The place to be Sunday afternoon is the Ordway, when St. Paul’s gleaming performing arts center will show off its brand-new Concert Hall in a festive open house. A ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. will be followed by live music performances presented by all four members of the Arts Partnership: Minnesota Opera, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Schubert Club. These four distinct and independent nonprofits share the space and joined together to fund the $42 million hall (and a healthy endowment for its care), which shows what can happen when arts organizations put aside their differences and get along.
Here’s a schedule, if you want to plan your visit for a specific time: noon and 2:30 p.m., Broadway Songbook. 1:15 and 3 p.m., SPCO. 1:45 p.m., Project Opera. 3:30 p.m., Ancia Saxophone Quartet. Take a self-guided tour, try out different seats, and look around backstage. Snap an early selfie through one of the windows at the north end, with views down West 5th Street toward the Cathedral. Enjoy lobby performances, a scavenger hunt, mannequins in opera costumes and free refreshments (cookies, coffee, water).
All through March, the Ordway will hold what it’s calling “22 days of opening nights,” a series of high-profile events at both the Concert Hall and the Ordway Music Theater that include classical, world, pop and new music performances, dance, and opera. Broadway star Bernadette Peters will perform; “The Manchurian Candidate,” the new opera by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, creators of “Silent Night,” will make its world premiere. The SPCO will premiere a new string orchestra arrangement of George Tsontakis’ “Corragio.” Cantus, Haley Bonar, the Sounds of Blackness, Cherish the Ladies, Ananya Dance, Hugh Masekela, Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center are all on the schedule. These and many other events will keep the lights on almost every night. (Here’s a handy calendar view.) The box office will be open during the open house.
If you can’t make it Sunday, you’ll have three more chances to see the Concert Hall for free: on Family Day (Saturday, March 14, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.), with performances by the Flying Foot Forum, Bad Bad Hats, the Bazillions and House of Dance Twin Cities; at the 92nd Annual Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition Winners Recital (Sunday, March 22, 1 p.m.), with talented young musicians performing on piano, strings, guitar, brass, woodwinds and voice; and an afternoon concert by the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (also Sunday, March 22, 4 p.m.).
Saturday at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis: Michael Black book signing. Not all bestselling book series are written by a single author, even if all the books carry that author’s name. (We don’t ever want to hear this about Sue Grafton.) The “father of action adventure,” Don Pendleton wrote the first 38 novels in the enormously popular “The Executioner” series, whose lead character, Mack Bolan, is a Vietnam War veteran fighting international terrorism. After Pendleton sold the rights, the series continued, with other writers producing hundreds more Executioner titles writing as Don Pendleton. Chicago author Michael Black is one; he’ll be here with “Dragon Key.” Black also writes thrillers under his own name. He’s one prolific guy. Noon-2 p.m., free.
Saturday at Gamut Gallery in Minneapolis: Opening reception for “Revolution Now: Portraits of Contemporary Female Revolutionaries.” Fourteen artists created new work for this print invitational curated by Ash Marlene Hane and Angela Sprunger. Each selected a woman to represent, based on their own ideas of what revolution is. 7-11 p.m., Through March 21.
Sunday at Landmark Center in St. Paul: Skylark Opera: “Where or When: Broadway in the Thirties.” Skylark’s annual spring concert includes songs about romance, race relations, labor unrest and poverty, performed by Paul Coate, Vicki Fingalson, Jake Endres and Emily Gunyou Halaas. Learn about the music’s historical context; stay after for a talkback with the artists and music historian Dr. Eugene Young. 1 p.m. Free and open to the public. FMI.
Sunday at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church in Minneapolis: A concert of chamber music by the Isles Ensemble. Founded in 2004, the Isles Ensemble includes violinists Helen Chang and Joanne Opgenorth and violist Gareth Zehngut of the Minnesota Orchestra; violinist Leslie Shank, the SPCO’s former assistant concertmaster; and cellist Thomas Rosenberg, a nationally known teacher and performer. With guest artists Tim Lovelace on piano and Magdalena Loza Flores on guitar, they’ll play a program of music by Beethoven, Turina, and Fauré, introducing each piece with a short talk. An informal reception follows. 2 p.m. Suggested donations at the door ($15/$10 students and seniors).
Sunday at the Walker in Minneapolis: What Is Great Jazz? Ah, the benefits of membership. If you’re a Walker member, you can hear cellist, composer and improvising musician Michelle Kinney (Jelloslave, Mississippi Peace) talk about jazz in advance of the Walker’s upcoming jazz events: Douglas Ewart (March 5), Jack DeJohnette’s Made in Chicago (March 12) and Jason Moran and Robert Glasper (May 2). 2 p.m. FMI and registration ($5; free for contributing-level members).
Sunday at Concordia College in Moorhead: Master Chorale of Fargo-Moorhead. Aaron Zinter directs the 60-voice mixed choir in a program of works honoring the life and music of composer Stephen Paulus, including “Pilgrims’ Hymn” and “The Road Home.” Centrum, Knutson Campus Center. 4:30 p.m. Free.
Sunday on your teevee: “Minnesota: A History of the Land.” The Emmy-winning five-part documentary series produced by the Bell Museum and TPT is an epic tale spanning 16,000 years of Minnesota history. Over six years in the making, it includes rare historical images, dramatic re-enactments and animations, film interviews and an original soundtrack by Peter Ostroushko. TPT is showing all five episodes on TPT MN (channel 2.2). Here’s the schedule. FMI.
Love TED Talks? On April 18, Gustavus Adolphus College will host its second annual TEDx event, with nine live speakers and two TED Talks via video. The conference is called “Leading the Way Forward: Being, Seeing, Doing.” Topics include building resiliency, leadership, finding your voice, using the full power of your voice, women leaders in sports, the problem with sarcasm, faking it, and “Why F-Words Work,” delivered by Gustavus’ chaplain. 1-5 p.m. in Wallenberg Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students, $15 for the general public, limited to 100. Order online.