PHOTOS: Evita Opens With a Tango Party at the Academy of Music

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Don’t cry for me, Philadelphia!  Last evening, to celebrate the opening of the national tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita at the Academy of Music, Broad Street transformed into a tango stage, complete with performers from the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School heating up the sidewalks. Iconic former Argentinian First Lady Evita Peron even graced the City of Brotherly Love with a signature wave from the balcony of the Academy. We were there to capture the moment.



Evita runs through June 22 at the Academy of Music.  Tickets and more information can be found by visiting the Kimmel Center’s webpage.

Opera Philadelphia Announces Ambitious, Star-Studded New Season

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Star countertenor David Daniels will perform the title role in Theodore Morrison’s “Oscar” in February.

Opera Philadelphia’s 40th anniversary repertoire, announced earlier this week, is the company’s most ambitious and star-studded to date. Some of opera’s most well-known singers will be performing in the City of Brotherly Love as part of the five-production 2014-2015 season.

It is one of the first times in recent history that Opera Philadelphia has attracted internationally known and acclaimed performers to its stages at the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts — it’s not every day that Philadelphia audiences are treated to the likes of David Daniels (who many would contend is the world’s leading operatic countertenor), Lawrence Brownlee (an internationally known bel canto specialist, although he won’t be performing from that repertoire in Philly), and Eric Owens (a Philadelphia native whose bass-baritone has been heard at opera houses the world over.)

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The Academy of Music’s 157th Anniversary Concert and Ball with Jill Scott and the Bacon Brothers

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The 157th Anniversary Concert and Ball, Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala, celebrated the Academy of Music’s 157th birthday on Saturday, January 25th.

Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra along with host stars the Bacon Brothers and special guest artist Jill Scott entertained attendees during the concert. Nézet-Séguin told the audience that he had been a long-time fan of Scott’s and when he found himself in his dream job of conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, he just had to perform with the home-town girl. He called it a dream come true.

The night began with an open house reception before the anniversary concert at the Academy of Music where guests dined on delights by chef Jose Garces. During the concert portion, newly installed Adele Schaeffer, chair of the board of trustees of the Academy of Music, told the audience that the evening’s funds would be used to restore the building’s HVAC system, which dates back to 1966. After the concert, guests made the annual trek up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel. The ball included dinner and dancing to the music of six bands, including The Eddie Bruce Band, in the Grand Ballroom.

See HughE Dillon’s photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »

The Return of Jill Scott

jill-scott-phila-academyEach January, the who’s who of Philadelphia pays big bucks to attend the Philadelphia Orchestra’s annual Academy Ball and Concert at the Academy of Music. There are glorious gowns and fine jewels. There’s lots of society gossip. And there’s always a special guest performer, with past rosters showcasing everyone from Rod Stewart and Billy Joel to Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang. But this year, for the 157th edition of the grand fete, the Orchestra has chosen a much more local talent: North Philadelphia-born-and-raised Jill Scott.

Now, if you’re wondering Where the hell has Jill Scott been?, it’s not an unfair question. After a long series of Grammy- nominated songs and albums and her own 2009 show on HBO (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency), Scott more or less went underground—but not without good cause. In 2009 she had a baby boy, and one year later, she was sued by her longtime record label for millions of dollars for breach of contract, tying up her life and career. That suit has since been settled.

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Russet Now Offers Weekend Brunch

Russet Dining Room

Chef-Owners Andrew and Kristin Wood are now offering brunch at Russet. The BYOB is offering seasonally-inspired brunch dishes every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.

Andrew’s savory dishes will show off his expertise in butchery and charcuterie.

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Sbraga in the Real World

Trey Popp finds that Kevin Sbraga can really shine at his eponymous restaurant on Broad Street.

Over-cute missteps and fast-corrected blunders aside, Sbraga more often showed a rare ability to make the smallest detail stand out. His apple cider miso-glazed black cod was good enough to order twice even without the bok choy chip that shattered on the tongue like a brittle autumn leaf. Yet my most memorable bite of that dish was a forkful of bacon-y adzucki beans bearing a single cilantro leaf. It’s hard to say why—hard even to know why—but it was just so right.

Two and a half stars – Good to Excellent

Sbraga: In the Spotlight [Philadelphia magazine]

PW Calls Sbraga “Stellar”

Brian Freedman buys into the Sbraga experience from the foie gras soup forward.

There’s just so much to love at Sbraga, not least of which is the fact that its namesake—Kevin Sbraga—is doing, night after foot-aching night, what so many other so-called celebrity chefs don’t. He cooks. And his earnestness is palpable, his successes very well-earned.

“Top Chef” Winner’s Sbraga on South Broad Street Is Both Familiar and Exotic [Philadelphia Weekly]

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