my work has not sacrificed its speed or off-kilter propulsion,” explains Brooks, who also credits Michael Gordon’s commissioned score with adding momentum to the work as a whole. “It moves like the waves,” he says of the music. “It propels you from moment to moment, and steers around corners and then comes out in new places in a really beautiful and surprising way.”

While One Line Drawn will only account for 25 minutes of Miami City Ballet’s season, it will surely leave audiences craving more from this rising star choreographer. For Brooks, the opportunity to create art that speaks beyond the movement itself and to share that message with a wider audience is reward enough. (305-929-7010)  

Brooks sits down with PBI and shares more about his evolution as an artist, click here to read more.

Palm Beach Opera

Palm Beach Opera kicks off its season December 9 with Opera at the Waterfront, a free alfresco concert held annually at the Meyer Amphitheatre. Then, it will present a trio of main-stage productions at the Kravis Center. Below, we present the need-to-know facts for each opera. (561-833-7888)

  1. Title: Tosca Dates: January 26-28 Music By: Giacomo Puccini Sung In: Italian with English subtitles Synopsis: Set in Rome in 1800, Tosca tells the story of Floria Tosca, a famous singer, and her artist lover, Mario Cavaradossi. Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, will do anything in his power to upset this coupling—but Tosca and Cavaradossi strive to thwart him at every turn.
  2. Title: Candide Dates: February 23-25 Music By: Leonard Bernstein Sung In: English, but still presented with subtitles Synopsis: This modern opera began as an adaptation of Voltaire’s 1758 novella, which satirized some of the questionable behavior of his day. Though it’s gone through many revisions since premiering in the 1950s, Candide is an excellent example of Bernstein’s operatic prowess.
  3. Title: Le Nozze di Figaro Dates: March 23-25 Music By: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sung In: Italian with English subtitles Synopsis: The title translates to The Marriage of Figaro, which tells you everything you need to know. Figaro’s nuptials go awry when a lovelorn count sets his sights on Figaro’s fiancée, Susanna.
Le Nozze di Figaro
Photo Credit: Dana Sohm

Ballet Palm Beach

Dance lovers with a passion for classic tales will adore Ballet Palm Beach’s 2017-18 season. After staging Snow White and Other Works last month, the professional company returns with The Nutcracker, December 1-3, staged this year at the Kravis Center. Then, from February 24-25, it will dance Gatsby, a choreographic retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, at The Benjamin Upper School. Ballet Palm Beach will close the year with a little Shakespeare. From May 5-6, it will take residence at Eissey Campus Theatre for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Other Works, composed of the beloved poetic comedy augmented by dances from the Ballet Palm Beach repertoire and guest choreographers. (561-814-5598)

Ballet Palm Beach’s Gatsby
Photo Credit: Janine Harris


Flagler Museum Music Series

Henry and Mary Lily Flagler would undoubtedly be proud to see their love of chamber music continued with the Flagler Museum Music Series. From January through March, melodic tones will fill Whitehall’s West Room, transporting audiences to an era of elegance and aural opulence. The Tesla Quartet opens the series January 9. This young string ensemble formed at The Juilliard School in 2008 and has spent the better part of a decade progressing under the tutelage of acclaimed groups like the Takács Quartet and the Tokyo String Quartet. Subtract a few strings and add some keys to land at the Hermitage Piano Trio, appearing at the Flagler January 23. Originally from Russia, these performers specialize in the music of their native land, but don’t shy away from European compositions and new American works. Craving a woodwind? Then attend the Prima Trio February 6. Graduates of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, Prima features Boris Allakhverdyan on clarinet, Gulia Gurevich on violin, and Anastasia Dedik on piano. When it comes to distinguished solo careers, look no further than the members of the Boston Trio. Each has starred alongside big-name symphonies, and its founder, pianist Heng-Jin Park, made her solo debut with the Boston Pops at the age of 15. They’ll come together at the Flagler February 20. The Henschel Quartet will close the series March 6. This long-established group, which welcomed violinist Catalin Desaga in 2016, has played at an array of impressive venues, including the Vatican, the Royal Palace of Madrid, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. (561-655-2833)

Palm Beach Symphony

This season, the Palm Beach Symphony will present the Masterworks Concert Series local classical music fans have come to expect, as well as a brand-new Chamber Music Series. The complete orchestra will perform “Seven Wonders” at The Society of the Four Arts December 6, “Electrifying Discoveries” at The Benjamin Upper School January 17, “Journey from Germany to Scotland” at The Breakers February 19, “The Glory of Baroque” at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea March 12, and “Romantic Reflections” at the Kravis Center April 17. Catch the first performance of the Chamber Music Series January 10 with “Playing Still: The Dean of Afro American Composers,” featuring music by twentieth-century composer William Grant Still at Palm Beach Day Academy. “Treasures from the Spanish Providencia,” taking place February 7 at the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, and “Bernstein & Co.: Composed in America,” March 21 at The Harriet Himmel Theater, round out the inaugural series. (561-655-2657)

Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach

The 2017-18 season might just be the biggest one to date for the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach. From November through May, it will present more than 10 concerts at various locations across the county, including The Breakers, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Rosarian Academy, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. We highly recommend the bookends for the main series: the Ehnes Quartet on November 28, and the debut of a new trio comprising violinist Arnaud Sussmann, cellist Colin Carr, and pianist Orion Weiss on April 25.

However, the true highlight of the CMSPB season comes courtesy of its Young Artist Series. The Grammy Award–winning Harlem Quartet will play a program featuring Jobim’s The Girl from Ipanema and Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night in Tunisia at Rosarian Academy May 7. Committed to advancing diversity in classical music, this up-and-coming quartet has already performed alongside renowned musicians such as Itzhak Perlman and for such dignitaries as President Barak Obama. (561-379-6773)  

The Society of the Four Arts

There are ample reasons to visit The Society of the Four Arts, but top among those are its live performances. Here are a few of our picks from the Four Arts’ concert lineup. (561-655-7226)

  • A Seraphic Fire Christmas, singing carols to celebrate the season, December 13
  • Christina and Michelle Naughton, dueling pianos from a spectacular sister duo, January 14
  • Cristina Pato, bagpiping never looked so good, January 17
  • Lezginka Dance Company of Dagestan, stepping in tune to the sounds of the Caucasus, February 21
  • Metropolitan Opera Singers, soaring arias from prodigies of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, March 14
  • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, strumming bluegrass hits with panache, April 8
Seraphic Fire
Photo Credit: Marta Xochilt

The Symphonia Boca Raton

The Symphonia Boca Raton’s Connoisseur Concert Series returns to Roberts Theater at Saint Andrew’s School December 10, starring guest conductor Gerard Schwarz and soloists Julian Schwarz on cello and Jeffrey Kaye on trumpet. Additional concerts are scheduled for January 7, February 18, and March 25, and each event will include a pre-concert conversation with the conductor. (561-376-3848)

Boca Ballet Theatre

After mounting a production of The Nutcracker November 24-26, the Boca Ballet Theatre will stage three more performances in 2018. On March 10, dancers from the New York City Ballet will join Boca Ballet Theatre for an evening of choreographic triumphs like Apollo by George Balanchine. A mixed repertory performance follows April 28-29, as well as the comedic ballet Coppélia August 4-5. (561-995-0709)

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