Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend arts picks: April 15-17

Robin Wright as Mary Surratt in The Conspirator.

Film:‭ ‬Sure,‭ ‬he won an Oscar‭ ‬30‭ ‬years ago for making‭ ‬Ordinary People,‭ ‬but Robert Redford remains an underrated director.‭ ‬To see how he can bring history alive,‭ ‬involving and even a little instructive,‭ ‬check out‭ ‬The Conspirator,‭ ‬his take on the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination,‭ ‬as seen through the conspiracy trial of Mary Surratt.‭ ‬The luminous Robin Wright plays the boarding house proprietor accused of colluding with the men who brought down the president,‭ ‬and James McAvoy is impressive as Frederick Aiken,‭ ‬the novice lawyer assigned to defend her before an unsympathetic military tribunal.‭ ‬Chances are you know the story of John Wilkes Booth,‭ ‬but this film nimbly gives us‭ “‬the rest of the story.‭” ‬And if you squint,‭ ‬you can see the contemporary issue of public-versus-military justice in the case of current Guantanamo detainees.‭ ‬Opening today in area theaters.‭ – ‬Hap Erstein

Matt Loehr and the Pink Ladies in Crazy for You,‭ ‬at the Maltz.

Theater:‭ ‬Tickets are scarce,‭ ‬but well worth scrounging to catch this weekend’s final performances of‭ ‬Crazy for You at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.‭ ‬The Maltz has made some inroads with new work this season,‭ ‬but its strength is with large,‭ ‬production number-heavy,‭ ‬established shows like last season’s‭ ‬La Cage aux Folles of this Gershwin‭ “‬jukebox‭” ‬musical from‭ ‬1992.‭ ‬Both have been directed here by Mark Martino,‭ ‬who focuses on the character work beneath the razzle-dazzle and on working well with imaginative choreographers,‭ ‬like the endlessly inventive Shea Sullivan.‭ ‬Together with star Matt Loehr as song-and-dance-man wannabe Bobby Child,‭ ‬they forge a production which sets a new standard at this dynamic north county company.‭ ‬Continuing through Sunday.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬(561‭) ‬575-2223‭ ‬for tickets.‭ ‬– H.‭ ‬Erstein

The Holy Family with Two Angels‭ (‬16th century,‭ ‬Italian‭)‬,
‭ ‬from Vatican Splendors.‭

For those of you who have not seen it yet,‭ ‬these are the last two weeks that‭ ‬Vatican Splendors:‭ ‬A Journey Through Faith and Art will be shown at Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.‭ ‬The last day is officially April‭ ‬24.‭ ‬In case you are wondering,‭ ‬it is more art than sermon.‭

And by that I mean the exhibit features plenty of paintings,‭ ‬striking papal portraits,‭ ‬angels,‭ ‬Madonnas and mysterious artifacts.‭ ‬Walking through the show you will see a transition from the flat rigid figures of the Byzantine style to the more realistic and relaxed figures of the Renaissance period.‭ ‬The show is not a masked attempt from the Church to rescue and convert lost incredulous sheep.‭ ‬But that is precisely what one sort of wishes the museum had done.‭ ‬Instead,‭ ‬the show never gets serious enough.‭

Even for nonbelievers and curious ones,‭ ‬it feels too light.‭ ‬It takes a turn from somewhat serious to too commercial:‭ ‬beginning with objects relating to St.‭ ‬Peter’s tomb and ending with a gift shop.‭ ‬The video presentation welcoming visitors may remind you of being in a Disney park waiting for your turn to ride the attraction.‭

Pietà‭ (‬1499‭)‬,‭ ‬by Michelangelo Buonarotti,‭ ‬
cast made in‭ ‬1975‭ ‬from a‭ ‬1930‭ ‬original.

The museum took itself too seriously and neglected to give some of that seriousness to the actual exhibit.‭ ‬But if seeing means believing,‭ ‬then everyone who attends this show should walk out feeling pretty reinforced spiritually.‭ ‬Besides,‭ ‬it does not hurt to look at objects that have never before been shown outside the Vatican.‭ ‬The most dramatic in that category is‭ ‬San Sebastian‭ ‬Attended by Irene,‭ ‬a painting dating from the‭ ‬17th century depicting the moribund saint whose wounds are lit by candlelight.‭

But I know what you are thinking.‭ ‬What about the‭ ‬Pieta? ‬Yes,‭ ‬a life-size representation of Michelangelo's most famous creation is here‭ ‬too,‭ ‬in place of the real deal.‭ Tickets are‭ ‬$20‭; ‬$17‭ ‬for seniors and‭ ‬$13‭ ‬for children ages‭ ‬6-12.‭ ‬The museum is open daily from‭ ‬11‭ ‬a.m.‭ ‬to‭ ‬6‭ ‬p.m.,‭ ‬and until‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬on Thursday.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬1-877-282-8422‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬‭ – ‬Gretel Sarmiento

Jeremy Denk.

Music:‭ ‬Down south this weekend,‭ ‬the wonderful American pianist Jeremy Denk continues his championing of the work of Charles Ives with a performance Sunday night at the University of Miami‭’‬s Gusman Hall as part of the Sunday Afternoons of Music series,‭ ‬now in its‭ ‬30th year.‭ ‬Denk will play the first of Ives‭’‬ sonatas,‭ ‬a big work from‭ ‬1909‭ ‬that does the usual Ives quoting‭ (‬Bringing in the Sheaves‭) ‬but also evokes Debussy-style pianism and ragtime in a tonal texture replete with tone clusters and huge,‭ ‬knotty chords that give the piece a real sense of grandeur.‭ ‬Denk then follows that with the complete‭ ‬Goldberg Variations of J.S.‭ ‬Bach,‭ ‬for a feat of pianistic bravado that you‭’‬re unlikely to see repeated too often.‭ ‬Tickets for the‭ ‬7:30‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬can‭’‬t-miss recital are‭ ‬$35.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬305-271-7150‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬‭ ‬– G.‭ ‬Stepanich

Eduardo Aladrén.

Also this week,‭ ‬the Chameleon chamber music series wraps its ninth season with music for tenor,‭ ‬cello and piano.‭ ‬Spanish tenor Eduardo Aladrén will sing Berlioz‭’‬s‭ ‬La Captive,‭ ‬Bernstein‭’‬s‭ ‬Dream With Me,‭ ‬a set of four songs by the Danish composer Joseph Glaeser‭ (‬1835-1891‭)‬,‭ ‬a song‭ (‬Rheinfahrt‭) ‬by Georg Goltermann‭ (‬1824-1898‭)‬,‭ ‬two songs by Richard Strauss‭ (‬Morgen and‭ ‬Zueignung‭) ‬and a world premiere of a song called‭ ‬El Beso,‭ ‬by the Spanish composer Javier Jacinto.‭ ‬Series founder Iris van Eck,‭ ‬a cellist,‭ ‬will play Beethoven‭’‬s‭ ‬Judas Maccabeus Variations,‭ ‬the Schumann‭ ‬Fantasy Pieces‭ (‬Op.‭ ‬73‭) ‬and the Chopin‭ ‬Grand Duo‭ ‬Concertant‭ ‬(B.‭ ‬70‭)‬,‭ ‬based on themes from Meyerbeer‭’‬s opera‭ ‬Robert le Diable.‭ ‬The pianist is the fine Serbian-born Misha Dacic,‭ ‬and the concert is set for‭ ‬3‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Sunday at the Josephine Leiser Opera Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$35.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬954-761-3455‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬‭ ‬– G.‭ ‬Stepanich

Yuri Bashmet.

Next Thursday afternoon,‭ ‬at the Knight Concert Hall in Miami‭’‬s Arsht Center,‭ ‬violist Yuri Bashmet and pianist Evgeny Kissin collaborate on three great works for viola:‭ ‬The‭ ‬Arpeggione‭ ‬Sonata of Schubert,‭ ‬Brahms‭’‬ Viola‭ (‬Clarinet‭) ‬Sonata No.‭ ‬2‭ (‬in E-flat,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬120,‭ ‬No.‭ ‬2‭)‬,‭ ‬and the valedictory Viola Sonata of Dmitri Shostakovich,‭ ‬which the composer finished only‭ ‬a month before he died.‭ ‬This will be a meeting of‭ ‬two gigantic talents,‭ ‬and the audience is bound to be filled with people who want to see one or the other.‭ ‬It‭’‬s a can‭’‬t-miss recital,‭ ‬and a great way to end the Arsht‭’‬s classical season.‭ ‬The concert is set for‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Sunday in the Knight Hall.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$50-$125.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬305-949-6722‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬‭ ‬– G.‭ ‬Stepanich

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