As orchestras nationwide struggle to stay afloat and jazz clubs close, Minnesota Opera rolls merrily along. Its latest good news: Subscriptions have reached a 14-year high. Currently the company has 6,435 subscribers, most full-season. More than 90 percent of full-season subscribers renew their subscriptions each year. The Viennese bon-bon “Arabella” ends Sunday. Writing for the Strib, Larry Fuchsberg called soprano Jacquelyn Wagner’s singing “luminous” and said she portrayed “a true Strauss heroine: keenly sensitive, half-ecstatic, questing.” If you want to see “The Magic Flute” in April, you might want to buy those tickets now. Several of the nine performances are already close to sold out.
Do you enjoy live music with your wine? You’ll be happy to learn that the Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee has amended Chapter 363 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances. What this means is that the Zacc Harris Trio, the Richard Kronick Trio, and other small ensembles can start playing again at the Riverview Wine Bar. Harris had a regular Sunday-night gig there for six years until it was canceled because of an “entertainment licensing technicality.” The old code limited the number of musicians allowed to perform in restaurants with wine licenses to one. Outgoing 9th Ward council member Gary Schiff authored the change and led the charge. “Our local music scene is vital to the city and should be supported,” he wrote in an email. “Minneapolis will now allow more opportunities for musicians to work in more types of cafes and restaurants.” Harris and his trio return to the Riverview on Dec. 1. The Richard Kronick Trio will perform on Friday, Nov. 22. We’ll toast to that.
And also to the boom in Twin Cities breweries, two of which were featured in a recent episode of “Beer Geeks TV.” Indeed Brewing Co. and Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub both opened in 2012, thanks to the 2011 “Surly Bill,” which cleared the way for craft breweries to sell their own beer out of taprooms. In other booze news, the bill also included an amendment dropping the fee to start a distillery from $30,000 to $1,100. So we’ll be seeing more of those, especially now that distilleries may also offer (small) free samples to visitors. Yay to all that, boo to the fact that the Minnesota Wild has some of the highest beer prices in the NHL. And thanks to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for their spirited coverage of these stories. In John Vomhof Jr.’s column about the Wild’s beer, we also learned that the estimated cost of a family of four to attend a Wild game (including tickets, beers, sodas, hot dogs, parking, programs, and caps) is $376.55. Holy puck! And people think tickets to classical music concerts are expensive.
It could cost even more to take a family of four to “Paul Simon & Sting: On Stage Together” when it comes to the Xcel on Feb. 23. If the two bring their Grammys, they may need another bus; Simon has 12, Sting 16. This could be one of the greatest concerts ever. Tickets on sale Monday at 10 a.m. ($55-$270 with fees).
Opens next week at the Orpheum: “We Will Rock You,” the musical by Queen and Ben Elton. “We Are the Champions.” “Another One Bites the Dust.” “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Love those Queen songs? Some 15 million people worldwide have seen this musical megahit. Eight shows only, Tuesday, Nov. 19 – Sunday, Nov. 24. Ages 13 and up. FMI and tickets. If you’re at the Mall of America on Wednesday, Nov. 20, head to the Rotunda at 2 p.m. for a preview performance with the cast. Scaramouche, scaramouche! An earlier announcement of the MOA event included the opportunity for a big-hair makeover. Sadly, that was canceled.
The Nov. 20 Nagel Lecture at the U featuring Richard Moe, author of “Roosevelt’s Second Act” and former chief of staff for Vice President Walter Mondale, has also been canceled. Mondale was scheduled to introduce him.
Would you like to go holiday shopping and drop your kids or grandkids off at Como Zoo? It’s tempting to imagine them in the Primate Building with the other little monkeys, but that’s not the plan. Kids will go on a scavenger hunt through the Zoo and Conservatory, meet animal visitors, and take part in games, crafts, and other zoo-themed activities. This fun daycare option is available Friday, Nov. 29 (Black Friday), Saturday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 14, all from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The cost is $35 per child. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Call 651-487-8272.
Tickets are on sale now for one of the year’s most popular arts events, the annual MCAD Art Sale. Now in its 16th year, this show is a chance to spot leading-edge artists and up-and-comers, or just go home with something you like and want to live with. (For most of us, says the person who once bought a painting of a giant chocolate éclair, that’s what art is all about.) Six thousand one-of-a-kind works by 400 artists including MCAD students and recent grads are priced to sell – all at less than $1,500, with an average price less than $100. All proceeds go directly to the individual artists or to MCAD Art Sale Scholarship funds. Thursday (opening night), 6 – 9:30 p.m., $150 until the day of the sale ($100 is tax-deductible). Friday, Nov. 22, 6 – 9 p.m., $20 in advance, $20 at the door. Saturday, Nov. 23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., free. FMI and advance tickets here.
John B. Davidson, co-founder of the Children’s Theatre Company, has died. He was 81. Tonight, Davidson’s adaptation of “Cinderella,” a holiday hit since the 1970s, opens at CTC. “It’s deeply tragic and moving that we’re in rehearsal with his piece,” artistic director Peter Brosius told Rohan Preston. “It’s very sad, but we carry his spirit with us.”
Our picks for the weekend
Tonight (Friday, Nov. 15): Opening night for “Give & Take & …” An exhibition by Warren MacKenzie and Joseph G. Brown. Anyone with the slightest interest in pottery knows who Warren MacKenzie is. Now 89, he still throws thousands of pots each year in his studio near Stillwater. His pots are so collectible (a fact he finds annoying) that their purchase is rationed. To buy one, you’ll have to come to the artists’ reception tonight, take a number, and hope your number will be drawn. (No joke; this is the same way they do things at Northern Clay Center when MacKenzie’s pots are available there.) Gallery owner and nationally known artist Joseph Brown – also a potter, as well as a sculptor and painter – trained here under MacKenzie and in England with Geoffrey Whiting. One show, two major dudes. At Raymond Avenue Gallery, 761 Raymond Ave., St. Paul. Through Dec. 20.
Tonight: “What’s in the Mix.” A community engagement forum on the arts, with music and food. The events include a reception, an exhibition of “Paintings and Rickshaws” (a public art display), and a conversation about the intersection of art and community moderated by artist Caroline Kent with performer/educator Kenna Cottman, architect Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips, journalist Sheila Regan, and young Juxtaposition Arts apprentices. With music by DJ Lady Em and edibles from Avenue Eatery and Cookie Cart. The program will be recorded for later broadcast on KFAI. 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Juxtaposition Studio, 1108 W. Broadway, Minneapolis. Free.
Tonight through Sunday: “Artifact Traffic.” The first project of MNdn Arts, a new group that creates art to affirm Native American presence in Minnesota today, is a multidisciplinary storytelling performed by Native American artists and friends through spoken word, live visual art, film, animation, dance and music. Performers include Daina Ashbee (Rosy Sima Danse), Heid Erdrich, Phil Fried and Big S2. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday at Intermedia Arts. FMI and tickets ($13).
Tonight through Sunday: TU Dance. The celebrated Twin Cities dance company’s 10th anniversary season features three premieres and the return of Uri Sands’ “January (Part 2),” a full-company work on the theme of transition. Alonzo King’s duet “Rasa,” set to an original score by tabla master Zakir Hussain, will have its Minnesota premiere. New York choreographer Gregory Dolbashian’s “Keep the Edges Wild,” a new commission, will have its world premiere this weekend. So will “If And Or,” a new work by Dwight Rhoden, artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Cowles Center. FMI and tickets ($32/$30).
Saturday: the Minnesota premiere of the film “Brothers Hypnotic.” Growing up in a poor neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the eight young men in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble were told they were kings and could do anything with their lives. Real brothers in a family of 24 siblings, they were practically born with horns in their mouths. Their father was jazz legend Phil Cohran and their mothers were also musicians. Director Reuben Atlas’s film tells the story of their childhood, their years as street musicians, their collaborations with Mos Def and Prince, and their personal battles with the values their father bred into them, all to a brassy, jazzy, funky soundtrack. Here’s the trailer. 5 p.m. at McNally Smith College of Music. This is part of the Sound Unseen festival of films about music that began Wednesday and ends Sunday. Here’s the complete schedule, with trailers and links to tickets.
Sunday at the Minnesota History Center: A free public screening of “Minnesota and the Civil War Showcase.” Produced in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television, this one-hour documentary features six short films on topics including the Dred Scott Decision, Minnesotans at Antietam and Gettysburg, today’s Civil War reenactors, and the Gettysburg Address as seen through the eyes of Joshua Hamel, a high-school student from Rochester. Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, seven score and ten years ago. The documentary airs on TPT’s MN Channel later that night (8 p.m.), but wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to see it in a crowd? Go early and tour the new Prohibition exhibition, or take the kids to Then Now Wow. Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.