Four of Tacoma’s main performing arts groups – the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, the Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma Opera and the Broadway Center for Performing Arts – have announced their 2010-2011 seasons, and there’s a refreshing array of new work on the cards. And for those wanting to buy subscription tickets, now’s the time to get good seats and deals.
The Sinfonietta kicks off its 20th anniversary year with the first classical concert of the season on Oct. 1, 2 and 3. Three nights? You bet. Because for each of the five concert programs, there are three separate performances in Seattle, Tacoma and the Sinfonietta’s new outlier base, Puyallup. Successful Puyallup shows earlier this year must have convinced the chamber orchestra to make a permanent home in the city’s Pioneer Park pavilion, where – unlike Benaroya or the Rialto – seating is cabaret, drinks and nibbles are on hand and the atmosphere is casual.
The opening gala features the composer this group does best – Beethoven – in the Eroica Symphony, along with Seattle cello prodigy Julian Schwarz playing the Brahms double concerto with violinist Marié Rossano. Further down the year there’s a Gypsy evening with premiere composition by conductor Christophe Chagnard, a Mozart night, Stravinsky’s sexy “Rite of Spring” with Trio Diaghilev and Mussorgsky’s beloved “Pictures at an Exhibition” in chamber version.
Tickets: 888-356-6040, www.nwsinfonietta.org
The non-profit that has turned around Tacoma’s downtown theater management from dismal to successful has announced another stellar season full of everything from comedy to choral. Cirque du Soleil offshoot Cirque Mechanics opens everything with a boom in “Boomtown” on Oct. 1 with all the usual stunning acrobatic pyrotechnics. After that there’s an act almost every week through May: Highlights include a capella soul group The Blind Boys of Alabama, satirist David Sedaris, a “Sound of Music” singalong, “The Color Purple,” the famous Peking Acrobats back again, Minnesota’s favorite comedian Garrison Keilor, a BCPA/Lakewood Playhouse collaborative premiere of “My Name is Asher Lev,” Portland’s funky Imago puppets, the New Orleans’ signature Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Celtic violinist Eileen Ivers and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Whew.
Tickest: 253-591-5894, www.broadwaycenter.org
It’s the 65th year for this venerable organization, and they’re spiking it up with some unusual new works and instruments amid the old faves. Opening on Oct. 23 with a Spanish program featuring classical guitarist Ana Vidovic, the season marches on with Beethoven’s 7th symphony, the Mendelssohn violin concerto and holiday chestnuts “The Messiah” and “Sounds of the Season” before launching into fantastic new territory with a percussion concert with a world premiere by Tacoma composer Greg Youtz, paired with Schubert’s 9th. A concert with electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant follows in March, before Mozart’s Requiem in April (with the Tacoma Symphony Chorus) and a Russian finale with fiery pianist Aviram Reichert back by popular request to play Rachmaninov’s “Variations on a Theme of Paganini.”
It’s an eight-concert season that admirably straddles the old-favorite, new-music and pop-world-music worlds of a 21st-century orchestra. Plus, subscribers get good deals: There’s no price increase this year, invitations to open rehearsals and events, and a swap-out for Northwest Sinfonietta or Tacoma Philharmonic tickets for just $2 if you can’t make your purchased concert.
Tickets: 253-591-5894, www.tacomasymphony.org
It’s all about love in this season for Tacoma Opera – though of course for opera, that’s not unusual. What’s unusual is the works themselves, many new to Tacoma but still featuring TO’s usual good singing, locally-made sets and fine direction. The company opens in November at the Rialto with Donizetti’s spirited love comedy “The Elixir of Love,” followed by a double-act Young Artists’ Showcase of Chabrier’s “An Incomplete Education” and Haydn’s diva-spoof “The Budding Soprano,” both sung in English at Theater on the Square. The final Pantages production is another double-bill: Bernstein’s sarcastic look at ‘50s suburbia “Trouble in Tahiti,” followed by that most famous of all love tragedies, “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Singers include TO veterans like Kimberley Giordano and Hannah Penn, plus a TO conducting debut by the Seattle Symphony’s Carolyn Kuan.
Tickets: 253-627-7789, www.tacomaopera.com