Lucia di Lammermoor

CLASSICAL AND MORE

Appetizer

Fresh-faced Carpe Diem String Quartet plays Mendelssohn, Mozart, and The Simpsons theme song with equal dexterity. Their outside-the-box chamber music captured the attention of the Grammy board last year with nominations in four 
categories; listen for hints of folk, tango, pop, and rock in their UW debut. Nov 23, Meany Hall, 15th Ave NE & NE 40th St, UW campus, 206-543-4880; uwworldseries.org

Choice of Entree

Just a few years ago, Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak was “totally unknown,” says Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins. “She’s someone who’s burst upon the opera world like a meteor,” moving swiftly from the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera to starring roles at the Metropolitan Opera. (She stole the show as the robot doll Olympia in the Met’s 2004 production of Contes d’Hoffmann.) SO recruits the young raven-haired beauty with “dynamite” stage presence to sing Lucia, a forlorn lover driven to murder and madness, in Donizetti’s tragic three-act Lucia di Lammermoor. Kurzak makes her company debut 
opposite SO regular William Burden (The Pearl Fishers, Iphigenia in Tauris) as Edgardo. Oct 16–30, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, Seattle Center, 206-389-7676; seattleopera.org

Seattle Symphony without its veteran conductor Gerard Schwarz seems hard to imagine. Like wine without cheese. Or a Broadway musical without Nathan Lane. But the time has come for Schwarz and the symphony to part ways; this year’s opening night concert and gala will serve as a rousing overture to his 26th and final season here, before the music director steps down and 36-year-old French conductor Ludovic Morlot assumes leadership in 2011. The evening’s bill features two world premieres—the orchestral version of Schwarz’s original composition, The Human Spirit, and a cello concerto by resident composer Samuel Jones, played by Schwarz’s son, Julian Schwarz—in addition to performances by the Northwest Boychoir, Seattle Girls’ Choir, and Vocalpoint! Seattle. It also seems 
appropriate that the symphony will play Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, with its darker 
undertones and melancholic line: “All singing must end now.” Sept 11, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 206-215-4834; seattlesymphony.org

Dessert

Watch Inspector Clouseau bumble to that big band beat during Jazz Goes to the Movies, when Seattle Repertory Jazz 
Orchestra plays classic numbers featured in The Pink Panther, Mission: Impossible, and more as film excerpts screen. Oct 30, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St; Nov 7, Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, 206-523-6159; srjo.org

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DANCE

PNB’s All (Twyla) Tharp program.

Appetizer

Broadway’s ballroom dance-off Burn the Floor has turned grizzled critics into Paris Hilton, reducing reviews to a simple phrase: “That’s hot.” Lithe young dancers samba, rumba, waltz, and jive in a high-energy two-hour performance. Sept 14–19, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 877-784-4849; stgpresents.org

Soup or Salad

For the last 30 years, choreographer Pat Graney has been one of Seattle’s greatest modern dance ambassadors, a Guggenheim fellow whose art-inspired performances moved pros and prison inmates alike. She revives three trademark Pat Graney Company pieces—Faith (1991), Sleep (1995), and Tattoo (2001)—at On the Boards. Oct 21–24, On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 
206-217-9888; ontheboards.org

Entree

When the Jerome Robbins–Philip Glass composition Glass Pieces debuted at Lincoln Center in 1983, it was as if they had synthesized the times: the renewed energy of Wall Street, the increasing obsession with computers, Atari, spandex. Ballet master Robbins set more than 40 New York City Ballet dancers in motion—precise, geometric movements—against a graph-paper backdrop. They wore a rainbow variety of the aforementioned spandex. Selections from Glass’s experimental six-movement Glassworks juxtaposed Robbins’s classical technique. It was a “brave new world” for ballet, said a New York Times review—and for Robbins.

“Jerome Robbins was more comfortable with Chopin and showtunes for his musical inspiration than Philip Glass, which is why I think Glass Pieces is so interesting,” says Peter Boal, a former principal with NYCB and current artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. “He addresses pedestrian movement, telling the dancers to walk like they would through Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. He plays with the cool minimalism [of the Glass music] to great effect… To me this is Robbins as a risk-taker, shunning the formula.”

That brave new world lives on at McCaw Hall, with Glass Pieces making its PNB debut during Director’s Choice—a program that also includes the return of sexy Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze (Six Dances), both set to Mozart, and Jardí Tancat, choreographed by Nacho Duato to Catalonian folk songs. Sept 24–Oct 3, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, Seattle Center, 206-441-2424; pnb.org

Dessert

We’re so starved for Spanish guitar, flowing crimson skirts, and fiery foot-stomping, last year’s flamenco performance by Spain’s Fundación Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas sold out in days. Luckily, they return for three nights with famed choreographer José Barrios. Nov 5–7, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 206-215-4747; seattlesymphony.org/benaroya

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BOOKS, TALKS, AND FILM 

Waiting for “Superman”

Appetizer

As his literary alter ego Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler has made a fortune out of the misfortune of his characters. The real Handler isn’t much sunnier—but he does a deliciously deadpan stage show with the occasional accordion solo. He has a new Snicket series in the works for 2012. Nov 9, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 206-621-2230; lectures.org

 

Soup or Salad

It’s the rare writer who can blend memoir and The Jungle. But Jonathan Safran Foer, author of the novel Everything Is 
Illuminated, pulls it off in his investigation of factory farming, Eating Animals. On the brink of parenthood, Foer confronts his own selective vegetarianism, offers a modest proposal (“Let them eat dog!”), and sneaks into a turkey farm looking for answers. Sept 20, Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 206-652-4255; townhallseattle.org


Entree

Director Davis Guggenheim is on a lifelong crusade: to make sense of America’s “crappy” public education system. “Our school system is broken for too many kids,” he said during a recent visit to Seattle. “It’s morally unacceptable and 
economically unsustainable. Our economy’s going to fail because of it.” That our schools are struggling isn’t quite news, but neither was global warming when Guggenheim teamed with Captain Planet Al Gore to make their Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Guggenheim returns to the soap box with Waiting for “Superman”, a dramatic telling of the rise and fall of 
America’s public schools, with heartbreaking narratives of families from East LA to Washington DC banking on lotteries to get their children into better programs. For this project, Guggenheim once again has the ear of a high-profile volunteer: Mr. Microsoft Bill Gates, a champion of education reform who’s both in the film and an active promoter of it. “[It helped] to hear his point of view about how our schools have lost their competitiveness, because they’re not providing enough of a talented workforce." Waiting for “Superman” is slated to open in theaters this fall.

Dessert

From Octomom to the Oedipal complex, we’re fascinated with a mother’s love…and a mother’s neuroses. As part of Richard Hugo House’s Literary Series, comedian Lauren Weedman, author Stacey Levine, cartoonist David Lasky, and country singer Zoe Muth discuss whether or not Mother Knows Best. Nov 19, Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 206-322-7030; hugohouse.org

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CONCERTS 

The Flaming Lips

Appetizer

Modeselektor’s electronic beats create a hip-hop groove that has the likes of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke scratching to mix with them. After unleashing a techno storm on dance floors from Berlin to Mexico, the duo travels to Capitol Hill for the Decibel International Festival of Electronic Music, Visual Art, and New Media. Sept 23–26, visit website for venues, dbfestival.com

Soup or Salad

By the time indie kids the XX play the Paramount, they could be the winners of the coveted Mercury Prize—top honors for 
a new UK band. Not that we think they’ll care. It’s not very indie to care. They’ll just keep on playing hushed, ghostly tunes like “Crystalised.” Sept 25, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 877-784-4849; stgpresents.org

Entree

When he’s not busy being (in) “Awesome,” the Seattle art band that can do no wrong, John Osebold becomes the guitar-slinging Jose Bold, with “Awesome” bandmate Kirk Anderson often joining on drums. They plan to counteract all that December holiday programming with Mountain, a decidedly yuletide-free performance incorporating film, live music, and theater to tell a yarn about a fictional mountain.

By piecing together footage culled from the open-source Prelinger Archives, 
Osebold has created an original black-and-white flick about the “demise and deterioration” of a mount, opening with 
a circa 1950s shot of hikers scaling Rainier. But before you say “poor Rainier,” remember: These guys are typically pretty funny. Not depressing. Some of the “Awesome” mates met 
doing sketch comedy. They’ll provide the narrative and score to the film live each night, a sort of fireside tale performed by two ridiculously talented frontiersmen. Dec 2 & 3, ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 206-292-7676; acttheatre.org

Dessert

After 27 years of psychedelic rock, the Flaming Lips still pull out all the stops: smoke, glitter, confetti, front man Wayne Coyne crowd surfing inside a giant inflatable “hamster ball.” The band’s 2009 album Embryonic is a critical darling, but we’re still 
hoping to hear “Do You Realize??”. Sept 27, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 877-784-4849; stgpresents.org

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VISUAL ART

From the Pablo Picasso masterpieces exhibit.

Appetizer

For 20 years, photographer Amy Blakemore has used low-tech cameras and rigorous composition to give meaning to the banal—hair blowing in the wind, a woman with a watering can. She shows intimate new works at James Harris Gallery, with a complementary retrospective at Seattle Art Museum. Sept 1–Oct 16, James Harris Gallery, 312 Second Ave S, 206-903-6220, jamesharrisgallery.com; Sept 4–Feb 13, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 206-344-5275, seattleartmuseum.org

Soup or Salad

It’s no secret that Seattle has a healthy steampunk scene (the Steamcon convention returns November 19–21), but the Victorian-era, brass-tinged aesthetic travels east with a new collaboration at Kirkland Arts Center, Steambot. Five artists take inspiration from Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison in this exhibit on technology, past and present. Oct 15–Dec 4, Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St, Kirkland, 425-822-7161; kirklandartscenter.org

Entree

More than 150 Pablo Picasso masterpieces are on the move, slinking from Helsinki to the Pushkin museum in Moscow to St. Petersburg. And like Sarah Palin calling to her neighbors in Russia, we can practically see his paintings on the horizon, crossing the 
Bering Strait bound for Seattle Art Museum. Starting October 8, a collection of Picasso works spanning the artist’s entire career (1900–1973) will be on display, encompassing one of the most impressive international exhibits SAM has undertaken since King Tut in 1978.

Walking through the exhibit will be like paging through a fully illustrated biography on the Spaniard. There’s La Celestina (1904) from Picasso’s introspective Blue Period, completed in the shadow of a close friend’s suicide; The Weeping Woman (1937), depicting longtime lover Dora Maar who Picasso said was always in tears; self-portrait The Matador (1970); plus a range of sculptures, photographs, and prints. The pieces are on loan from the Musée National Picasso in Paris—which houses Picasso’s personal collection and the largest repository of his work—as the seventeenth-century mansion undergoes an expansion and other renovations through 2012. Though the collection will ramble on in January, it will likely only make two or three stops in the U.S., and Seattle is the first. Talk about a draw. Oct 8–Jan 17, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 206-344-5275; seattleartmuseum.org

Dessert

Call us…surprised that the Frye Art Museum, best known for its collection of nineteenth-century oil paintings, plans to 
celebrate six years of bloody, boisterous performance art by Seattle-based collective Implied Violence. Props, costumes, and Cremaster-tinged images from past performances will be on display in Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why. Oct 9–Jan 2, Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 206-622-9250; fryemuseum.org

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THEATER

God of Carnage

Appetizer

Haven’t met Eric Lane Barnes, the man behind the sassy all-male comedy chorus Captain Smartypants? Now’s the time to get acquainted as he debuts his semiautobiographical play Rapture of the Deep, about growing up in Appalachia in 
a Pentecostal household, at Balagan Theatre in the venue’s final production. Sept 9–25, Balagan Theatre, 1117 E Pike St, 800-838-3006; balagantheatre.org

Soup or Salad

The year’s health care havoc sets a timely backdrop to Intiman’s staging of Molière’s 1666 play A Doctor in Spite of Himself, a spirited physical comedy starring Daniel Breaker (Donkey in Broadway’s Shrek ). “Molière loved to make fun of doctors,” says director Christopher Bayes who, with Steven Epp, adapted the work. We wonder what the Frenchman would have thought of “death panels.” Sept 3–Oct 10, Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, Seattle Center, 206-269-1900; intiman.org

Entree

When two well-to-do couples meet to discuss a playground dustup between their children in God of Carnage, it takes about 30 minutes before their civility cracks. And one of them vomits. “That’s our one big special effect in God of Carnage,” says Bellevue-born director Wilson Milam over the phone. He’ll take the reins of the Tony-winning play in its Seattle Rep production. “When Annette vomits after eating all that pastry. That’ll be fun to play with.”

Compared to Milam’s latest gig directing Lieutenant of Inishmore in Los Angeles—with its eight gallons of fake blood splattered per night— God of Carnage practically seems genteel. Don’t be fooled. Yasmina Reza’s 90-minute play is full of verbal sparring and cellphone destruction; suit jackets are abandoned, alliances reformed over rum. The action never leaves the living room, so the pressure’s on the actors playing the fractured foursome: lawyer Alan and his wife, “wealth manager” Annette; wholesaler Michael and his writer wife, Veronica. Thankfully, ever since this play debuted in London in 2008, it’s been the beneficiary of a standout cast, and Seattle’s production—the first outside of New York or London—is no exception. Milam speaks enthusiastically about working with Denis Arndt (“a legend”), Bhama Roget, and real-life married couple Hans Altwies and Amy Thone, who’ll bring that extra dose of authenticity to their outbursts. You can practically hear Milam grinning. “It’s a lively evening.” Oct 1–24, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 
Seattle Center, 206-443-2222; seattlerep.org

Dessert

Actor Rainn Wilson got an early start perfecting Dwight Schrute—a nerdy cube dweller for NBC’s The Office—at Shorecrest High, where he was in computer club and chess club. He shows his hometown some love in a onetime, Seattle-only comedy show with surprise Office costars as guests. Oct 23, Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 877-784-4849; stgpresents.org

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