Dance to Audien at SoundGarden Hall. Photo provided
Teyana Taylor @ TLA | Thursday, April 28
Apparently some people on MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen can do more than complain that their new BMW has the wrong color birthday bow on it. When R&B singer Teyana Taylor was on the show, she had just signed to Pharrell’s record label, then later moved to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music to release her debut album, out now. Also, she may have been a character on Empire.
Yo-Yo Ma @ Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center | April 28 to May 1
The famed cellist has a slew of Grammys under his belt, including his most recent one for Best Folk Album. He’s teaming up with the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform American composer John Williams’ Cello Concerto, which Williams wrote specifically for Ma. If you’re not convinced: Williams wrote the score for every film you love, from Jaws to Jurassic Park.
Capriccio by Curtis Opera Theatre and Opera Philadelphia, at the Perelman Theater. (Photo by Cory Weaver)
In the middle of World War II, Richard Strauss premiered his final opera, Capriccio — an elegant “conversation piece,” set in a grand salon outside Paris, where an aristocratic brother and sister debate with their guests whether music or poetry matters more.
If this sounds unforgivably frivolous — trust me: it’s not. Capriccio is funny, beautiful, and profoundly moving. But it is difficult to get it right. So let’s cheer the co-production by Curtis Opera Theatre and Opera Philadelphia. Superbly done, both musically and theatrically — and presented in the ideally intimate Perelman Theatre — it’s a major achievement. Read more »
“I decided to go ahead with it because it was a good way for me to tell my story, my complex vet experience,” he said. “Once I did it, it was an immediate transformation on my part. It was something that I wanted to communicate, and a lightbulb went off.”
In a nutshell, Keefe teamed up with co-director Eli Wright to establish a New Jersey branch of Combat Paper, which offers workshops all over the Mid-Atlantic region, providing military vets and community members a chance to not only make paper out of their old uniforms, but create something much more profound. Read more »
Further details about Kimmel Center’s PIFA 2016 were released late last week, including the unveiling of the festival’s signature installation, The Kinetic Tree, at Commonwealth Plaza. There’s quite a lineup of announced performances, and tickets for all of the gigs are currently on sale via the Kimmel website. However, the huge selection of shows can be somewhat overwhelming for those who aren’t quite sure how to navigate the offerings. We hand selected five best bets for PIFA presentations that should be on everyone’s to-do list, including both free and ticketed shows for kids and adults. Take a look at the preview gallery below, and book your tickets by visiting this link.
This interactive presentation, which tells the story of thousands of migrants who have disappeared, is a collaboration between Carabosse Company and Teatro Linea de Sombra. Article 13 features a memorial made of fire, sand, water, video, and performance. The PIFA festival marks the work's American premiere. Guests will literally be surrounded by flames as they walk through the free installation (it's as big as two football fields) at Penn's Landing. April 8-10, 9 pm, free, Penn's Landing.
The Polyglot Theatre's Paper Planet is the perfect way to introduce youngsters to PIFA. The Kimmel's Hamilton Garden will be transformed into a giant forest of interactive cardboard trees, where visitors can touch, play, and explore amongst, well, paper. This will be the Philadelphia premiere of the installation, and it's appropriate for kids as young as 3 years old. April 9-23, various times, $29, Hamilton Garden.
Local knitters are encouraged to participate in this massive contemporary "yarn circus" by submitting white knitted works to the Kimmel, which may be used during a performance of Knitting Peace. The Swedish troupe, Cirkus Cirkor, will fly, dance, and pounce on a set made of 75% thick cotton yarn produced from waste product. The American premiere of this works asks if creating human dialogue through art is possible. April 8-10, various times, $30-95, Merriam Theater.
Aquacoustique will be making their Philadelphia premiere during PIFA, and they won't be performing in any theatre at all. This troupe of musicians will transform public fountains at Independence National Park, the Rodin Museum, and the Penn Museum into stages. They'll turn recycled snorkels, watering cans, and other regular objects into musical instruments and will perform in the water of each fountain. Strange, yes, but utterly memorable. April 15-17, various times, free, various locations.
Grammy-nominated musician Vijay Iyer and performer Mike Ladd have collected dozens of first-person stories from veterans of color over the last decade and weaved them into this evening of music, poetry, and visuals. The Philadelphia premiere of Holding It Down will provide free tickets to local veterans and their families (on a first-come, first-serve basis), and will also offer a workshop where local vets can literally turn their old uniforms into paper on February 20. April 22, $29-39, Perelman Theatre.
Clockwise from upper left: Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Susan Graham, E.T., Simon Rattle
The Philadelphia Orchestra truly remains the city’s only A-list organization so far as attracting world-class classical music talent to the region, and their 2016-17 season, which was announced late yesterday afternoon, solidifies their ability to present diverse and wide-ranging programming… even the entire score of E.T.
In a statement, the Orchestra’s Musical Director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, suggested that the upcoming season demonstrates the close bond that he has developed with the musicians throughout his tenure with the organization. Read more »
For years, Philadelphia actress Sarah Gliko longed to perform at the renowned Wilma Theater under the directorship of its co-founder, the peerless Blanka Zizka. “But I was off of Blanka’s radar,” says the 36-year-old Point Breeze resident. “And then she saw me in Lantern’s production of The Liar, and things changed.” That was in 2013. Since then, Gliko has been cast in the Wilma’s critically acclaimed Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq in 2014 and last year as Ophelia in the theater’s intriguing adaptation of Hamlet. Then, for her third Wilma play in as many years, she landed the lead in Tom Stoppard’s first work in a decade, The Hard Problem, which opens January 6th. “This role is a real challenge,” she admits. “There’s so much material, and it’s loaded with some very heavy and heady ideas. I have to find the passion and movement underneath these big ideas and elevate the human story that is pulsing below. It’s not going to be easy.” Through February 6th.
Toward the end of Kristin Chenoweth‘s set on Saturday evening with The Philadelphia Orchestra, she turned to the audience and said, “There’s only about 20 minutes left, and then you can go and pee. Oh, and if there are any straight men in the audience, my name is Kristin Chenoweth.”
That’s the typical kind of camp one would expect from the Broadway star who has both a Tony and an Emmy to her name. Let’s be clear: Ms. Chenoweth and The Philadelphia Orchestra are odd bedfellows at best, but how can you not adore the pint-sized soprano sipping soda from a giant cup between her big musical numbers? And how could you not love her commentary on Wawa (“You can buy a candle there. You can buy a Slurpee there. Heck, you can buy an entire five-course dinner there!”)? It worked as an evening of endearing entertainment. Read more »
Photo from Friday evening’s performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.
There was something tangible about Friday evening’s performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, featuring a host of opera notables and the large-scale Philadelphia Voices choir, that made the otherwise massive Verizon Hall feel like an intimate chamber venue. Indeed, there was all of the fanfare and glorious music that is associated with the iconic holiday work, but underneath those layers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin was able to lead his musical troupes to a notably warm and dear sound that was remarkably tender. Read more »
If you’ve never seen Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley, you don’t know what you’re in for. The Broadway stars, who met back in 2003, are better known as The Skivvies, and they’re the hottest cabaret act in New York. But they aren’t your typical singing duo: The pair literally perform their entire act in their underwear, and they do mashups of classic and pop songs with a series of guest stars who usually strip down as well. Nick (who is openly gay) and Lauren were in town back in February, and they’re returning with their new holiday show at the Kimmel’s SEI Studio. We sat down and chatted with the duo about how they started and what they love best about Philly.
G Philly: I know you guys were just in Philly a year ago, so it’s great to have you back so soon. What did you like about the city and performing at the Kimmel Center?
Lauren Molina: I just love the energy and the history of the city and the art and theater scene. But I absolutely love the food.
Nick Cearley: My favorite thing was figuring out where we were going to eat after the show!
LM: We went to that place with the guacamole…
GP: El Vez?
LM: Yes, El Vez! That place was delicious! We loved the Reading Market. We went there and got coffee and there’s so much to see. But so far as the Kimmel is concerned, the sound system in that space is fantastic. Their workers are on the top of their game and they made us feel so special. That’s the thing about Philly. It’s such a good community for the arts and they make everyone feel comfortable and taken care of.
NC: Their social media game is really good too. The other thing is that it’s really rare that a guy like [artistic director] Jay [Wahl] brought us back two times in one year. It’s really special for us. We did Valentines and now we’re doing Christmas. It’s like a holiday tradition now. Read more »
She may be from Virginia, but violinist Hilary Hahn spent her formative years in Rittenhouse Square, studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music from ages 10 to 19. And that makes her an honorary Philadelphian in our book.
Hahn, 36, has performed literally all over the world, becoming recognized as one of the modern masters of her instrument. But she’s no snoot or slave to Strauss: She’s a big proponent of contemporary “classical” music, she has a fun Twitter account with 54,000 followers that purports to be run by her violin case (@ViolinCase) — and how many classical players do you know who turn up on late-night TV?
Hahn takes a moment from her busy schedule — and it just got busier; she gave birth to her first child in August — to bring her prized 1864 Vuillaume to town to perform Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “She is a magnificent musician, an absolute master of her craft, and loved by our audiences,” says conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “We all look forward to welcoming her back.”