I’m so happy to see that after 16 months of Nightly Met Opera Streams, The Metropolitan Opera is returning to PBS’ Great Performances. And on top of that, in celebration of Black History Month, MetOpera.org is showcasing some of the exceptional African American artists who have thrilled audiences and made invaluable contributions to The Met’s legacy.

The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company presents
The Shoah Songbook, Part Two: The Kovno and Vilna Ghettos in Lithuania
Streaming on-demand
The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company presents a new series by the Likht Ensemble entitled The Shoah Songbook, five installments of rarely performed music by Jewish artists composed during the Holocaust. The series is designed to shine a spotlight on great composers silenced before their time, ranging from the subtle poetry and haunting lullabies of Ilse Weber to the stylistically advanced works of Viktor Ullmann, to the never-before-recorded songs of Edwin Geist. This astonishing wealth of music was created from within concentration camps, with the first recital focusing on music from Terezín.
View The Shoah Songbook, Part Two

The Brooklyn Public Library presents
Red Firecrackers – The story of the first Lunar New Year, and The Story of Nian and The Origin of Chinese Lunar New Year Customs
Streaming Saturday, February 5, 1-2pm
A spectacular production of dazzling props, colorful costumes,  mesmerizing music, fantastic acrobatics, and lively dance by top-notch performers telling the story of the origin of the Chinese Lunar New Year. In this legend, a group of villagers defeated a terrifying monster of the ages by working, dancing, and praying together. The heartwarming story highlights the intrinsic value of coming together, courage, hard work, and ingenuity.  It also explains some of the origins of the Chinese Lunar New Year traditions of wearing red, giving red envelopes to children, putting up red decorations, and lighting up all the dark corners with noisy, red firecrackers. This pre-recorded program will air on the BPL Facebook page and remain there for 48 hours.
Access “Red Firecrackers” on the Brooklyn Library website

Hudson Stage presents the first in a series of staged readings of new plays
What Keeps Us Going, by Barbara Dana
Saturday, February 5, 7:30-9pm
Whippoorwill Hall Theatre, North Castle Public Library, Kent Place, Armonk, NY
Directed by Austin Pendleton and featuring Anthony Arkin, Amelia Campbell, Lee Wilkof,  and Blythe Danner.  Actors appear courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.  Denise Bessette and Olivia Sklar, Producers.  A well-known veteran actress can’t remember her lines. A middle-aged woman who sacrificed her creative life to secure her marriage is left by her husband. When the women meet to collaborate on a precarious project an unexpected friendship is born.
Learn more on www.hudsonstage.com or call the HSC Hotline: 914-271-2811

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra & Pops Digital Concert Series presents
Music of John Williams
Livestream Saturday, February 5, 7:30 pm
Music has the power to inspire, heal, and bring us together—even when we’re apart. Join us online from the comfort of home for this celebration of John William’s 90th birthday. Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton and the Pops treat us to a slice of Williams’ most beloved scores—just in time for his 90th birthday. Experience selections from Superman, Star Wars, E.T., Jaws, Witches of Eastwick, and more by one of the greatest composers of our lifetime.
More info and access to “Music of John Williams”

Great Performances at the Met presents
Boris Godunov, by Modest Mussorgsky
adapted from the drama by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
Premieres Sunday, February 6, on PBS (check local listings for time)
Great Performances at the Met makes its return with 10 new operas premiering monthly, February-November 2022 on PBS. Bass René Pape, the world’s reigning Boris, reprises his portrayal of the tortured tsar caught between ambition and paranoia. Conductor Sebastian Weigle leads Mussorgsky’s Russian masterwork in its original 1869 version. Stephen Wadsworth’s production captures the hope and suffering of the Russian people as well as the tsar himself. Hosted by Angel Blue.
Watch Great Performances on PBS.org

The New York Public Library presents
Been Seen: The Photography of Zora J. Murff
Monday, February 7, 6:30pm
Explore the world through the lenses of Black photographers with Zora J. Murff, photographer and author of True Colors (or, Affirmations in a Crisis). This is the first in a series of virtual conversations on Black storytelling through photography this month at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Register for “Been Seen” on Eventbrite

The Jewish Studies Program of Purchase College SUNY presents
In Search of Israeli Cuisine
Virtual screening Tuesday, February 8, 6-8pm
Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov goes on a journey in search of Israeli cuisine. Profiling chefs, home cooks, farmers, vintners, and cheese makers drawn from the multitude of cultures that make up Israel today—Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze—a rich, complex, and human story emerges.  Through scenes that are mostly cinema verité— interviews, farms, markets, restaurants, kitchens, landscapes, and history—audiences will discover that this hot, multi-cultural cuisine has developed only in the last 30 years. In that short time, Israel went from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the most advanced. Its sophistication mirrors the current state of the Israeli people and their food: secular, outward-looking. and innovative.  This lecture is made possible by the Jewish Studies Program, Purchase College SUNY.
Register for “In Search of Israeli Cuisine”

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents
Late Night Rose: Françaix, Kodály, Coleridge-Taylor
Premieres Thursday, February 10, 9pm
Then available on demand for one week
Françaix: Trio for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1933)
Kodály: Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7 (1914)
Coleridge-Taylor: Quintet in F-sharp minor for Clarinet, Two Violins, Viola, and Cello, Op. 10 (1895)
Performed by David Shifrin, clarinet; Bella Hristova and Kristin Lee, violins; Matthew Lipman, viola; and Nicholas Canellakis, cello
Watch “Late Night Rose” on the CMS website

Culture Picks is a weekly feature celebrating the performing arts. The arts are back and there is so much to take in, both live and virtual. Cultural connoisseur and PAC staff member Coni Guhl is here to help you sort through it all. Each week we will post her curated selection of events featuring the artists you know and love from The PAC Center Series, plus a sampling of stellar local experiences. Enjoy!

All times are EDT unless otherwise noted.

Pictured: The Metropolitan Opera Bass René Pape in Boris Godunov © The Metropolitan Opera