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A&E Editor's Picks for 2015

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  • | 11:00 p.m. December 29, 2014
'The Golden Cockerel'
'The Golden Cockerel'
  • Arts + Culture
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‘The Golden Cockerel’
When: Feb. 21 through March 19
Where: Sarasota Opera
Tickets: $19 to $125
Info: Call 366-8450 or visit

When it comes to opera, the larger and more colorful the better. The last opera Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote, “The Golden Cockerel,” depicts the downfall and folly of paranoid King Dodon as he attempts to protect his kingdom from invasion. The king enlists the help of an astrologer who offers a magic rooster to warn the king of mortal danger.

This exotic and expansive Russian opera is rarely performed in the United States and is a bright plume among Sarasota Opera’s sizable winter season, which includes productions of Puccini’s “Tosca,” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and Verdi’s original Paris version of “Don Carlos.”

‘Masterworks III: In Love’
When: Jan. 9 through Jan. 11
Where: Neel Performing Arts Center (Jan. 9) and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Tickets: $30 to $89
Info: Call 953-3434 or visit

Even though Valentine’s Day is a month away, the Sarasota Orchestra is bringing the sweeping movements and melodies of some of classical music’s greatest love stories to life. Richard Strauss’ “Death and Transfiguration,” Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s immortal “Romeo and Juliet Overture” and Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis et Cloé” will illuminate Sarasota with the sounds of heartbreak and love.

Accompanying the Sarasota Orchestra will be world-renowned flugelhorn and trumpet soloist Sergei Nakariokov. Called the “Caruso of the Trumpet,” Nakariokov’s horn will serenade audiences with performances of Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations” and Mozart’s “Concerto No. 4 for Horn.”

The Sarasota Ballet presents Dance Theatre of Harlem
When: Jan. 30 through Feb. 1
Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets: $35 to $105
Info: Call 359-0099 or visit

The Dance Theatre of Harlem is a giant in the ballet world. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, what began in a garage on 152nd Street in Harlem transformed into not only the first black classical dance company but one of the select ballet companies in the world. This is the company’s only performance in Florida this year.

‘Dancing Lessons’
When: Through Feb. 27
Where: Florida Studio Theatre
Tickets: $18 to $39
Info: Call 366-9000 or visit

A comedic yet heartfelt play that premiered earlier this summer at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass., “Dancing Lessons” presents the story of an antisocial geoscience professor seeking dance lessons from a professional dancer on the verge of a career-ending leg injury. It’s a comedy that reveals the demons and struggles of the odd couple with each successive dance step.

Julian Sands: a Celebration of Harold Pinter
When: Feb. 6 and Feb. 7
Where: Historic Asolo Theater
Tickets: $25 to $35; $10 with student ID
Info: Call 360-7399 or visit

One-man shows are usually autobiographical in nature. However, the esteemed British theater and film actor Julian Sands tackles one of the most intimidating figures of the modern theater: Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. Directed by John Malkovich, Sands dives into and delivers the words, thoughts and menacing writings of the inimitable but constantly copied playwright of plays such as “The Birthday Party,” “Betrayal,” “No Man’s Land” and “The Homecoming.”

Wright, Graziano and Taylor
When: March 27 through 30
Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets: $35 to $105
Info: Call 359-0099 or visit

New works are something to be celebrated and appreciated, no matter what form or shape in which they arrive. The Sarasota Ballet’s resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano will premiere his newest ballet (the fifth he’s created for the company), along with performances of modern classics: Sir Peter Wright’s “Summertide” and Paul Taylor’s “Company B.” This sublime combination of new and old works side by side will invigorate one’s dancing palate. The series is a prime example of the formula that has made Sarasota Ballet such a success in the past decade: supporting new artists while relishing in established masters.

Embracing Our Differences Art Exhibit
When: March 29 through May 31
Where: Sarasota’s Island Park and Bradenton Riverwalk
Tickets: Free to public
Info: Call 404-5710 or visit

This annual public art exhibit returns to Sarasota and Bradenton’s waterfronts this spring. Juried and organized by the Embracing Our Differences organization, the art exhibit collects artwork from an array of local, national and international artists as well as local students. That artwork is then presented on 39 individual billboard-size canvases for the public to enjoy. Each piece represents the organization’s cherished notions of diversity, respect and inclusion. The gallery not only gives students and local artists exposure, but also teaches area school students the power and importance of diversity and understanding.

When: Feb. 11 through March 1
Where: The Players Theatre
Tickets: $25 to $30
Info: Call 365-2494 or visit

This musical focuses on the journey of Violet Karl as she travels by Greyhound bus in fall 1964 from Spruce Pine, N.C., to Tulsa, Okla., for a televangelist to heal her disfigured and scarred face. With music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics and book by Brian Crawley, this cross-country story has received wider acclaim with last year’s Broadway revival starring Tony Award-winning actress Sutton Foster assuming the title role.

The Ringling Underground
When: Feb. 5 and the first Thursday of every month
Where: The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Tickets: $10 and free for students with valid college ID
Info: Call 359-5700 or visit

The best art party in Sarasota returns in February to the Ringling. Taking place on the first Thursday of every month from 8 to 11 p.m., visitors of every age collect in the museum’s statue courtyard and view local artists’ work as well as listen to local and regional bands playing underneath Michelangelo’s “David.” And if modern art and local music isn’t one’s style, the rest of the Ringling’s galleries are open to visitors for viewing. It’s a night of drinks, conversation, art and music in one of the most picturesque settings in Sarasota.

‘Sotto Voce’
When: March 31 through April 26
Where: The Historic Asolo Theater
Tickets: $15 to $26
Info: Call 351-8000 or visit

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz’s new play, “Sotto Voce,” docks itself at Asolo Rep this spring. The play is based on the true events of the journey of the German ocean liner the St. Louis. The ship was carrying more than 900 refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany who were denied asylum by Cuba, Canada and the United States. In Cruz’s play, a young Jewish-Cuban man named Saquiel searches for the memories and fates of those on board who had to return to Europe, including his grand aunt. “Sotto Voce” is a dream play where past and present intermix; it’s another great addition to Asolo Rep’s continuing journey to uncover the complexities of the American character.


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