Classical music returns to Milwaukee in force
Been missing the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra? Miss no more; the MSO opens its 2011-12 season Friday, all-orchestra and all-Beethoven: The First Symphony, the Grosse Fugue, Opus 133, and the Fifth Symphony, with music director Edo de Waart conducting. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., as well as a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $22; for more information or to buy call the box office at (414) 291-7605 or visit the MSO website.
The Fine Arts Quartet returns this week too, performing a concert Sept. 25, with guest cellist Desmond Hoebig. Hoebig, violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico and violist Nicolò Eugelmi will play Haydn’s String Quartet in D major and classic film composer Bernard Herrmann’s Echoes for String Quartet. Guest pianist Menahem Pressler will make five for Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A major. All Fine Arts Quartet concerts this year are free to the public, in commemoration of the Quartet’s 65th anniversary. Tickets are still required for the 3 p.m. concert, though, so call the box office at (414) 229-4308 to ensure you have a seat at the freshly refurbished Zelazo Center, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd., on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.
Frank Almond will open his eighth Frankly Music series with The Power of Three at the Wisconsin Conservatory of music, 1584 N. Prospect Ave., at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 and 27. Andrew Armstrong (piano), Robert deMaine (cello) and Almond (violin) will perform trios by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Johannes Brahms and an extremely early work by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Tickets range from $10 to $39 at the Frankly Music website.
This Sunday, the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center hosts the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a group of jazz musicians who perform in the classic New Orleans style. That means lots of traditional tunes, 4-to-the-bar rhythms, and soulful solos from the band’s core seven members. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25. Tickets are $25 to $35; visit the online box office or call (414) 766-5049.
Acclaimed pianist Frank Glazer returns to the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music for the second year in a row this Sunday (Sept. 25), for yet another recital in a career that has spanned the majority of his 96 years. Glazer, who grew up on Milwaukee’s North Side, has taught at Bates College in Maine for over 30 years. He will play compositions by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel and Liszt. The concert begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25; call (414) 276-5760.
Everybody loves a ukulele. And this weekend, a lot of them to love will assemble at the Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove for the 3rd annual Milwaukee Ukulele Fest. The festival opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, with workshops throughout the day. The evening concert begins at 7 p.m., with a pre-concert event at 5 p.m. The show features artists who play in a variety of styles, including swing, blues, American roots and Hawaiian. Festival founder and director Lil Rev is also the headliner. An all-day pass is $65, workshop tickets are $45, and the evening concert alone is $20. Call (262) 782-4430 or visit the Sunset website.
Rosanne Cash, daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, will be stop by the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Saturday (Sept. 24). She is on tour for her new album, The List, a collection pulled from a list of essential country songs her father gave her as a teenager. The record won Album of the Year at the 2010 Americana Music Honors and Awards. It is also the most successful album of Cash’s 30-year career. The concert begins Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.. Tickets are $31-$61 online and at (262) 781-9520.
At the end of a Keyboard Conversations concert, you’re enlightened. Jeffery Seigel will give the first of four Keyboard Conversations at Wisconsin Lutheran College at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24. Siegel makes a point of talking to his audience, to illuminate each piece he performs. This program focuses on Franz Liszt, so this is you’re chance to get a bead on this Lisztomania thing everyone is talking about (or was, in Europe 165 years ago). The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $34, $31 for seniors and donors, and $12 for students here and at (414) 443-8802.
In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of commemoration of 9/11. It’s tempting to write off Omnium Gatherum, Windfall Theatre’s season opener, as just another example amongst many. That would be a mistake. The play, which uses the conceit of six diverse guests who meet at a dinner party, offers a thought-provoking reflection on the attacks that still resonates today — perhaps even more so than when it premiered in 2003. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, along with a pay-what-you-can show Oct. 3 and an extra Thursday show Oct. 6. All shows start at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20. For reservations call (414) 332-3963.
Hitler’s tough to make funny, but Carte Blanche Theatre will give it a shot with Mein Kampf. The dark farce depicts Hitler as a struggling art student taught manners and grooming by an impoverished Jewish intellectual. It sounds like a hard sell, but director and Carte Blanche founder Jimmy Dragolovich seems confident he can pull it off. The show runs Sept. 29 to Oct. 9, with all shows at 8 p.m. except for 6 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $20 online.
It takes two to tango, but when those two are a formidable but aging widow and an acidic but lonely gay dance instructor, the tango is bound to be tempestuous. That’s the setup of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the latest show at Soulstice Theatre. The play runs Sept. 23 through Oct. 8, with all shows at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $18 general admission, $16 for students and seniors and $10 for children under 10 at the Soulstice website.
Also this weekend, Marquette’s Department of Performing Arts opens Little Shop of Horrors, the cult classic tale of a flower shop employee who discovers a plant that brings him overnight success. The twist: The plant has a taste for blood. The show runs Sept. 29 to Oct. 9 at the Helfaer Theatre, with all performances at 7:30 p.m., except 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees and a special family performance Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20, $16 for seniors, alumni and Marquette employees, and $10 for students; call (414) 288-7504 or visit the Helfaer box office.
The Milwaukee Film Festival opens Thursday, Sept. 22 and runs through Oct. 2. The festival brings dozens of films to the city, all screened at the Oriental Theatre, Downer Theatre, Ridge Cinema, and/or the North Shore Cinema. The full roster is too plentiful to list here; a more detailed TCD preview is right here. But the festival’s centerpieces include the quirky comedy Natural Selection; Like Crazy, a drama about the maddening passion of first love; the French burlesque dramedy On Tour; and the recently announced Coriolanus, based on the Shakespeare play and starring Ralph Fiennes. For more detailed listings and information, visit the festival’s website, and keep an eye on TCD in the coming weeks for further coverage. Tickets are $10, $9 for seniors and students, $8 for members, and $6 for children 12 and under. Go to the online box office, call (414) 727-8468 or visit any of the four theaters.
Your Mother Dances, founded and fronted by choreographer Elizabeth Johnson, is to be Stripped Roundly this weekend. The program comprises Johnson’s The Grey Side and Impulsive Minors, and Deflating Debussy, by associate artistic director Luc Vanier. Johnson is the first to call this a bare-bones affair, with costuming and lighting cut essentials, due to “personal and political necessity.” Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, through Tuesday, Sept. 27, with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. $10 donation at the door only. For more information, visit their website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This weekend, the Latino Arts Center officially opens Efluvios, an exhibition by Cuban-born artist Carlos Estévez, with a reception during the 7th annual Noche de Gala. Described as “intricate universes,” his paintings, prints and sculptures have a cosmic depth. The exhibition opened Sept. 16; it runs through Oct. 14. For more information or gallery hours, visit the center’s website.
APT: Of Mice and Men, through Oct. 1
Fireside Theater: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, through Oct. 23
American Players Theater: The Cure at Troy, through Sept. 25
Racine Theater Guild: Comic Potential, through Sept. 25