Because the New Orleans Ballet Association’s season is themed “Dance Visionaries,” LINES Ballet is the perfect addition to the repertoire. Visiting from San Francisco, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet will perform at the NOCCA Institute on Jan. 21 and 22. King has made a name for himself in the performing arts world for his sophisticated style that combines Eastern and Western classic forms of dance, resulting in an entirely unique performance. This program includes “Scheherazade,” the legend of the Arabian Nights, re-imagined by King with music from Rimsky-Korsakov and arranged for Eastern musical instruments. LINES Ballet will be sure to inspire the audience with its dazzling, multi-cultural performance. Information, www.nobadance.com.
Fishing for Forbidden Romance
George Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers is another presentation of the New Orleans Opera Association’s 2010-’11 season. The three-act opera is performed in French and takes place on the exotic seashore of Ceylon. The production begins as a group of fishermen choose a new leader named Zurga (Liam Bonner). As Nadir (William Burden), a young fisherman, arrives, the duo (an 1800s version of what we would now call “frenemies”) discuss their former rivalry over Leila (Lisette Oroposa), a beautiful priestess. They recall that their friendship survived only because they both swore never to see her again.
Coincidentally, a veiled – and therefore disguised – Leila shows up, accompanied by a priest, Nourabad (Kenneth Weber), though this time her purpose isn’t to cause competition amongst men but rather to ward off evil spirits and pray for the fishermen at sea.
Zurga, unaware of the veiled woman’s true identity, makes her promise to remain veiled and chaste; if she does so, she will be rewarded with the finest pearl found; if not, she will die. Nadir, in the meantime, recognizes her, and a secret romance begins. The Pearl Fishers is rife with jealousy, betrayal and romance. Its frenzied, romantic atmosphere is enhanced by the addition of dancers from the New Orleans Ballet Theater. The Pearl Fishers will be performed on Jan. 28 and 30 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts.
Information, 529-2278, www.neworleansopera.org.
Toil and Trouble
One of William Shakespeare’s most famously tragic plays, Macbeth, will be performed at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall on Jan. 14. The plot centers around Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman who is convinced by his wife to murder King Duncan so that they may secure the throne; what ensues is a fascinating mixture of mayhem, guilt and ghosts. Revealing the darkest sides of humanity, the production features some of New Orleans’ finest actors. The play is sponsored by the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane; it was performed over the summer but was so popular that the company has given us another chance to witness its magic – black magic, that is.
Information, 865-5105, neworleansshakespeare.tulane.edu.
Prospect 1.5 New Orleans is in the throes of its 15-week program that started in November of 2010. This month offers a wealth of events, including exhibitions and symposiums that highlight the importance of the contemporary art scene in the Crescent City. In 12 locations, nearly 50 artists present works displaying a wide range of creativity and dedication to their fields – whether painting, drawing, sculpture or other type of visual media. It is noteworthy that a generation of young artists who have adopted New Orleans as their hometown have helped provide fresh talent and creativity.
Highlights include an opening reception on Jan. 8 at GoodChildren Gallery in the new St. Claude Arts District; “Everyday Hybrid” at Delgado Community College, which runs through Jan. 27, featuring a new generation of artists who explore the concept of façades; and “A Second of Your Time,” which runs until Jan.7 at NOCCA, where five artists in photography and video consider the passage of time in their work, incorporating ideas about duration and editing. Another gem is the exhibit “Resounding” at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Jan. 4-Feb. 1.
Of course, there are dozens of other events, so whether you are looking to just dart into a gallery or spend a few days pondering various art forms, Prospect 1.5 has something for everyone.
Twelfth Night Celebration
The Phunny Phorty Phellows, the group of masked merrymakers who parade on Jan. 6 on the Uptown streetcar route, are a rich and important part of Carnival history. In the 1800s they paraded with the purpose of satire, and today their costumes reflect the same comedic appeal. After a decades-long hiatus, the group revived itself in 1981, and since then they have been serving as the welcome wagon of the Carnival season ever since.
Look for them starting at 7 p.m. along the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar route from the Willow Street car barn and back. This year marks the second year since Hurricane Katrina that they’ve been able to ring in the season from their traditional route, so it’s an extra reason to celebrate – along with the lengthy Carnival season; Mardi Gras isn’t until March 8, so we’re in for quite a ride this year, and the Phellows take that to heart.