Manuela Hoelterhoff: Putin’s Pals, Doomed Birds, Poe

Time to ponder the fall season I realized as I fed apples to my pigs Hamlette, Venus and Mimi.

It doesn’t look like any of their namesakes are singing locally this fall.

But here’s a list of operas, musicals, plays, exhibitions and one recycling station that will see me in the next few months.


“The Glass Menagerie” at the Booth. The transcendent Cherry Jones dons a dowdy lavender sweater as Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’s first masterpiece. In previews.

“Big Fish” at the Neil Simon. Who better to capture the boundless world of the giant, witch and werewolf than director-choreographer Susan Stroman and composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (“The Addams Family”)? In previews.

“Chagall: Love, War and Exile” at the Jewish Museum. He enchanted me as a kid with floating cows and soothed me many a night at the Metropolitan Opera where those gigantic murals loom over the bar and restaurant. Sept. 15.

“Eugene Onegin” at the Metropolitan Opera. Love the piece and really love the timing! The new production features conductor Valery Gergiev and diva Anna Netrebko, close pals of Putin whose thugs would cheerfully torment any modern day Tchaikovsky. Opens the season on Sept. 23.

Cool Enigmas

“Balthus: Cats and Girls” at the Metropolitan Museum. Great combination by a painter who suspended both in a hypnotic space inaccessible to puritans. Sept. 25.

“Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938” at the Museum of Modern Art. All the knockoffs haven’t dimmed the mysteries of his cool enigmas. Sept. 28.

Jeanine Tesori’s “Fun Home’’ at the Public Theater. Having just been charmed by a revival of “Violet,” I’ll be at the world premiere of her new show based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Sept. 30.


“Betrayal” at the Barrymore with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. Pinter’s story of deceit among friends hasn’t lost its power. Expect lots of sitting on sofas staring into space in total disbelief, just like in real life. Oct. 1 (Previews).

Claire Chase at The Kitchen. The elfin star flutist, MacArthur fellow and leader of ICE, is celebrating the release of her third solo album: “Density.” Oct. 3.

“Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul” at the Morgan Library and Museum. Help me! Let me out! Time to reread “The Cask of Amontillado,” in which the storyteller walls up a friend who offended him and enjoys remembering his screams for years on end. Oct. 4.

Mark Rylance at the Belasco. The brilliant actor alternates as Shakespeare’s deliciously twisted monarch and dazedly love-struck Olivia in all-male productions of “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night.” Oct. 15 (Previews).

Julie Taymor at the Theatre for a New Audience (Polonsky Shakespeare Center). Seven years haven’t dimmed the memory of her glistening staging of “Grendel’’ by her partner Elliot Goldenthal. I can’t think of a better duo to take us into the fairytale world of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’’ The show opens TFNA’s new theater in downtown Brooklyn. Oct 19 (Previews).

“Baden-Baden 1927” produced by Gotham Chamber Opera at the Gerald Lynch Theater. It’s a surprising recreation of a program that included Kurt Weill’s first version of “Mahagonny” with a set by Georg Baselitz. Oct 23.

Fancy Dump

“Snow Geese” at the Samuel J. Friedman. Sharr White’s Chekhovian hat tip about the matriarch (Mary-Louise Parker) of an upstate New York family at the start of hunting season as WWI engulfs Europe. Oct. 1 (Previews).

“The Seagull” at the Culture Project. The original doomed bird appears as Trudie Styler takes time off from organic farming and Sting to play Arkadina in this resetting of Chekhov’s sad comedy into Ireland. Oct. 3 (Previews).

“Vasily Kandinsky: From Blaue Reiter to the Bauhaus” at the Neue Galerie. We look for any excuse to drop in at the cafe. Oct. 3.

Nico Muhly’s “Two Boys” at the Met. About Internet-obsessed misfits. Hopefully better than “Dark Sisters,” which managed to make Mormons boring. Oct. 21.

“Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces from the Mauritshuis” at the Frick Collection. I’m never again going to get to this elegant 17th century mansion in The Hague. Still, should paintings of such fragility really travel? Oct. 22.

Scary Birds

“Sleeping Beauty” at City Center. Staged by Matthew Bourne of the unforgettably strange “Swan Lake” with the scary black birds. Oct. 23.

“White Light Festival” at Lincoln Center. Jane Moss’s programming is ceaselessly inventive, exotic and fascinating. I await the chanting Manganiyars and the seductive-sounding “Era la Notte” (It Was the Night) with the adventurous soprano Anna Maria Antonacci. Oct 24.

The Sims Recycling Station at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. Classy architect Annabelle Selldorf has taken time out from serving the princes of art and commerce to do something useful. October.


The Minnesota Orchestra visits Carnegie Hall (maybe) with my favorite Sibelius symphonies and their music director Osmo Vanska, who keeps threatening to quit as the year-long standoff continues between the suicidal musicians and the obnoxiously obdurate board. Nov. 2.

Roomful of Teeth at Poisson Rouge. Engaging composer Caroline Shaw presents her Pulitzer Prize-winning “Partita” in a place we love for its eclectic programming and happy slogan: Serving Art and Alcohol. Nov. 4.

“Rigoletto” at the Met. Last year’s hit production by director Michael Mayer returns with a charismatic new conductor, Pablo Heras-Casado, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the singing sad-sack. Nov. 11.

“The Power of Poison” at the American Museum of Natural History. Promises a venomous live yellow frog (who can resist?), plus crime scene recreations and walk-through dioramas. Nov. 16.


“The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic” at the Park Avenue Armory. She is so strangely compelling and enigmatic. Dec. 12.

Wagner’s “Ring” cycle as staged by the Salzburg Marionette Theater at the Metropolitan Museum. This two-hour version cuts out all the boring parts. Thank Limor Tomer, the director of the museum’s concerts and lectures series. Dec. 13.

“Die Fledermaus” at the Metropolitan Opera. The infinitely clever Jeremy Sams wrote the new text, which might make me forget how much I dislike operettas, especially this one with its stomach-turning Watch Duet. New Year’s Eve.

(Manuela Hoelterhoff is executive editor of Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.)

Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining and Katya Kazakina on art.

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