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Van Etten Croons, Chic ‘Traviata,’ Mordant Kitson: N.Y. Weekend

Marina Poplavskaya in the Willy Decker production of
Marina Poplavskaya in the Willy Decker production of "La traviata." Photographer: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera via Bloomberg

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Marina Poplavskaya puts on her sexy red dress for some serious partying as courtesan Violetta in the Metropolitan Opera’s chic production of “La traviata.”

As the overture begins shimmering, the gorgeous diva opens the big side door and collapses wearily. She will soon rally to satisfy the hordes of male predators eager for her time. Not that she has much, as the huge clock towering over the set points out dramatically if simply.

See the show now before a well-upholstered soprano arrives who can’t jump up and down on a couch and roll around the floor without provoking a heart attack and laughter.

Matthew Polenzani makes a sweet-voiced, plump Alfredo, with whom Violetta enjoys a season of bliss, until separated by his pompously self-serving father (the riveting Andrzej Dobber).

Gianandrea Noseda conducts speedily, yet expressively.

In repertory until Jan. 29 at the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, Broadway at 64th St. Information: +1-212-362-6000;


Make this a play day: the Under the Radar Festival is in town, bringing 19 productions from 14 countries to various venues around New York.

How about Gob Squad’s Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good)? The German-British collective riffs on Andy Warhol’s screen tests and the current obsession with celebrity.

The Belarus Free Theater, faced with persecution in their native country, comes to the U.S. with “Being Harold Pinter.” The work combines statements from Belarusian political prisoners with writings by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright.

At home, to elude the authorities, the troupe performs in a changing, secret venue, sometimes deep in the woods, for an audience summoned by text message.

At LaMaMa, 66 E. 4th St. Information: +1-212-475-7710. Find the complete schedule at:

Saturday Night

Hit Bowery Ballroom for Brooklyn chanteuse Sharon Van Etten.

Touring with a full band for her new album, “Epic,” Van Etten crafts emotionally raw tracks.

In 2009, she lent her vocals to “Hospice,” the debut album from fellow Brooklynites, The Antlers.

She is now stepping rightfully into the spotlight.

Information: +1-260-4700;

For a post-gig drink, head to Max Fish, the beloved hangout for musicians, skaters, and savvy Lower East Side denizens.

With a highly competitive billiard scene in the back and a DJ dropping dance-ready beats at the front, Max Fish has always provided a convivial late-night scene.

Get your last call in now. Facing lease problems, the joint is looking for a new spot. Won’t be the same.

178 Ludlow Street. Information: +1-212-529-3959.


Daniel Kitson is a British stand-up who doesn’t do TV, and a master raconteur who doesn’t often speak to the press.

So check out the U.S. premiere of “The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church,” a huge hit at the Edinburgh International Festival, now at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

Here’s the premise: A man wants to kill himself but has a few letters to write first. Life intervenes, and two decades later he’s still stamping those envelopes.

Part of the Under the Radar Festival, the show is now in previews, opening Jan. 12 and running through Jan. 30.

38 Water St., Brooklyn. Information: +1-718-254-8779;

Then make your way to Vinegar Hill House and its wood-fired oven. Try the red wattle country chops with cheddar-jalapeno grits.

Sample the natural, handcrafted wines.

72 Hudson Ave., Brooklyn. Information: +1-718-522-1018.

Looking Ahead

Catch Huun-Huur-Tu at the Hiro Ballroom Monday night. From a remote region of Siberia, the Tuvan throat singers can each produce two or more pitches simultaneously. The shamanic music seems to emanate from the deep earth or the far reaches of the sky.

Electronics master Carmen Rizzo collaborated on their latest album, “Eternal,” giving the esoteric sounds a contemporary feel.

371 W. 16th St. Information: +1-866-468-7623;

(Zinta Lundborg is an editor for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Zinta Lundborg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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