Arts & Culture

New Harriman-Jewell Series to bring ‘star power’ with Romanian soprano, dance groups

Pepper land dress rehearsal and press night. Images by Gareth Jones
Pepper land dress rehearsal and press night. Images by Gareth Jones

The Harriman-Jewell Series will celebrate its 55th anniversary with a season of classical stars. Two of the world’s biggest divas are part of the celebration, as are two of America’s best dance companies.

It’s going to an awesome season for pianists, too, with two of the world’s greatest players. There are also some big ensembles, too, like the Boston Pops conducted by Keith Lockhart and the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra.

This current season features three world-class orchestras, so Clark Morris, executive director of the Harriman-Jewell Series, said next season, he wanted to focus on individual performers.

“It will be the 55th anniversary of the series, so we wanted to make sure it’s a spectacular season and that we had plenty of what I would call star power,” said Clark Morris, executive director of the Harriman-Jewell Series. “We had an inordinate concentration of large orchestras last year, so we intentionally weighted ourselves a little heavier in individual stars, particularly in voice. We feel like we have stars all over the season, but certainly its packed with vocal stars, particularly female vocal stars.”

Like the Tony Award-winning and Emmy-nominated Broadway star Kelli O’Hara. Or the rising star Nadine Sierra, winner of the Richard Tucker award, who has made successful debuts at the Met, La Scala and the Paris Opera.

Angela Gheorghiu_Simon Fowler.jpg
Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu Simon Fowler

But the big news for opera buffs is the first-ever appearance on the Harriman-Jewell Series of the Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu.

Gheorghiu is one of the greatest opera singers of our day. She has sung all the great roles in all the great opera houses and now she’s coming to Kansas City. Kudos to the Harriman-Jewell Series for pulling this one off.

Next season will also see the return of Kansas City’s hometown diva, Joyce DiDonato. She’s coming with the exciting early music band Il Pomo D’Oro, a group that is worthy of a concert on its own.

The youthful and exciting Aspen Santa Fe Ballet returns next year with its invigorating and unique take on dance. And Mark Morris Dance Group is bringing its production of “Pepperland,” a ballet commissioned by the city of Liverpool to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles classic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

“Mark’s choreography is extremely musical,” Morris said. “He is like a symphony conductor. He really absorbs the music and what comes out is choreography that is completely intertwined with the score. ‘Pepperland’ has both Beatles music in it and music that pays tribute to the style of the Beatles. And the music will be live, so that’s wonderful.”

And the acclaimed pianist Mitsuko Uchida is returning. Uchida is bringing the highly regarded Mahler Chamber Orchestra for a program of Mozart piano concertos. The Grammy-winning pianist first made her mark in the 1980s with her recording of all of Mozart’s piano sonatas. She is generally regarded as one of the world’s finest Mozart interpreters.

Tchaikovsky International Competition winner Daniil Trifonov will make his Harriman-Jewell Series debut next season. International Piano magazine says that “Daniil Trifonov’s playing is a heady mix of super-virtuoso and the ability to generate the utmost tenderness.”

Tchaikovsky International Competition winner Daniil Trifonov will make his Harriman-Jewell Series debut Dario Acosta Deutsche Grammophone

Fans of film music and sonic spectaculars will not want to miss the Boston Bops conducted by Keith Lockhart in a program devoted to music by John Williams. Williams conducted the Boston Pops for more than a decade, so the orchestra has Williams’ music in its bones. This promises to be one of the biggest crowd-pleasing concerts of next season.

And there’s a special Christmas treat, too: Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with “Big Band Holidays.” How could this not be a great time?

For more information, visit Prices are TBA.

Kelli O’Hara: Oct. 12 at Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Nadine Sierra: Oct. 19 at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet: Oct. 25 at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Dec. 15 at the Folly Theater

Big Band Holidays: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Dec. 5 at the Midland Theatre, 1228 Main St.

Pepperland — Mark Morris Dance Group: Feb. 8, 2020, at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre

Siberian State Symphony Orchestra: March 5 at Helzberg Hall

Daniil Trifonov: March 12 at the Folly Theater

Mitsuko Uchida, Mahler Chamber Orchestra: March 22 at the Folly Theater

Lights, Camera … Music! Six Decades of John Williams: April 6 at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre

Angela Gheorghiu: April 26 at Helzberg Hall

Joyce DiDonato and Il Pomo d’Oro: May 29 at Muriel Kauffman Theatre

Bach Aria Soloists

The intrepid Bach Aria Soloists is “Celebrating Women” Feb. 1 at the 1900 Building.

BAS regulars — violinist Elizabeth Suh Lane, keyboardist Elisa Bickers and soprano Sarah Tannehnill Anderson — will be joined by the wonderful cellist Hannah Collins for a program of music entirely by female composers.

And what a rich trove of music it is. From the medieval abbess Hildegard von Bingen to the cutting edge music of Chen Yi, the program highlights the genius and diversity of women composers through the ages.

7:30 p.m. Feb. 1. 1900 Building, 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mission Woods. $17-$35. 816-820-1473 or

Related stories from Kansas City Star