By Merle Exit
Despite the findings of Punxsutawney Phil, the spring season will start on schedule at the end of February — at least at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center.
Two well-known classics will spark the stage at QPAC, located on the campus of Queensborough Community College, one of which opens the season.
Teatro Lirico D’Europa will bring “La Traviata,” under the artistic direction of Gorgio Lalou. The classical opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi tells of a love affair between Violetta, a prostitute who tends to have sex with wealthy clients, and Alfredo, whom she must abandon in order to save his family’s honor. “The Drinking Song,” “Sempre libra,” and “Violetta Aria” are the best-known arias of this opera. It will be performed in Italian with English supertitles, Feb. 26.
The Russian National Ballet brings the highly acclaimed romance “Swan Lake,” composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and directed by Elena Radchencko. It’s “Main Theme” and “Four Little Swans” are two of the most recognizable musical pieces in this ballet that tells the tale of Princess Odette, known as the Swan Queen, who has been turned into a swan by an evil curse. She meets Prince Siegfried on the lake and tells him that the only way to break the sorcerer’s spell is by pledging his love to her. Does it happen? Find out March 26.
Ringling Bros. may be folding, but the New Shanghai Circus will have its day March 24. Forgoing performing animals, this troupe will dazzle you with acrobatic feats, contortionists, and athletics that fly in the face of gravity. State-of-the art lighting, choreography and music add to this energetic former Broadway show. Call it an afterparty for the Lunar New Year celebration.
You may want to get your tickets early for some upcoming concerts expected to sell out. Billy Porter has his debut at QPAC March 19. Porter won a Tony for his leading role performance in the Broadway show “Kinky Boots,” and most recently had a run in another Broadway hit, “Shuffle Along.” Four-man vocal group The Company Men packs 50 songs spanning six decades into a 90-minute show April 2 featuring a medley of hits from the likes of The Four Tops, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Michael Bublé, and The Temptations. And there is no need to recite the resumé of Vanessa Williams, who is already well known on stage and television. Williams greets the QPAC stage May 7.
If you’re looking for something quite different, be sure to check out “Artrageous” April 23. It’s music and art gone wild with this interactive troupe originally from New Mexico, which started out as a children’s theatre group in the ’80.
“It’s a magical journey through the decades, paying tribute to famous icons through live painting, live music, singing, dancing, life-size puppetry and audience interactions,” said Lauri Francis, who sings, dances, and paints in the show, as well as creating the costumes and choreography.
The show features music ranging from Ray Charles to John Lennon to Frank Sinatra, as well as audience participation, and artists create paintings live on stage.
Immediately following the performance, the resulting paintings will be auctioned off from the stage, and the proceeds donated to QPAC.