Although we the people tossed George III more than two centuries ago, we can’t get over our fascination with the British royals. We follow their lives, devour their scandals and stay up all night to watch their weddings. And we love looking at their stuff: castles, jewels, carriages and clothes.
Starting Saturday, Feb. 4, we can get up close and personal with some of Princess Di‘s belongings at an exhibition called “Diana: A Celebration” at the Mall of America. (MOA web page here. Official Diana exhibit site here.) The wedding dress and its 25-foot train arrived earlier this week. Covering nine galleries, the exhibit also includes 28 of Diana’s designer dresses plus family heirlooms, personal mementos, home movies and photos. Advance VIP tickets ($23.50) are available at MOA guest service desks. General admission tickets ($21.50, less for children and seniors) go on sale Saturday. Or buy tickets online through T*****m*****, a name I can no longer bring myself to say out loud or type in full, due to its outrageous fees. Through June 10.
Here‘s the whole Hennepin Theater Trust‘s Broadway Across America season (we led with “The Book of Mormon” on Friday): “Beauty and the Beast” (Oct. 16-21), “Catch Me If You Can” (Dec. 11-16), “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” (Jan. 8–13, 2013), “The Book of Mormon” (Feb. 5-17, 2013), “Flashdance” (April 2–7, 2013), “Mary Poppins” (April 23-28, 2013), “War Horse” (June 12-23, 2013).
New season announcements make me giddy. Here‘s what the Minnesota Opera has planned for us for 2012-13, its (fanfare, please) 50th anniversary season: a new production of Verdi’s “Nabucco” (opens Sept. 22), with newly appointed Music Director Michael Christie conducting; Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” (November), the world premiere of “Doubt,” the second commission of the Opera’s New Works Initiative, based on John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play (January 2013); Ambroise Thomas’ “Hamlet” (March 2013); and a new production of Puccini’s “Turandot” (April 2013). Plus a new tradition begins this summer: “Opera in the Park,” a free, family-friendly event. Details TBA.
Where’s “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” promised for 2008, workshopped in 2010, rescheduled for 2013? Graydon Royce reports that Minnesota Opera no longer has plans to produce it, period.
Last October, a film sneaked into the ShowPlace ICON theater in St. Louis Park. One night, one showing of “Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton Play the Blues,” which was about to be released on DVD. A handful of people were there. While live music is best IMHO, really good concert films in HD are a close second, especially in the cushy comfort of the ICON, with popcorn. The best of both worlds: live broadcasts of concerts to movie theaters.
Tonight you can see Yo-Yo Ma‘s new project, “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,“ broadcast live from the House of Blues in Boston to the ICON and select other theaters in the metro area. While “Goat Rodeo” reminds me of the Rolling Stones’ ickily named album “Goats Head Soup,” this should be excellent: Ma with bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolinist Chris Thile. How cross-genre is that? Showtime 6:30 p.m. Get tickets here to the ICON and other theaters in the metro area.
And Wednesday, Feb. 1: “The Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think.” The Chemical Bros. (England’s Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) are a dance/electronic duo whose live concerts (they fill arenas) are heart-pounding sensory overloads of music, images, strobe lights, and lasers. They recently won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Score award for their work on the “Hanna” soundtrack; they are also heard on the “Black Swan” soundtrack (remember the club scene?). Filmed at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan before 50,000 fans, “Don‘t Think“”jolts you from the cinema deep into the violently psychedelic heart of a Japanese rave” (Rolling Stone). The trailer gave me goosebumps. 6:30 p.m., tickets here.
At MPR, Marianne Combs is co-hosting a whole week of arts programs on “Midday.” Yesterday (Monday) she and Sam Bergman of the Minnesota Orchestra talked about ways classical music is finding new audiences; guests included cellists Laura Sewell and Matt Haimovitz (more about him in a minute). Today (Tuesday): What to do with abandoned strip malls and empty parking lots? Leaders in design see great potential for finding new and creative uses for these “surplus spaces.” Co-host Larry Millett, architectural historian. Wednesday: The Art of Songwriting with Jeremy Messersmith (more about him in a minute, too). Thursday: The Sundance Film Festival with NPR’s arts reporter Neda Ulaby. Friday: The legacy of the Black Arts Movement, with performer, arts educator, and genuine good guy T. Mychael Rambo. “Midday” starts at 11.
The Strib‘s Graydon Royce loves “Ragtime: The Musical“ at the Park Square Theatre. Based on the novel by E.L.Doctorow, it’s the biggest production in the theater’s 36-year history. Here’s a video. Through Feb. 19.