Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Outstanding Arts Performances in Sarasota

When I was doing research for my summer vacation, I was looking at all the arts and culture offerings in the Berkshires, a place I love to go to because the arts scene reminds me so much of Sarasota and it seems like when I am on vacation, it's the only time I go to arts performances.  As I was thinking about it, I thought, what the heck am I doing spending three or four thousand dollars to travel to Lenox for a week or so and putting money into their arts economy, when I don't even take enough time to patronize the local arts offerings in my own backyard.  After that revelation, I made a real effort to do at home, what I usually save for vacation.  In the last month or so, this is what I attended:

1.  The Joffrey Ballet at the Van Wezel - I love to go to Jacob's Pillow in the Berkshires and the Joffrey performs there almost every summer.  How crazy of me to go all the way to Massachusetts, when I can see them right here at home!  Their repertoire is so fascinating and inventive.

2. and 3.  The opening of Greenfield Prize winner Sanford Biggers' art installation at the Ringling Museum.  One of Sanford's exhibits was a fall "must-see" in New York Magazine.  That same weekend, I heard jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer, play during the Greenfield Prize Dinner, of which he was this year's recipient.  Just last week New York Magazine featured him in another "must-do" event.  We have access to some of the same things as NYC!  I wonder how often we appreciate that?  I know I don't often enough.

4.  The first program of La Musica, the world-renowned chamber music festival held right here in Sarasota, with selections from Mozart, Shostakovich, and Brahms.  What talent is compiled from all over the world to perform for us right here in Sarasota!

5.  Speaking of Shostakovich, just this past weekend I went to Sarasota Orchestra's Journeys to Genius program, which explored the history of Shostakovich's composing, with emphasis of his work during  Stalin's regime in Russia.  I LOVE the Journeys to Genius program and try to go to all of them.  I enjoy the multi-media aspect of it, especially the actors in this particular one and the orchestra was divine.

6.  Sarasota Ballet's mid-April performance of works by Balanchine, Walsh, and Tharp.  So varied and inspiring.  I have already written a blog posting on this performance, so I won't go into it, but it was one of my favorites.

7.  About a week ago, I went to the closing performance of Red at the Asolo Rep.  The play is about abstract artist Mark Rothko and as Asolo Rep's Michael Edwards says, " addresses both the tangible act of creating art and the visceral impulse that drives an artist to that act."  I was mesmerized by this play and glad I made myself go to see it closing day.  

A Mark Rothko painting

How about you?  Like me, do you get so wrapped up in attending charitable events during our social season that you are just too worn out to add one more thing, even if it is as extraordinary as what our arts organizations' offerings are, to your schedule?  Believe me, once I get home in Nokomis, it is awfully hard for me to get whipped back up to go to something purely pleasurable to me and make the 45 minute drive up to the Asolo or downtown, for a play or a concert.  I actually TRY to stay home as much as I can on the weekend, but I am so glad I forced myself to get out of the house again and go to the things I truly love.  I mean, the arts are the main reason I moved here, for pity sakes! 

We are lucky that several of our arts organizations, especially theaters, have performances this summer, when the social season is much quieter.  You can be sure I will be at several of them.  Will I see you there?

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