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16 Dance, Art, Classical, and Opera Shows Worth a Visit This Fall

From classic to cutting-edge, these shows deserve a spot on every culture lover’s to-do list this fall.

From left: Hedwig Dances, DanzAbierta, Kelly Anderson, and dancers in Swan Lake Photos: (Hedwig) Bill Frederking; (Anderson) Matthew Gregory Hollis; (Swan Lake) Cheryl Mann

Dance


Swan Lake

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon sets Swan Lake in 19th-century Paris. October 15 and 16. Joffrey Ballet

Hedwig Dances

The modern troupe teams up with Cuban company DanzAbierta to examine life in the Midwest and the Caribbean. October 9 to 11. Columbia College

Peep Show

Two choreographers develop routines in real time with input from the audience and plenty of booze. October 6, November 3, December 1. Links Hall

Message Me If . . .

Avant-garde choreographer and dancer Kelly Anderson tackles the trials of online dating. November 14 to 16. Links Hall

 

From left: Wangechi Mutu, Shaquille O’Neal, and Riva Lehrer Photos: (Mutu) Jimi Celeste/patrickmcmullan.com/AP; (O’Neal) Genevieve Ross/AP; (Lehrer) Kevin Nance

Art


Ensor’s Dark Side

A lesser known contemporary of Van Gogh, Belgian artist James Ensor produced work that is disturbing and often funny. November 23 to January 25. Art Institute of Chicago

Examining the Body

Local artist Riva Lehrer dissects the experience of painting a human body in a presentation called “A Self-Portrait in Formaldehyde.” October 25. Block Museum of Art

Complex Beauty

The Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based collagist Wangechi Mutu takes on feminism, colonialism, and race. Through December 7. Block Museum of Art

Shaq Selects

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal curates an exhibit at Expo Chicago titled Shaq Loves People, a series of contemporary portraits. September 18 to 21. Navy Pier

 

Clockwise from left: Carlos Miguel Prieto, Pierre Boulez, Alice Sara Ott, and ACME Photos: (Prieto) Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune; (Boulez) Todd Rosenberg; (Ott) Felix Broede/DG; (ACME) Ryuhei Shindo;

Classical


Mozart’s Requiem

This orchestral behemoth was unfinished when Mozart died at age 35. The portion he left behind glimpses immortality. October 19. Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Prieto and Yeh

Carlos Miguel Prieto conducts CSO principal percussionist Cynthia Yeh as she buries James MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel under a welter of cymbals and mallets. December 18 to 20. Symphony Center

Bartók and Boulez

Pianist Alice Sara Ott, 26, plays Bartók in a program that also includes Figures-Doubles-Prismes by 89-year-old Pierre Boulez. November 12 to 15. Symphony Center

American Contemporary Music Ensemble

The talent-glutted musicians of ACME play off-kilter grooves by the psychedelic sometimes-rocker Joseph Byrd. October 26. Constellation

 

From left: Renée Fleming and Eric Owens Photo: (Fleming) Ken Howard; (Owens) Terrence McCarthy

Opera


Porgy and Bess

Baritone Eric Owens reprises his role as Porgy in the hottest operatic event of the season. November 17 to December 20. Civic Opera House

Capriccio

For the past four years, Renée Fleming’s fingers have been in the Lyric Opera’s staged productions—but now her sterling voice will be in one, too. October 6 to 28. Civic Opera House

Gli Equivoci nel Sembiante

Alessandro Scarlatti’s baroque opera has been mounted only a handful of times in its 335-year history. October 24 to 25. Haymarket Opera Company

Hecuba

Oracle Hysterical, the opera-stretching avant-gardists, present an unstaged version of their concept album based on the Euripides play. November 6. Constellation

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