Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weekend arts picks

Sean Penn (center) stars as Harvey Milk in Milk.

FILM: The year-end Oscar deadline is approaching, so the studios start rolling out their prestige product, like Milk, the superb biography of openly gay San Francisco board of supervisors member Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn in an award-worthy performance and directed by Gus Van Sant in a career comeback. Opening locally on Friday. — H. Erstein

Mark Jacoby as Andrew Wyke and Jeremy Webb
as Milo Tindle in Sleuth.

THEATER: His brother Peter Shaffer wrote highbrow dramas like Amadeus and The Royal Hunt of the Sun, but Anthony Shaffer knew that audiences preferred to be held in suspense and faked out of their shoes. So he wrote a highly theatrical thriller called Sleuth, a tale of jealousy, revenge and murder to which audiences are advised to trust nothing, not even the program. Opens Thursday at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, (561) 575-2223. — H. Erstein

MIAMI CITY BALLET: The dancers look like hot-pink-and-white flamingos at play. Or given the season, maybe they're red Christmas ornaments with a feathery dusting of snow. From either view, costumes for Paul Taylor's 1982 ballet Mercuric Tidings are half the fun of this lively, poetic celebration set to Schubert. Long-honored nationalistic styles get their due with Balanchine's very formal Russian Ballet Imperial (1941), and Artistic Director Edward Villella's decidedly swinging American salute The Fox Trot: Dancing in the Dark (Act III of The Neighborhood Ballroom). The four performances are 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday, at the Kravis Center. Tickets are $19-$85; call (561) 832-7469 or visit­­­ – S. McDaniel

LAKE WORTH PLAYHOUSE: Otello opens the "Opera and Ballet in Cinema" a series that runs from Monteverdi to Shostakovich, with Handel and Humperdinck holding up the center. Don't think New York's Metropolitan Opera has the monopoly on film. Verdi's Otello is from the Salzburg Festival with an exceptional young artistic triangle: Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko and Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya as the tragic couple of Otello and Desdemona, and Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez as Iago. Leading the production is the renowned conductor and Verdi specialist Riccardo Muti. It's on screen at 7 p.m. Wednesday10 (running time is 130 minutes with one intermission; the entire screening ends at 9:30 p.m.). At 6:30 p.m., our own Giuseppe Albanese will introduce the masterpiece. It's at the Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave. Tickets are $22; call (561) 586-6410 or visit – S. McDaniel

DELRAY BEACH CHORALE: This veteran community chorus has for years offered ambitious programs of canonical works by composers such as Vaughan Williams and Poulenc. Now under a new director, Eric Keiper, the chorale opens its season with two British works — John Rutter's Gloria and Britten's A Ceremony of Carols — plus songs of the Christmas season. 3 p.m. Saturday, at First Presbyterian Church, Delray Beach. Tickets: $20, $5 for students. Call (800) 984-7282, or visit — G. Stepanich

BOCA RATON SYMPHONIA: Here's a fine group with a conductor who knows how to offer good, interesting programming, and this season looks especially interesting. Alexander Platt (right) and the Symphonia will be joined Sunday afternoon for the opening concert of the orchestra's fourth season by violinist Vadim Gluzman for the Violin Concerto of Tchaikovsky, the Prague Symphony (No. 38 in D, K. 504) of Mozart, and the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto, the engaging chamber work Igor Stravinsky wrote in 1938 for a Washington power couple who lived in the Georgetown manse that gave the piece its name. At 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Roberts Theater, St. Andrew's School, Boca Raton. Tickets: $42-$53. Call (561) 376-3848, (888) 426-5577, or visit — G. Stepanich

LYNN PHILHARMONIA: The music conservatory at Lynn University in Boca Raton has a decent symphony orchestra on hand that's pulled off persuasive readings of pieces as formidable as the Tenth Symphony of Shostakovich. This Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, conductor Albert-George Schram serves up the sunny Second Symphony of Johannes Brahms and the always popular Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, of Mozart. Violinist Carole Cole and violist Ralph Fielding, fine instrumentalists both, are the soloists. 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, Roberts Theater, St. Andrew's School, Boca Raton. Tickets: (561) 237-9000, or — G. Stepanich

LA TRAVIATA: Thursday and Saturday bring the last two performances of Florida Grand Opera's production of Giuseppe Verdi's beloved tragedy of the courtesan with TB who tries to do the right thing by her lover's family. With Ailyn Perez (Thursday) and Eglise Gutierrez (Saturday) as Violetta and Leonardo Capalbo (Thursday) and Stephen Costello (Saturday) as Alfredo. 8 pm both days, Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets: $21-$200. Call (800) 741-1010, (954) 462-0222, or visit — G. Stepanich

AND TWO AT FAU: As previously noted in earlier entries on this blog, Florida Atlantic University offers two events Sunday worth considering. At 3 p.m. in the Friedberg Auditorium, there is a concert performance of a newly realized version of Shulamis, an operetta in Yiddish by the father of Jewish theater, Avrom Goldfadn, the centenary of whose death is being marked this year. At 7:30 p.m., the university's choral ensembles present George Frideric Handel's Messiah in the University Theatre. Tickets for Shulamis, which are $25, are available only through the school's Lifelong Learning Society at 297-3185. Tickets for Messiah are $15, and can be had at the door, by calling (800) 564-9539, or visiting — G. Stepanich

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