Florida Grand Opera picks works by Mozart, Puccini, Menotti and Bizet for 2014-2015

03/30/2014 9:38 AM

03/30/2014 9:40 AM

Florida Grand Opera will serve up Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Giacomo Puccini favorites in its 2014-15 season alongside an exotic French opera and the local premiere of an acclaimed American work.

“I am pleased to present a season that will elucidate a lesser-known masterpiece, bring the drama of a great 20th century work to our stage, and present timeless classics in a new way,” says Susan T. Danis, FGO’s general director.

Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul will be heard in its South Florida premiere, opening May 9, 2015. Written in 1950 at the height of the Cold War, the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera concerns a family of dissidents who become entangled in bureaucratic red tape as they try to escape an authoritarian government.

Danis says she thinks the scenario of a police state bureaucracy and its tragic effect on a family “will resonate with many different communities of South Florida.” Mounting Menotti's opera, she adds, “continues our commitment to the presentation of 20th- and 21st-century works.”

The season will open Nov. 15 with Puccini’s beloved tear-jerker, Madama Butterfly. Mozart’s mate-swapping comedy, Cosi fan tutte, will follow, starting Jan. 24. The acclaimed Sarasota Opera production of Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, with its love triangle set in a sea village in Ceylon, will be presented beginning Feb. 28.

The Tristan und Isolde announced for this season and then pushed to next season has now been put off indefinitely, says Danis, due to the expense involved.

“Unfortunately we are not able to present Tristan and Isolde this year, “ she said. “The Wagnerians and I are truly disappointed. But at this time FGO [does not have] the resources to afford the proper orchestra time and great singers.”

Danis says she is still hoping to present Richard Wagner’s epic love story in a future season with the aid of financial support from a “rabid Wagnerian in South Florida to help us make it happen.”

Subscriptions are currently on sale. The price range at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is $36-$752, at Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center $48-$450. Call 800-741-1010 or visit www.fgo.org.

Arsht summer show

Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts will continue its tradition of immersive summer spectacles with H2OMBRE, a water-themed production by De La Guarda founding members Pichón Baldinu and Gabriella Baldini. The new show by the creators of the hit Villa Villa will feature dance by Jersey Boys choreographer Sergio Trujillo, an electronic score by Gaby Kerpel and more than 6,000 gallons of water utilized in the production design.

Scott Shiller, the Arsht’s executive vice president, saw a short version of H2OMBRE in Mexico City and decided Miami should be the launching point for a full-length show that all involved hope will go on to tour the United States and many other countries.

H2OMBRE is the tale of a visual artist who closes his eyes and falls asleep. We go along with him as he goes through a strange world and meets different characters. At the end, he has created his masterpiece using all those characters,” Shiller says.

Entering through the loading dock of the center’s Ziff Ballet Opera House, theatergoers will sit or stand onstage as the action unfolds above and around them. Shiller says people can get involved — “you could get drenched” — or hang back and watch, and that a DJ will keep the action going after the show is over.

H2OMBRE previews July 17, opens July 18 and runs through Aug. 31 at the Arsht, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, with additional shows at 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. each Saturday. Tickets are $50-$85, with VIP table packages priced at $125. Call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.

Dave’s back

Laugh for a good cause at “An Evening with Dave Barry” at 5:30 p.m. April 8 at the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist will talk about and sign his latest book, You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit BrowardBulldog.org, an independent news organization.

Tickets range in price from $25 for presale general admission to $90 for a cocktail reception with Barry and upfront seating in the auditorium at the museum, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd. Visit www.browardbulldog.org for information.

Mendez installation

Ana Mendez, known for her challenging dance/performance pieces and intense presence as a performer with Rose Herrera Dance Theater, is presenting her first sculpture/installation work. In The Fortress, Mendez creates an installation that is a gathering place for an imaginary future society where people reintegrate themselves with nature.

The work opens Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bas Fisher Invitational, an artist-run space. The space will also present Mendez in a site-specific performance April 12 as part of a Weird Miami bus tour, which are creative explorations of Miami. The Fortress runs through May 31 at Bas Fisher, 100 NE 11th St., Miami. For more information, visit www.basfisherinvitational.com.

Mad Cat laughs

Miami’s Mad Cat Theatre Company is mounting a brand-new show, Gerald Ford Superfreak, for a one-night-only performance at the South Beach Comedy Festival. Written by founder Paul Tei and company members Jessica Farr and Theo Reyna, the show features Ricky Waugh as the former president along with Sofia Citarella, Carey Brianna Hart, Noah Levine and Farr.

The comedy goes on at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Backstage@The Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets are $30-$60 plus service fees. Call 305-673-7300 or visit www.madcattheatre.org or www.southbeachcomedyfestival.com for information.

Dranoff jazz

The Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation will premiere a commissioned jazz work, Fantasía de Tres Mundos for 2 pianos (Three Worlds Fantasia) by Martin Bejerano, at its April 19 Jazz Squared concert by married pianists Saar Ahuvia and Stephanie Ho. Head of the jazz piano program at the University of Miami, Bejerano pays tribute to his roots Afro-Cuban music, American jazz and European classical music in the piece, which was commissioned by the Dranoff and Bacardi U.S.A.

Also on the bill are pieces by George Gershwin, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans and Aaron Copland. Jazz Squared happens at 8 p.m. at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay. Tcikets are $30 ($5 students). Call 305-572-9900 or visit www.dranoff2piano.org or www.smdcac.org.

Visual arts

• Submissions for Locust Projects’ fifth annual LAB (Locust Art Builders) exhibition are due on Friday. The open call is for South Florida high school students to work with established contemporary artists June 23-July 11, then mount a public exhibition. Artists currently enrolled in MFA studio art programs at universities in Florida may also apply for a summer solo or collaborative exhibition in the Project Room. Call 305-576-8570 or visit locustprojects.org.
•  Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art opens Wednesday at the Frost Art Museum with a lecture by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The opening begins with a reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with music, cocktails and food, and guided tours will follow from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Also at the Frost, Discover the new Kenan-Flagler Family Discovery Gallery during family day Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The event features art projects related to current exhibitions, a variety of media from new-age technologies, face painting and performances by the Roxy Theater Group. The Frost is on the Florida International University campus, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami. Call 305-348-2890 or visit www.thefrost.fiu.edu.

• Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale invites students in grades 1 to 12 to participate in the 2014 scholarship competition for its AutoNation Academy of Art + Design’s Creative Summer Art Academy. The competition is April 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Academy studios, 4 W. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Pre-registration is required. Call 954-262-0239 or visit www.moafl.org/academy.
• The Los Angeles-based nonprofit Machine Project will present a video made in response to the Miami performances and video documentation of three artists-in-residence at Cannonball in 2013. The free screening and discussion happens at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Call 305-375-3000 or visit www.pamm.org.

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