Six Performances to See This Week

Our recommendations include Lang Lang, secret gardens, and Cirque du Soliel.

Pennsylvania Ballet's "A Program of Firsts"

Pennsylvania Ballet’s “A Program of Firsts”

A Program of Firsts — Pennsylvania Ballet @ The Academy of Music | May 12th–15th
The company performs its inaugural production of George Balanchine’s Serenade, the first ballet the celebrated choreographer created in the United States. Danced to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48, the ballet entwines unexpected events, like students falling or arriving late, into the choreography. Continuing the theme of firsts, nationally renowned choreographer-in-residence Mathew Neenan, cofounder of Ballet X, presents a world premiere for the company. Rounding out the program, Liam Scarlett showcases a company and North American premiere of Asphodel Meadows, comprising three compelling pas de deuxs set to the compositions of Poulenc.

Yannick and Lang Lang @ Verizon Hall | May 12th–14th
The Curtis-trained pianist plays the pieces of Sergei Rachmaninoff, who famously recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Lang Lang injects a youthful spirit into the Romantic-period scores.

La Verità @ The Merriam Theatre | May 13th-14th 
Inspired by the imagination of Salvatore Dalí, circus moves and contemporary acrobatics tell a tale of a romance and dreamscapes. An original hand-painted backdrop by Dalí sets the scene of a peculiar poem in which rhinos juggle and wine corks fall from the sky. The trippy tribute is choreographed by Cirque du Soliel director Daniele Finzi Pasca.

The Secret Garden @ The Arden | Opens May 12th
The Tony Award–winning musical by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon adapts the classical English novel. After the death of her parents, ten-year-old Mary Lennox moves into the dismal Misselthwaite Manor with her aloof Uncle Archibald. Mary grows enchanted by the bleak but beautiful mansion, finding serenity in a secluded garden haunted with sprits and secrets of the past.

East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) @ Perelman Theatre | May 13th
The critically acclaimed collective has been hailed by the New Yorker as an “exciting, conductor-less band of strings.” Composed of 17 emerging soloists and chamber musicians from a young generation, the group gathers for select periods each year to play for audiences of all demographics, maintaining a mission that states “the best musical experience can speak to all audiences regardless of age or socioeconomic background and performs accordingly across a wide range of venues.”

 Kendrah Butler and Shamika Byrd @ Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio | May 14th
With Butler commanding the keys and Byrd vitalizing the vocals, these two artists from the Kimmel’s jazz residency create a dynamic duo of blues. Commemorating such composers as Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington, the pair present a work in progress centering on the the presence of jazz and faith in the African-American experience.