Editor's Note 4:45 p.m. 1-8-21: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Tony DeSare is replacing David Caceres in the Houston Symphony's Big Band program.
Today is apparently National Bobblehead Day (and yes, we’re surprised that’s a thing, too). We don’t have any bobblehead-related activities coming up, but we do have dance, theater, opera, and more for you to virtually tune in to this week.
As fun as it’s been partaking in all the virtual events over the past few months – and seeing how responsive and flexible many of our arts organizations have been – tonight you can hear about what’s really on our minds: vaccines (and hopefully an eventual end to this pandemic). Asia Society Texas Center will host a webcast tonight, January 7, at 7:30 p.m., COVID-19 Vaccines: What To Expect in 2021, with former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health Dr. Barry Bloom. The moderated discussion will begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by an audience Q&A at 8:10 p.m. You can watch live (and submit questions) through YouTube Live or Facebook Live.
A little pandemic couldn’t stop a Bayou City tradition, but you are down to the last two days to catch Houston Ballet’s holiday offering, Nutcracker Sweets, which will be on-demand until tomorrow, January 8. The hour-long mixed repertory program, which “is guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” features an abridged version of Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker and three new, short works set to tunes like Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” and Barbara Streisand’s “Jingle Bells.” You can purchase a single ticket here for $35.
Houston Grand Opera offers the first 2021 installment of Live from The Cullen this Friday, January 8, at 7:30 p.m. when they welcome mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke in recital with HGO principal coach Kirill Kuzmin on piano. The Rice University and Juilliard School graduate told the Houston Press that it’s been ten months since her last public performance, and that she’s chosen three pieces she’s commissioned from women composers during the pandemic and combined them with works from Rossini and Schumann for the program. The free recital is available to stream here through February 7.
Back in 2009, Main Street Theater world premiered Caridad Svich’s The House of the Spirits, an English adaptation of Isabel Allende’s 1982 novel. The Houston Press proclaimed that the “provocative production” brought out the best in Svich’s translation, and this week, Main Street will return to Svich when they produce a virtual workshop of her new play, The Book of Magdalene. Though we’ll have to wait until February 11 to enjoy it, you can get a sneak peek this Saturday, January 9, at 6:15 p.m. when Main Street opens their eighth Part of the Art season with a free read-thru of the play. Yep, it’s free, but you have to register here.
Fresh off the news that Houston Symphony Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke signed a five-year contract extension (meaning he’ll be leading the POPS series through 2027!), Reineke will be in town this weekend to lead In the Mood: A Big Band New Year. Singer and saxophonist
David Caceres Tony DeSare will join Reineke and the Symphony for the weekend’s performances, including the livestreamed concert Saturday, January 9, at 8 p.m. You can expect a program of big band standards, including the titular number, “In the Mood,” which was named to NPR’s list of 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. You can purchase a $20 ticket here.
If you are in the mood for “something of a rollercoaster ride” this week, look no further than Mercury Chamber Orchestra, who will be premiering Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge this Saturday, January 9, at 8 p.m. through their “Mercury at Home” program. Conductor and Mercury Artistic Director Antoine Plante will lead the ensemble in Beethoven’s “grand and craggy” piece, in which he “takes four voices, fully engaged and throbbing at high speeds, and drives them to the edge of a cliff before stopping them on a dime to listen to the vastness of silence.” You can purchase a ticket for $20 here to view the program, which will be available through January 17.
The BBC described her as a Vogue model, Surrealist muse (that would be for Man Ray), and a war correspondent, one accredited by the US Forces and who reported from Normandy during World War II. The photographer in question is Lee Miller, and if you’re not familiar with her story yet, from Parisian nightlife to Hitler’s bathtub, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is presenting a virtual screening of Capturing Lee Miller, a 60-minute documentary about the fascinating figure. The $10 ticket will get you access to the streaming film for 48 hours. The film will be available from January 8 to January 22.
In 1915, George Joseph Smith was hanged following one of the most sensational murder trials of the 20th century. Dubbed the “Brides in the Bath Murders,” Smith drowned three of his wives in the bathtub. More than 90 years later, playwrights Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic gave voice to the victims – Alice Burnham, Margaret Lofty and Bessie Mundy – in their play The Drowning Girls. Mildred’s Umbrella will release an archival video of their 2015 production of the stylized memory play on January 11, and it will be available through February 6. Viewing is free, but registration is required.