Kansas City’s arts presenters seem to have had fall in mind when they put together their programs for the next several months.
The Harriman-Jewell Series is presenting Riccardo Muti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Known as “The Romantic,” it’s the aural equivalent of a medieval autumnal forest.
The Lyric Opera of Kansas City is offering a new production of “Eugene Onegin,” a work that ugs at the heart like the ephemeral beauty of falling autumn leaves. You can also enjoy a Kansas City Chorale concert of “Haunted” choral music, the witchy opera “Hänsel and Gretel” and the silent horror film “Nosferatu” given a sonic blast by the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’ organ.
There are many other treats besides. But, thankfully, no candy corn.
▪ The Lyric Opera of Kansas City will begin its season with Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” Sept. 30-Oct. 8 at the Kauffman Center’s Muriel Kauffman Theatre. With its love-sick aristocrats, a long-suffering woman and a fatal duel, Alexander Pushkin’s tale, on which Tchaikovsky based his opera, is a quintessential work of Russian Romanticism. The opera, suffused with Slavic melodies and heartache, has an autumnal feel that makes it perfect for the season.
▪ After Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony finished their performance of Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony two years ago at the Kauffman Center’s Helzberg Hall, Muti promised the ecstatic crowd that he and the orchestra would return. On Oct. 11 they’re going to make good on that promise.
The concert, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series, will feature the magnificent and moody Symphony No. 4 by Anton Bruckner, a composer whose music is rarely heard live in Kansas City. Starting things off will be Gioacchino Rossini’s galloping “William Tell” Overture.
▪ Devon Carney, the Kansas City Ballet’s artistic director, has an intimate knowledge of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo & Juliet,” having danced the role of Romeo several times. Oct. 13-22, the Kansas City Ballet will present the world premiere of “Romeo & Juliet” choreographed by Carney. His wealth of knowledge and experience should give a deeply personal quality to William Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers.
▪ The Grammy Award-winning Kansas City Chorale conducted by Charles Bruffy will present a “Haunted Concert” Oct. 14 at the 1900 Building and Oct. 17 at St. Paul’s Church. Bruffy has lined up some chilling and thrilling choral works like Dmitry Smirnov’s “A Casket Made of Cypress Wood,” “Double, Double Toil and Trouble” by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi and the ancestor of all gothic music, the “Dies Irae” from the Gregorian chant Requiem Mass.
▪ Also in time for the witching season, the opera department of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance will present “Hänsel and Gretel” Oct. 26-29 at White Recital Hall. Engelbert Humperdinck’s tuneful yet spooky fairy tale opera will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween. The sets and costumes will be made entirely of paper, and Fenlon Lamb, the conservatory’s director of opera, says, “It’ll be a real feast for eyes and ears.”
▪ A silent horror film accompanied by Helzberg Hall’s Casavant organ has become an annual treat provided by the Kansas City Symphony. This year’s film on Oct. 31 is “Nosferatu,” the 1922 silent vampire classic directed by F.W. Murnau. Organist Dorothy Papadakos, a specialist at accompanying silent films, knows exactly how to extract every blood-curdling drop of sound from her instrument to accentuate Murnau’s expressionistic horror.
▪ So much of Antonin Dvorak’s music expresses a heartbreaking nostalgia that makes it especially appealing in the fall. The Kansas City Symphony conducted by Michael Stern will perform Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony Oct. 27-29 at Helzberg Hall. Trilling with birdsong, sweet, tuneful melodies and a joyous finale, Dvorak’s Eighth is a sunbeam of a symphony.
Also on the program is the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich with violinist Mayu Kishima as soloist.
▪ Classical superstars don’t get much bigger than Joshua Bell. The Harriman-Jewell Series will present the beloved violinist accompanied by pianist Alessio Bax on Oct. 21 at Helzberg Hall. This promises to be one of the biggest concerts of the season, so nab your tickets fast.
▪ On Nov. 10, the Performing Arts Series of Johnson County Community College will present the Harlem Quartet with special guest Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán. The Harlem Quartet puts on a lively show, and with López-Gavilán at the keyboard, this should be a fiesta of Cuban rhythms and melodies.
▪ The Friends of Chamber Music will present its biennial Christmas concert by the Tallis Scholars on Dec. 1 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Specializing in Renaissance polyphony, the Tallis Scholars never serve up overdone Christmas music, and this year that’s more true than ever.
“Commemorating 500 Years of Heinrich Isaac” will feature hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Renaissance masters Josquin des Prez, Nicolas Gombert and Heinrich Isaac, an extremely influential Flemish composer whose music even inspired 20th century serialist composer Anton Webern.
You can reach Patrick Neas at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at www.facebook.com/kcartsbeat.
Sept. 30-Oct. 8: Lyric Opera: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-7344 or kcopera.org.
Oct. 11: Harriman-Jewell Series presents the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-415-5025 or hjseries.org.
Oct. 13-22: The Kansas City Ballet presents Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo & Juliet” with the world premiere of Devon Carney’s choreography. Muriel Kauffman Theatre. 816-931-8993 or www.kcballet.org.
Oct.14 & 17: The Kansas City Chorale presents “A Haunted Concert.” Oct. 14 at the 1900 Building, 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mission Woods, and Oct. 17 at St. Paul’s Church, 11 E. 40th St. 816-235-6222 or kcchorale.org.
Oct. 21: Harriman-Jewell Series presents violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Alessio Bax. Helzberg Hall. 816-415-5025 or hjseries.org.
Oct. 26-29: The opera department of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance presents “Hänsel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck. White Recital Hall, 4949 Cherry St. 816-235-6222 or tinyurl.com/y9nkuz38.
Oct. 27-29: The Kansas City Symphony conducted by Michael Stern performs Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with violinist Mayu Kishima. Helzberg Hall. 816-471-0400 or kcsymphony.org.
Oct. 31: The Kansas City Symphony presents “Nosferatu” accompanied by organist Dorothy Papadakos. Helzberg Hall. 816-471-0400 or kcsymphony.org.
Nov. 10: The Performing Arts Series of Johnson County Community College presents the Harlem Quartet with pianist Aldo López-Gavilán. Yardley Hall, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. 913-469-4445 or jccc.edu/theseries.
Dec. 1: The Friends of Chamber Music presents the Tallis Scholars. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 W. 12th St. 816-561-9999 or chambermusic.org.