Our picks of this month's top events
A Worldly Dance
The New Orleans Ballet Association presents Shen Wei Dance Arts on Jan. 21 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Shen Wei, one of the creators of the Opening Ceremonies in 2008’s Beijing Olympics, leads a talented troupe that incorporates Eastern and Western influences, philosophy, traditional and contemporary art and stunning choreography, resulting in a sensational experience.
On Jan. 6, Carnival officially begins, heralded by the Phunny Phorty Phellows, a group of masked merrymakers who take to the streetcar Uptown at 7 p.m., bringing joy and kicking off a season of revelry for themselves and spectators along the route. The whimsical organization has been around for decades and brings a legendary sense of celebration to the beginning of our favorite season.
On Tour with the Nelsons
Writer, poet, actor, activist and overall legendary country artist Willie Nelson comes to House of Blues on Jan. 12. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nelson is famed for his rich vocals and his zesty personality. The Texas native is renowned worldwide and holds a special place in American music. Joining him on tour will be Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, a California-based rock ’n’ roll group that is fronted by Nelson’s son.
The Grand Duchess at Loyola
Carol Rausch is a luminary in the operatic community of New Orleans, known for her work with the New Orleans Opera Association as chorus director, music coordinator and education director and for her involvement in other musical projects. She is the music director of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, which will be performed at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall on Jan. 27 and 29. Duchess is a comic production about the fictional principality of Gerolstein that is ruled by an endearing but slightly irrational duchess who is in love with a young, handsome, air-headed soldier.
What was the best part of working on this opera? One of my favorite things about choosing Grand Duchess is that the title role is written for a mezzo-soprano. We’re able to showcase two very fine mezzos, meaning they’re double-cast, as are most of the roles – big and small – in our production. I adore working with stage director/choreographer Bill Fabris, who had such a huge success with our Pirates of Penzance in 2010. He’s had a lot of experience with operetta and musical theater, and he can get our crowd to move.
What can you tell us about the cast? They range in age from freshmen to graduate students, and they bring fantastic youthful energy to the stage. Many cast members were in Susannah last year, an American opera with dark and haunting social themes, which I felt was important to produce. This season, with Grand Duchess, we’re definitely laughing a whole lot more.
What do you hope the audience gets from it?
I just want them to come and have a good time – this is less than a month before Mardi Gras, so we’ll help you get in the Carnival frame of mind!
Through November 2012. “The Louisiana Photographs of Robert Tebbs;” The Presbytere. Information, crt.la.gov.
Through Jan. 22. “Celebrating NOMA’s Centennial”; New Orleans Museum of Art. Information, noma.org.
Through Jan. 29. Prospect.2 Biennial; venues citywide. Information, ProspectNewOrleans.org.
Jan. 1. New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers; Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Information, NewOrleansSaints.com.
Jan. 3. 78th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl; Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Information, AllstateSugarBowl.org.
Jan. 5. Kathy Griffin live; Mahalia Jackson Theater. Information, MahaliaJacksonTheater.com.
Jan. 6. “Live and Let Die: A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney” by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; Mahalia Jackson Theater. Information, LPOMusic.com.
Jan. 9. Allstate BCS National Championship; Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Information, AllstateSugarBowl.org.
Jan. 17. One Eyed Jacks and SimplePlay present STRFKR with Painted Palms plus Alexico; One Eyed Jacks. Information, OneEyedJacks.net.
Jan. 19. Old 97’s + Those Darlins; Tipitina’s Uptown. Information, Tipitinas.com.
Jan. 20. Harlem Globetrotters; New Orleans Arena. Information, NewOrleansArena.com.
Jan. 26. Jeff Dunham; New Orleans Arena. Information, JeffDunham.com.
Jan. 26. The Kills plus JEFF the Brotherhood plus Hunters; House of Blues. Information, HouseofBlues.com.
Jan. 31-Feb. 5. The Blue Man Group; Mahalia Jackson Theater. Information, BlueMan.com.