Detroit Design Festival: This five-day event presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), is a community-curated and supported design festival developed to showcase the talents and abilities of Detroit’s creative communities. Events held along the Woodward Corridor from downtown to the New Center — as well as in several other city neighborhoods — include studio tours, panel and roundtable discussions, lectures, product and fashion shows (pictured above), product launches, retail happenings, and design battles. Sept. 19–23.
Movement Center at N’Namdi: Over the last few years, the G.R. N’Namdi Gallery in Midtown has expanded into what is now the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, a campus that includes the gallery, vegetarian restaurant Seva, a theater and performance space, and the Movement Center for emerging artists. On Sept. 22, the Movement Center hosts an exhibition of local singer Ben Sharkey’s visual work (pictured above), including seven large oil-and-wax paintings that comment on “beauty and plastic surgery in contemporary culture,” Sharkey says. The weekend-long Doll Face show is the first in a series of pop-up exhibits at the Movement Center, which aims to provide a platform for newcomers under the guidance and curatorial direction of gallery owner George N’Namdi.
Dlectricity: In its inaugural year, Dlectricity plans to feature both new and well-known artists for a weekend festival of light, sound, and projection. Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood will be the locus for more than 30 art installations, in which artists will illuminate various buildings and spaces along the Woodward Corridor, transforming them into temporary but thought-provoking exhibits. Artists will mix “sci-fi technology with Victorian spectacle on a grand scale” in order to bring contemporary art to the crowds expected throughout the weekend. 7 p.m.- midnight. Oct. 5 and 5 p.m.- 2 a.m. Oct. 6. Free.
Midtown Detroit; 313-420-6000, dlectricity.com.
Manet: Portraying Life: The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is renowned for its impressive glass collection, but it also showcases some top-notch painting exhibitions. A case in point is this show devoted to Édouard Manet (1832-83), a keen observer of Parisian social life. Although he’s usually lumped in with the Impressionists, Manet resisted such labels, and his use of the color black (eschewed by the Impressionists) kept his style individualistic. Manet: Portraying Life, organized by the TMA and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, is devoted to the painter’s portraits, which are notable because Manet usually placed his subjects in casual settings rather than in formally posed situations. The exhibit includes about 40 works from 25 museums in Europe, the United States, Japan, and other countries — and Toledo is the exclusive North American venue. Opens Oct. 7 and runs through Jan. 1. $8 adults, $5 seniors and students.
In the Canaday Gallery at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St., Toledo, Ohio; 419-255-8000, toledomuseum.org.
Simone Dinnerstein: In classical circles, it was almost a given for years that no one could touch Glenn Gould’s interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, so there was no use in trying to compete on CD. Then came Simone Dinnerstein’s (See-mon-ah DIN-ner-steen) probing recording of the work in 2007, which shot up to the top of the Billboard Classical Chart. She followed up with Bach: A Strange Beauty, and most recently with an album devoted to Schubert and Bach: Something Almost Being Said. The American pianist will turn 40 this month, so she still has a lot to say, musically. Her program with the Cranbrook Music Guild includes Chopin, Brahms, Felsenfeld, Schumann, and of course, Bach. 8 p.m. Oct. 10. $15-$25.
Christ Church Cranbrook, 470 Church Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-0097, cranbrookmusicguild.org.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra: If the DSO seems to be playing Aaron Copland’s music with a special intensity in October, it’s for good reason. Leonard Slatkin and the troops are recording Copland’s complete ballet music live, so they’ll be putting their all into the performances. In one particularly inviting program, the DSO will take on the American composer’s Dance Panels,
El Salon México, and Danzón Cubano, along with Ravel’s ever-popular Boléro and his Piano Concerto in G, with the inventive Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero handling the solo duties. 10:45 a.m. Oct 12, 8 p.m. Oct. 13, and 3 p.m. Oct. 14. $15-$100.
Orchestra Hall in the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward, Detroit; 313-576-5111, dso.org.
Fabergé: The Rise and Fall, the Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Peter Carl Fabergé and his artisans are best known for exquisitely wrought Easter eggs made for the czar and his family, but Fabergé made many other gorgeous objets d’art, including jewelry, frames, animal figurines, cigarette cases, ring boxes, and other items. Fabergé’s workers used marvelous materials such as lapis lazuli, nephrite jade, gold, and rubies, but what was most notable was the superior craftsmanship that was the hallmark of the House of Fabergé. This exhibit includes more than 200 objects from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which has the largest Fabergé collection in the United States. It also chronicles Peter Carl Faberge’s ascendancy, business acumen, and eventual downfall after the Russian Revolution. Oct. 14-Jan. 21. $15 adults, $8 ages 6-17.
Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward, Detroit; 313-833-7900, dia.org.
Detroit Passport to the Arts: The Mediterranean and outer space are destinations this season as Detroit Passport to the Arts (DP2A) takes the city on a unique adventure. DP2A, which is geared to young arts aficionados, takes area shows and packages them into six themes. Every passport member will have access to each art event, which includes a performance and after-party event that match that night’s theme. The first stop is the Mediterranean, as passport holders will enjoy a performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Detroit Opera House. It’s performed in Rossini’s native Italian but set in the Spanish city of Seville, so attendees can experience both cultures with a wine tasting and the sounds of the Mediterranean. The second themed night is called “The Qube” (in the former Chase Tower) and the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings will play their new series “Structurally Sound” with help from Detroit’s techno community. Other themes include Cuba, Hollywood, and even outer space. DP2A is a collaborative effort between six Detroit arts organizations to attract young audiences to the city’s arts and cultural scene by making it affordable and accessible. Oct. 19, Nov. 18, Jan. 19, February (date to be determined), March 23, and May 4. $100 for full-time, degree-seeking students who are 45 years and younger or $125 for those 45 years and younger.
Hilberry Theatre: Wayne State’s heralded graduate repertory theater (the nation’s oldest such company) is marking its 50th anniversary this season. Among the offerings, the most intriguing appears to be the Michigan premiere of Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit, but that comedy doesn’t open until January. In the meantime, you can seldom go wrong with classic Shakespeare, and the Bard’s Othello, a tale of jealously, love, and murder, is drama at its most riveting. Oct. 26-Jan. 17. Ticket prices to be announced.
4743 Cass, Detroit; 313-577-2972, hilberry.com.
New York City Ballet: Detroiters are in for a treat this fall as the country’s largest dance organization comes to the Detroit Opera House. This is a rare performance experience as the New York City Ballet (NYCB) rarely tours and has not performed in Detroit since 1966, when the company performed at the Masonic Auditorium. New York native Lincoln Kirstein and a young-and-upcoming Russian choreographer named George Balanchine dreamed of creating a dance company that celebrated American performers and choreographers in the 1930s. In 1948, after numerous attempts to establish a successful company with American Ballet, American Ballet Caravan, and Ballet Society, the duo had success with NYCB. Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, created the New York City Ballet MOVES program in 2011 to give audiences from all walks of life the opportunity to see one of the world’s best ballet companies firsthand. Revisiting its early touring roots, MOVES consists of select members of the 90-person troupe, varying in rank from principal to corps de ballet dancers. They will perform a variety of works from Balanchine’s historical repertoire such as Apollo and Serenade to cutting-edge modern works by today’s choreographers. Says Maria Kowroski, a NYCB principal dancer and Grand Rapids native: “The MOVES tour will bring unique repertory on the road and introduced cities to our amazing company.” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28. $25-$125.
Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-961-3500, motopera.org.
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum: The Zaha Hadid-designed building (pictured above) on the campus of Michigan State University debuts with an outdoor ceremony Nov. 9 followed by an open house the next day. The museum, dedicated to exploring international contemporary culture and ideas through art, is named for Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced Brode), longtime MSU supporters who provided the lead gift of $28 million toward the museum. Broad, a 1951 graduate of Detroit Central High School (and later MSU), and his wife live in Los Angeles, where they are dedicated to philanthropy. Over the past four decades, they have built two of the most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art worldwide: The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection and The Broad Art Foundation. The combined collections include about 2,000 works by more than 150 artists. The Broad/MSU’s inaugural exhibitions, curated by director Michael Rush, are: Global Groove 1973/2012, which will use Nam June Paik’s 1973 video Global Groove as a starting point to explore current trends in international video art, and In Search of Time, which will investigate artists’ expressions of time and memory through works by Josef Albers, Romare Bearden, Damien Hirst, Toba Khedoori, Andy Warhol, Eadweard Muybridge, and Sam Jury, among others. Free.
556 E. Circle Dr. at Grand River and Farm Lane; 517-884-3900, broadmuseum.msu.edu.
Julius Caesar: No, not the Shakespeare play; it’s Handel’s opera. Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) has been operating for more than 40 years, but this is the first time it will mount the Baroque masterpiece. Handel’s score calls for some bravura singing, but that should be a piece of cake for countertenor David Daniels, who assumes the title role. A South Carolina native, Daniels is a graduate of U-M and has been lauded the world over for his agile, expressive voice. He’ll be making his MOT debut, but he’s an old hand at singing Handel; his first CD was devoted to arias by that composer. And if you’ve never heard a countertenor, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. It’s an unusually high-placed, but completely natural, male voice. The stage design should be a bit of a jolt, too. MOT promises “a glamorized classic Hollywood version of Egypt.” Cleopatra would probably love that. Nov. 10-18. $25-$125.
Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-237-SING, motopera.org.
Detroit Historical Museum: The museum will have its bandages removed in November after receiving its first series of renovations — roughly 7,500 square feet of updates and additions — since the 1960s. Along with the revitalizing nips and tucks to older features such as the beloved Streets of Old Detroit, the museum will house a few new major spaces. Among these are the Allesee Gallery of Culture, which pays tribute to Detroit’s 20th-century architecture, sports, and entertainment figures, and the Gallery of Innovation, through which visitors will gain a better understanding of the challenges that faced Detroit’s entrepreneurial and innovative community. Another new exhibit, Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy, will take a look at Detroit during World War II, showcasing the challenges and victories of the city. The exhibit will also highlight the impact that women and racial and cultural groups had on the city during the war. Improvements in lighting and signage have been added to previously existing exhibits to accompany innumerable new artifacts. The museum reopens Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.
5401 Woodward, Detroit; 313-833-1805, detroithistorical.org.
Jekyll & Hyde: The hit musical is headed back to Broadway this spring, but before it does, it’s making the rounds around the country, including Detroit. The long-maned Constantine Maroulis (pictured above, left), of American Idol fame, takes on the title role (one could just as easily say “roles” because of the character’s split personality) of the mild-mannered Dr. Henry Jekyll and the nefarious Edward Hyde. The poor fellow has an identity crisis, as chronicled in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The musical takes a few liberties with the book, including introducing a couple of Jekyll’s paramours. Haven’t yet seen Jekyll & Hyde? As a song from the musical says, “This Is the Moment.” Deborah Cox (above, right) co-stars. Nov. 27-Dec. 2. Ticket prices to be announced.
Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 1-800-982-2787 or 313-872-1000, broadwayindetroit.com.
Dianne Reeves Quartet: Reeves (pictured above), one of the world’s top jazz singers — she’s amassed four Grammys — was born in Detroit but brought up in Denver, where she still lives. Her early influence was Sarah Vaughan, and her affection for the Sassy One is evident even today. In 2005, Reeves was a natural in the film Good Night, and Good Luck, in which she played a jazz singer and also recorded the soundtrack, which led to one of her Grammys. Whether she’s crooning a ballad like Peggy Lee’s “There’ll Be Another Spring” or raising the roof with a jumped-up version of “How High the Moon,” Reeves’ smoky but clarion instrument is always a pleasure. This concert includes a set from singer/songwriter/guitarist Raul Midón. 8 p.m. Dec. 8. $10-$48.
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538, ums.org.
Top photograph by Noah Stephens; Manet portrait courtesy of the Toledo Museum of Art; Simone Dinnerstein photograph by Lisa Marie Mazzucco; Fabergé box photograph by Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Broad Museum photograph by Derrick L. Turner, Michigan State University; Diane Reeves photograph by Christian Lantry.