How amazing art is remaking Cleveland
By Jen Jones Donatelli
The New York Times said it best back in 2013: "Culture blooms in Cleveland." Of course, the city's creative spirit has been cultivating for nearly 100 years in world-class institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Cleveland Orchestra. They are the bedrock of a community of cultural offerings that are killing it both on and off the radar, attracting new audiences of all kinds to a variety of unique, local art and entertainment options.
Like any good artist, the Cleveland Museum of Art thinks big—and it's got the ever-expanding space to show for it. In recent years, the museum unveiled two new wings masterminded by architect Rafael Vinoly, as well as a 39,000-square-foot glass atrium. The wait was worth it: Its West Wing now houses a dazzling array of Asian art, while the East Wing has 21 galleries spotlighting everything from medieval to modern. And it's free.
Once inside the museum's hallowed halls, make sure to hit the new exhibit "Cheating Death: Portrait Photography’s First Half Century." Open from Oct. 22, 2016-Feb. 5, 2017, the exhibit will showcase more than 50 portraits taken with the very first cameras in the pre-selfie 1800s.
Pro tip: Enjoy pop art? See Roy Lichtenstein’s Little Big Painting on display in Gallery 229, currently on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art through Nov. 17.
The first Friday of the month is a great time to visit the museum and check out the vibrant monthly "Mix at CMA" event (sponsored by Great Lakes Brewing Company). Held from 5-10 p.m., Mix at CMA invites revelers to practice the "art" of mingling amid live performances, cocktails and tours of the museum.
Don't miss these collection highlights at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
An ode to the female form, The Stargazer (3,000 B.C.) is one of the oldest sculptures of the human figure found in the museum.
An early ancestor of Buffy (not really), Apollo the Python Slayer is actually Greek sculptor Praxiteles' life-sized bronze version of the Apollo Sauroktonos.
No doubt Rodin's The Thinker is one of the art world's iconic images, and you can see it for yourself at CMA, which houses one of only 10 Rodin-supervised casts in existence.
Landscapes were Frederic Edwin Church's thing, and that's evident in his famed Twilight in the Wilderness, which captures a blazing Maine sunset circa 1860.
Can't get enough Marilyn Monroe? Neither could Andy Warhol, whose Marilyn x 100 is a trippy ode to his starlet muse.
Pro Tip: Make sure you didn't miss anything by stopping at the interactive, 40-foot tall Collection Wall, which allows you to electronically access up to 4,500 works of art on view from the permanent collection.
THE CLEVELAND SOUND
Ohio may be synonymous with the Big Ten, but in music circles, our fair state is also known as part of the "Big Five"—orchestras, that is—thanks to the efforts of the storied Cleveland Orchestra and its conductor Franz Welser-Möst. And, of course, their home base Severance Hall isn't too shabby itself, having been renovated back in 2000 and known as one of the most beautiful concert halls.
True to form, the 2016-2017 lineup doesn't disappoint. Highlights of the Orchestra’s 99th season will include three of Respighi’s tone poems (Oct. 6-9) and Bach’s St. John Passion featuring the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus (March 9, 11 and 12). Other can't-miss shows include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 (Jan. 12 and 14) and Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande (May 2, 4 and 6).
For those who like a side of cinema with their orchestral fix, be sure to bookmark the "At the Movies" series. Transport yourself to Transylvania on Oct. 25 with Nosferatu, or marvel at the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life on Dec. 8.
Pro tip: Concert previews at Severance Hall (which often include speakers, interviews and performance presentations) are one hour prior to most concerts.
OPERA FOR ALL
Love the all-encompassing thrill of watching the opera, minus the stuffy formal environment? The Cleveland Opera Theater is calling you home. Open to opera newbies and aficionados alike, the COT engages its audience with pre-show "Opera 101" sessions and post-show receptions attended by the performers. The company's Mainstage Productions have ranged from favorites like the "Pirates of Penzance" to Puccini's "Tosca;" this season, they'll add "Amahl & The Night Visitors" (Dec. 17) and "Le nozze di Figaro" (April 28 and 30, 2017) to that list. Also, don't miss the Opera UpClose series, which features pop-up opera productions performed in places like Edwin’s and Nighttown—replete with themed food and drink pairings.
The equation is simple: Great performances = Great Lakes Theater. For more than 50 years, the Great Lakes Theater has been bringing down the house, and the 2016-2017 season will be no exception. Running September through May 2017, planned productions run the gamut from classics like "A Christmas Carol" (Nov. 26-Dec. 23) to musicals like the upbeat “Forever Plaid” (May 5-21). The company will also continue its ongoing Shakespearean tradition, mounting "Twelfth Night” (Sept. 30-Oct.30) and “Hamlet" (March 31-April 15)
Did we mention the shiny new setting? Revamped in 2008, the 550-seat Hanna Theatre (part of Playhouse Square) amps up the theater-going experience with an intimate "thrust" configuration, in which no seat is further than 12 rows back from the stage. For a peek behind the scenes, arrive early for a cocktail and watch rehearsals, or stay afterward to meet the cast and crew on "Nightcap Night Saturdays.”
MODERN CLASSIC EVENTS
Classical Revolution Cleveland: third Tuesday of every month
Say you want a revolution? Head to the Happy Dog the third Tuesday of each month, where classically trained musicians provide the unconventional soundtrack—and loaded hot dogs provide the menu—for Classical Revolution Cleveland.
Cleveland Institute of Music Faculty Recital Series | Through Spring 2017
Along with CIM's popular PianoFest, the Faculty Recital Series is another one-of-a-kind way to experience world-class talent inside Mixon Hall. Watch CIM faculty put the old "Those who can't do, teach" cliché to shame with a slew of recitals throughout the season.