The Highbrow Guide to Fall

(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- The world’s museums, concert halls, and theaters might traffic in old material, but that doesn’t mean they can’t give it a new twist. This fall, so-called high culture is being infused with youth, novelty, and spectacle. Summer’s almost over, but these performances, exhibitions, and events should more than compensate for any cold-weather blues.

The Highbrow Guide to Fall

Art Exhibitions

33rd Bienal de São Paulo The most ­reliably exciting biennial in South America comes with a new twist: Its seven sections are curated by artists. Sept. 7–Dec. 9;

Delacroix at the Metropolitan Museum of Art This retro­spective in New York of French Romantic Eugène Delacroix ­showcases his best-known ­paintings alongside rarely seen ephemera. Sept. 17–Jan. 6;

Anni Albers at the Tate Modern Visitors to this London retro­spective of the ­artist’s abstract ­textiles and ­paintings will be pleased to discover that her talent ­rivaled—if not outpaced—that of her ­better-known ­husband, Josef. Oct. 11–Jan. 27;

Cubism at Centre Pompidou Can this be the first major exhibition ­devoted to Cubism in France since 1953? Paris’s Pompidou is making up for lost time with 300 artworks, ­including major loans from MoMA and the Musée National Picasso. Oct. 17–Feb. 25;

“The Renaissance Nude” at the Getty Center With its ­almost limitless budget, L.A.’s Getty knows how to put on a blockbuster: One ­hundred ­objects by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo will ­induce even the most priggish art lover to make the trek. Oct. 30–Jan. 27;

The Highbrow Guide to Fall


King Lear It’s said to be Ian McKellen’s last Shakespeare role ever, and London critics are almost ­unanimous in their praise. Until Nov. 3;

Mephisto An old standby, reimagined at Vienna’s Burgtheater by ­visionary ­director Bastian Kraft and performed by a superb cast. Sept. 7–Oct. 3, with more dates to be ­announced;

Antony and Cleopatra It’s hard to think of a more ­compelling pair of leads than Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo. Star power ­extends to the ­director’s chair, as Simon Godwin helms the ­production in London. Sept. 18–Jan. 19;

A Very Very Very Dark Matter Jim Broadbent stars as Hans Christian Andersen in Martin McDonagh’s new play in London. If the title is any indication, this will be far from a ­children’s story. Oct. 12–Jan. 6;

To Kill a Mockingbird Written by Aaron Sorkin, this fresh adaptation of Harper Lee’s iconic novel at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater stars Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch. Nov. 1–March 17;

The Highbrow Guide to Fall


The New Classics at the Dutch National Ballet In Amsterdam, crowd ­pleasers old and new include Wayne McGregor’s Chroma and Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering. Sept. 11–25;

21st Century Choreographers at the New York City Ballet The showstopper program for the ballet’s opening night gala will repeat the same roster of new ­commissions a day later for those of us not in tuxedos. Sept. 27 and 28;

Carmen at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Ballet Spanish chore­ographer Marcos Morau refocuses the story, based on the original ­novella by Prosper Mérimée, to paint the protagonist as a ­proto-feminist and her suitors as possessive and vengeful. Sept. 28–Nov. 1; ­

Decadance at the Palais Garnier In this new ­addition to the Parisian ballet’s repertory by the Israeli choreog­rapher Ohad Naharin, dancers will use his trademark “Gaga” technique, which, sadly, has nothing to do with the pop performer of the same name. Sept. 25–Oct. 19;

Wahada by Abou Lagraa at the Ballet de Grand Théâtre Genève French choreographer Lagraa bridges the divide ­between classical ballet and contemporary dance in this highly anticipated world premiere. Nov. 27–Dec. 2;

The Highbrow Guide to Fall


Cédric Tiberghien with the Berlin Philharmonic The virtuoso French ­pianist will join a program that includes the excellent ChorWerk Ruhr ­chamber choir. Sept. 8 and 9;

Simon Rattle with the London Symphony Orchestra Rattle conducts an opening night program of new British music, ­including the world premiere of a composition by Harrison Birtwistle. Sept. 16;

Samson et Dalila at the Metropolitan Opera The much hyped ­production of Camille Saint-Saëns’s master­piece in New York will star tenor Roberto Alagna and ­mezzo-soprano Elina Garanča. Sept. 24–March 28;

Gustavo Dudamel with the L.A. Philharmonic Kicking off LA Fest, the Philharmonic’s ­centennial cele­bration, Dudamel ­conducts a world premiere by Andrew Norman, known for his lush, frenetic compositions. Oct. 4–7;

Jonas Kaufmann at New York’s Carnegie Hall The German tenor is the closest thing the opera world has to a super­star. Anyone who hears his voice in ­person will understand why. Oct. 5;

The Highbrow Guide to Fall


Lucian Freud The artist’s ­catalogue raisonné won’t come out for another four years (at least), but hundreds of rarely seen works in two massive volumes will provide an excellent stopgap until then. Sept. 7;

Iran Modern The exiled Empress Farah Pahlavi hasn’t exactly lived in obscurity, but this book will raise the ­profile of her (mostly Western) art collection, much of which ­remains in Tehran. Sept. 17;

Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912 Qing dynasty women get their due with a wealth of color plates and essays by noted academics, as well as an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., which then moves to the Smithsonian. Sept. 18;

The Country House: Past, Present, Future: Great Houses of the British Isles Written by the ­leading British historian David Cannadine, this isn’t just ­another empty paean to lost glory. Sept. 25;

Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor As the art world (and art market) ­discovers the work of black artists, it’s good to ­remember unsung naturals like Traylor, who was 12 when the Civil War ended. An accompany­ing exhibition opens on Sept. 28 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Oct. 4;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Justin Ocean at, James Gaddy

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