This just in from Jeffrey Miller, music director of OperaDelaware: The first performances of the group’s 68th season will happen at the OperaDelaware Studios Sept. 28-30. The concert features four outstanding vocalists. Soprano Othalie Graham sang Turandot at OD, then made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in the Beethoven 9th Symphony over the summer. Also making her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in Beethoven’s 9th was OperaDelaware mezzo-soprano Margaret Mezzacappa. After she won top prize in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions this year, she sang as Azucena in Il trovatore at Opera Theater of New Jersey. John Pickle will make his first appearance with OD in this series before singing Canio in I pagliacci, and Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana here. Wilmington’s own Grant Youngblood who made his Met debut last season, will be singing in the studio series concerts and will return to OD in the spring for the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth. John and Grant will sing some arias from their roles as Canio and Macbeth. 658-8063, operade.org
Music in the Air
The new Music on the Brandywine program at Brandywine River Museum begins Sept. 20. The programs feature musicians from Astral Artists, a nonprofit formed to identify emerging classically trained artists. The first concert will feature soprano Kathryn Guthrie Demos, a winner of the Astral Artists’ 2012 National Auditions, who performs both traditional opera and contemporary works. She recently made her New York City Opera debut. She’ll be joined by pianist Andrew Hauze, director of the Swarthmore College Orchestra. 610-388-2700, brandywinemusuem.org
Join faculty, friends and students of The Music School of Delaware in a monthly jam session for enthusiasts of bluegrass and old time music. Play along or just hang out and listen. People of all ages and abilities are welcome. The Jam It! series starts Sept. 22, then continues on the fourth Saturday of every month (except November at the Wilmington campus). musicschoolofdelaware.org
The heavenly Serafin String Quartet has one major change for its season—the addition of new violist Esme Allen-Creighton—and it looks forward to publishing its next CD. See Allen-Creighton and learn more when the ensemble performs at Kennett Flash on Sept. 22. The concert, titled “Quartet Time Machine—From Haydn to Higdon,” will feature short selections by various composers from the 1700s to today. serafinquartet.org
Brandywine Baroque launches its season with Music for Queen Elizabeth, playing Hir Virginall Booke by Elizabeth Rogers and Consort songs by William Byrd from the age of Elizabeth I. (QEII celebrated her diamond jubilee in May.) The concerts are Sept. 29 at Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth Beach and Sept. 30 at The Barn at Flintwoods on Center Meeting Road in Wilmington. 877-594-4546, brandywinebaroque.org
The incomparable Mélomanie will perform the world premiere of “The Grease in the Groove by Chris Braddock” on Sept 29 at Immanuel Church in Wilmington. The ensemble is known for performing the music of regional composers Braddock, Ingrid Arauco, Mark Hagerty, Chuck Holdeman and Kile Smith, as well as Baroque music by Telemann and Boismortier. The “Grease” concert includes guest artist Eve Friedman, flute; Priscilla Smith, oboe; and Braddock, guitar and mandolin. How often do you get to see a world premiere? We promise that you’ll be impressed. 764-6338, melomanie.org
Los Angelenos Criminal
The Possum Point Players will stage “City of Angels” beginning Sept. 28. “City” will transport you to Hollywood in the 1940s through a musical homage to the great crime movies of the day. The show, with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by David Zippel, and book by Larry Gelbart, boasts two musical scores. One helps the cast reveal emotions appropriate to the moment. The other was written to emulate pure movie soundtrack music—swinging jazz, torchy ballads, witty lyrics and a Manhattan Transfer-like Greek chorus. The music has been said to be the most exciting jazz-swing score done for Broadway, with the wittiest lyrics. See—and hear—it at Possum Hall in Georgetown Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 5-7. 856-4560, possumpointplayers.org
More Great Theater
See the highs and lows, witness the backstage drama, and feel the sacrifices it takes to become a star, all in Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Gypsy.” The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, “Small World,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses and “Let Me Entertain You,” it gives a comical look at the ultimate show biz mother. It runs through Sept. 23 at The Wilmington Drama League. After that, look for “The Boys Next Door” Oct. 26-Nov. 4. 764-1192, wilmingtondramaleague.org
Going back to school has never been funnier than it is in the Tony-winning “The 25th Annual Putnam Couty Spelling Bee.” This hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst chronicles the experience of six adolescents in the spelling championship of a lifetime. Get in on the action. “Spelling Bee” will have you holding your ribs. See it through Oct. 28 at The New Candlelight Theatre. nctstage.org
The Museum Tour
“Picturing Poe: Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories and Poems” at the Brandywine River Museum shows how the master of the macabre inspired other artists, making him one of the world’s most illustrated authors. See drawings, paintings and first-edition books illustrated by 30 artists, including Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Robert Motherwell and F.O.C. Darley, who Poe selected by hand. See it through Nov. 15.
A grant from the Warhol Foundation changes the approach to art at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington for awhile by opening the curation process to the public. That means you can help create exhibits with the artists themselves, making art less about objects and works that hang on the walls, more about social interaction. See for yourself when planning for “Imperfect City” begins this fall for an opening in March. Till then, don’t miss “Young Country,” a traveling show of art that speaks of place. Organized by DCCA, it hit UArts in Philadelphia and Salisbury University in Maryland before its exhibition in Delaware. “Young Country” examines how artists living in fringe art centers are re-defining ideas of fine art, class, and “country” in America. The exhibition features artists who use rural images and subjects such as horseracing, honkytonks, and homesteading to address how the visual culture of a region shapes perception and identity. The show features work by artists from Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Houston, Seattle, New York, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, and other areas. The show grows as it travels. See it at the DCCA beginning Sept. 29.
Currently showing through Dec. 9 is “Natural Forces,” an exhibit of new large-scale sculpture and installations of burnt wood, spiraling metallic pieces, and cardboard constructions that explores the relationship between the destructive and creative forces of nature. Burnt wood, artist Alison Stigora says, bears evidence of survival. Intriguing. Finally, “And the WORD is…” continues through Oct. 14. A group exhibition, “Word” features four contemporary artists who use religious language in their work. That work ranges from humorous and ironic to revelatory. Stephanie Kirk’s photography shows messages on church signs such as, “God wants full custody, not a weekend visit,” and, “You think it’s hot here?” Blind sculptor David Stephens’ large wooden panels offer words from the Bible carved in Braille. Martin Brief’s 14-panel installation shows written book titles searched from Amazon.com containing the word “God.” Nick Kripal steel and salt installation takes center stage, spelling out “Epiphany.” All of it will make you think.
If you enjoy still life painting, see “The Aesthetic Moment: The Art of Still Life” now at Delaware Art Museum. This Outlooks series exhibition features 11 regional painters with different styles, but a common love for the genre. “Aesthetic Moment” is an apt title, given that “aesthetic” derives from the ancient Greek word for “perception.” The still life arrangements are uniquely perceived and rendered by the artists, then perceived uniquely again by the viewer. The featured artists are Stanley Bielen, Deborah Deichler, Dolya Dogal, Paul DuSold, Renee Foulks, Frances Galante, Scott Noel, Carolyn Pyfrom, Carlo Russo, David Shevlino and Frank Trefny. The guest curator is Paul DuSold of Philadelphia, who has shown his work widely across the United States over the last 30 years, concentrating on still life. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and has taught at various regional art schools. His unerring eye reveals a range of still life subjects, themes and styles that will astound you. 571-9590, delart.org
Little-known fact: The library at Hagley holds the records of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hence “100 Years of Picturing the Nation’s Business: Photographs from the Collection of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America,” which celebrates the chamber’s centennial. The exhibition shows famous—and not-so-famous—photos, some capturing significant moments such as reaction to the stock market crash, aftermath of the Dust Bowl and news of the Titanic sinking, some showing iconic companies such as Ford Motor Co. and American Airlines in their earliest days. The exhibition opens Sept. 8. While you’re there, see “The American Eagle: Symbol of Freedom and Enterprise to the du Pont Family.” The bird was an important symbol, one that Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield collected and displayed in her ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills. The exhibition is on view through Jan. 1. 658-2400, hagley.org 658-2400, hagley.org
It’s All About Us
In 1962, the interstate highway system was just getting traction, the Delaware Memorial Bridge had only one span, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry had not yet set sail. Fifty years later, the state is a much different place, and through it all, Delaware Today has been there to document the changes. See how in “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” at the Delaware History Center in Wilmington. The exhibit shows how the magazine has evolved from a small black-and-white publication with regular features like the quaint Flo Knows Fashion into the glossy, full-color publication you read today for the latest on great restaurants, the arts, emerging lifestyle trends, home design, interesting personalities and more. Objects from the collection of the Delaware Historical Society round out the story. “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” is informative, entertaining and nostalgic, and we humbly submit that you’ll find it as interesting as we here at DT do. 655-716, hsd.org
The Name Says it All
Fringe Wilmington Festival 2012 is nothing if not provocative and unconventional. This year’s fest goes down Sept. 26-30, with nearly 200 performance artists, visual artists and filmmakers converging downtown to do what they do the way they want to do it. It’s something to see—because you’re part of the action. fringewilmingtonde.com
Your Own Museum Show
If you are a young artist who dreams of seeing your work displayed on a museum wall, the Delaware Art Museum could help that dream come true. Coming soon is “12 x 12,” a group exhibition featuring works by Delaware artists between the ages of 13 and 18. Interested applicants must fill out an application found at delart.org, then take their completed submission to the museum on Oct. 6 to be considered for inclusion. The show will view Oct. 20-Jan.13 as part of the museum’s 100th anniversary celebration. Learn more at delart.org.
Finally, DCCA is recruiting a new class of volunteer guides—and you could be one of them. A seven-week training course will prepare you to develop tours for children and adults. No previous teaching or art experience necessary—just an enthusiasm for learning about contemporary art and for working with people. For more, contact education assistant Sarah Ware at 656-6466 ext. 7106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can be found at the DCCA front desk and online at thedcca.org/guideprogram 656-6466, thedcca.org