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Best Virtual Bets: Copland, Solaris, and A DoMexticated Love Story

ROCO will premiere a new work by composer Milad Yousufi during their Connections season finale Journey to America.EXPAND
ROCO will premiere a new work by composer Milad Yousufi during their Connections season finale Journey to America.
Photo by Blueprint Film Co.
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Another week, another set of offerings from the Houston arts community. But again, there’s an opportunity to get out of the house responsibly to enjoy a little socially distanced cinema or, if you’d rather, plenty to enjoy from the comforts of your own living room. Keep reading for this week’s best virtual bets.

ROCO concludes their Connections series tonight, March 11, at 7 p.m. with a program titled Journey to America. The livestreamed concert, presented in partnership with Holocaust Museum Houston, will feature the world premiere of a quintet by Afghan composer Milad Yousufi co-commissioned with Winsor Music Consortium. Yousufi describes the piece, My Journey to America, as “very diverse” with feelings of “sadness, grief, happiness and longing. Every movement has a different color to it.” Joining Yousufi’s quintet on the program are works from two other composers who immigrated to the United States, Igor Stravinsky and Bohuslav Martinu, and a fanfare from Tim Hinck based on interviews the composer conducted with migrant children. You can read a preview of the concert by the Houston Press here and view the concert here.

This Friday, March 12, at 7 p.m. you can join The Moody Center for the Arts, in partnership with Rice Cinema, for a virtual screening of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film Solaris. From a 1961 science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, Tarkovsky created a “passionate human drama” with "intensely individual characters" that took home the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. Roger Ebert once noted that “no director makes greater demands on our patience,” but it was with good reason: “Tarkovsky consciously tried to create art that was great and deep.” The Moody’s Artist-in-Residence Byron Kim, featured in their exhibit "Artists and the Rothko Chapel: 50 Years of Inspiration," will introduce the film which also served as inspiration for the paintings on view. You can view the livestream here.

Stages Studio Sessions return this spring with six new hour-long programs, performed and filmed on the Sterling Stage at The Gordy. The first installment, premiering Friday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m., will feature Jasminne and Lupe Mendez, who will utilize poetry, improv, and more to share their story and experiences as a bi-cultural, multi-racial couple in America during DoMexticated: A Love Story. You can register here to watch the livestream on YouTube or catch it on demand for 48 hours following Friday’s premiere. Stages Studio Sessions will continue through the spring with Teresa Zimmermann, Muhammad F. Khaerisman and Pajama Sam, John Ryan Del Bosque, Anna Maria Morris, and Carolyn Johnson.

Movies at Market Square Park return for the spring, courtesy of the Houston Downtown Management District, this Friday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. with a screening the Joel Schumacher-directed, Brat Pack classic St. Elmo’s Fire. Bring your own blankets or lawn chairs and take comfort in their COVID safety requirements such as limited occupancy, screening questions and temperature checks, mandatory face coverings, and physical distancing, including 8-foot wide circles on the lawn for groups of up to four people. The 80’s and 90’s films will continue through May, with movies like Heathers, The Princess Bride, and Coming to America all on the schedule.

Tenor Jack Swanson has been “a sweet-natured, sensitive Candide,” an “eloquent Lindoro,” and has brought “refreshing ease and lyricism” to Belmonte from Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. On Friday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. Swanson will lend his high lyric voice to Live from The Cullen with Jack Swanson, presented by Houston Grand Opera. Swanson, a finalist of HGO’s 2016 Concert of Arias who was tapped to perform in HGO’s cancelled January production of La Cenerentola, will instead join Richard Bado, director of artistic operations and chorus master at HGO, for the free virtual recital. You can stream the recital or catch it on-demand through April 11. You can read an interview with Swanson and a preview of the recital here.

Houston Symphony Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio tackles Aaron Copland in this weekend's concert at Jones Hall.EXPAND
Houston Symphony Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio tackles Aaron Copland in this weekend's concert at Jones Hall.
Photo by Anthony Rathbun

Houston Symphony Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio will shine this Saturday, March 13, at 8 p.m. when the Houston Symphony presents Mark Nuccio Plays Copland. The titular piece is Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, an unconventional, “lyrical and jazz-influenced” two-movement work commissioned by bandleader Benny Goodman in 1947. The program, conducted by Juraj Valcuha, also includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings. You can purchase a ticket to the concert, livestreamed straight from Jones Hall, for $20 here.

Ars Lyrica Houston will be busy this weekend with two events, one in-person concert (following COVID-19 rules, of course) and one virtual only concert. First, on Saturday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. the Ars Lyrica Houston String Quartet will play a program of Baroque and classical pieces on the lawn at Levy Park in front of a socially distanced, face-covered audience during Baroque Blockbusters. Bring a picnic blanket and arrive early to stake out your space for the free concert.

Or, if you’d rather stay safe at home, you can purchase a ticket to Signature Works on Sunday, March 14, at 6 p.m. The Ars Lyrica Houston virtual concert, featuring countertenor Jay Carter and soprano Sherezade Panthaki, will include performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, which was “based on a 13th-century medieval poem by the same name that embodies the pain of the Virgin Mary as she stood in agony watching her son being crucified.” You can purchase a single event pass to the concert, broadcast on YouTube, here for $10.

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