Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents
Ailey All Access: Memoria
Streaming on-demand now through June 5
Alvin Ailey dedicated Memoria, a deeply personal work he choreographed in 1979, “to the joy…the beauty…the creativity…and the wild spirit of my friend [Joyce Trisler].” Set to the sublime music of jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, the piece takes you on a journey from grief and sorrow to a joyous celebration of life. It “has the beating heart that made the man and his company American treasures,” praised The New York Times.
Stream “Memoria” on Ailey All Access
Great Performances: Merry Wives
Streaming on-demand now through June 17
The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park performance of this comedic masterpiece sets it in South Harlem, telling the story of the trickster Falstaff and the wily wives who outwit him through a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality.
Watch Great Performances: Merry Wives” on PBS.org
WQXR Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month
Thursday, May 26, from 7- 8:30pm
Live at The Greene Space, NYC
May is Asian American Pacific Islander Month and WQXR is celebrating with a program of works composed and performed by artists of Asian descent. Performers include the celebrated tenor Nicholas Phan and pianist Myra Huang, who will perform works on the theme of immigration and migration. Pianist Donna Weng Friedman will play works by Beata Moon and Chinary Ung, cellist Sophie Shao and pianist Anna Polonsky present a piece by composer Lei Liang, and instrumentalist JIJI will delight us with her guitar mastery and award-winning Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo will perform music for spiritual awakening. Hosted by WQXR’s Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President, Ed Yim.
Get tickets for “WQXR Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month”
Great Performances: Keeping Company with Sondheim
Friday, May 27, at 9pm (check local listings)
Then available on demand
The revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company that is currently on Broadway with Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone opened just days after Sondheim died in November at 91. This special looks at the making of the production, which had to contend with the realities and limitations imposed by the pandemic. The show is a gender-flipped take on the original musical: Its main character, a serially single New Yorker, has been subtly renamed (Bobby is now Bobbie), and is played by Lenk. That a rethought version of Sondheim’s show should open days after his death is a mark of plays and musicals’ ability to keep growing even after their creators are gone. “Theater is ephemeral,” the director Marianne Elliott said in an interview with The Times last year, “it is about the now. Even if you set it in another period, it should have something to say to the now.”
Learn more and watch the preview of “Keeping Company with Sondheim”
PBS presents National Memorial Day Concert
Sunday, May 29, at 8pm on PBS
Memorial Day is Monday, May 30. This annual concert, held beneath the United States Capitol Building, honors the holiday with appearances by service members and famous performers. This year’s lineup includes groups like the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the U.S. Army Chorus, and the National Symphony Orchestra, plus the actors Gary Sinise and Jean Smart, the musician Rhiannon Giddens, and more.
Learn more and watch the preview of “PBS National Memorial Day Concert”
The Metropolitan Opera presents
A Free Live Audio Stream: Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress
Monday, May 30, 7:25pm
After an acclaimed company debut conducting the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin in 2016, Susanna Mälkki returns to lead Stravinsky’s neoclassical dark comedy. Young star tenor Ben Bliss is the cad Tom Rakewell, alongside soprano Golda Schultz as the virtuous Anne Trulove and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as the diabolical Nick Shadow. Jonathan Miller’s surreal production, last seen on the Met stage in 2015, also features mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis as Baba the Turk and bass James Creswell as Anne’s father, Trulove.
Access the free audio stream on MetOpera.org
The New York Philharmonic presents
Annual Free Memorial Day Concert
Monday, May 30, 7:30pm
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducts the 30th concert presented as a gift to the people of New York City and a day of musical remembrance. The concert opens with Walker’s Lyric for Strings — a lament with glimmers of hope — and continues with two works by Debussy that shimmer with orchestral color, plus music from Wagner’s tragic love story Tristan und Isolde. This year’s concert honors the people of Ukraine. In the spirit of uniting and sending aid, the NY Phil and The Cathedral are partnering with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). At the beginning of the concert, an IRC representative will provide information about how to contribute to response efforts in Ukraine and other crisis-affected countries.
Admission to this performance is free. Tickets are required and will be distributed at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave, NYC, beginning at 5pm on the evening of the concert; doors will open at 6pm. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Learn more about the New York Philharmonic Memorial Day concert
Carnegie Hall and WQXR present
Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR
Wednesday, June 1, at 8pm
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2019 Carnegie Hall opening night performance was called “virtually flawless” (The New York Times). That’s exactly the level of excellence audiences have come to expect each time music director Franz Welser-Möst leads this outstanding orchestra. Their versatility is showcased in this program that features a sinfonia by George Walker, a Szymanowski concerto influenced by Polish folk melodies, and Schubert’s magnificently melodic and emotionally powerful “Great” Symphony.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director and Conductor
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, Violin
WALKER Sinfonia No. 4, “Strands”
SZYMANOWSKI Violin Concerto No. 2
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9, “Great”
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, work being done by Purchase alums, plus a sampling of arts experiences you just can’t miss. Enjoy!
All times are EDT unless otherwise noted.
Pictured: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria with Ailey II and students of The Ailey School. Photo © Paul Kolnik