As anyone who watched Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 thriller Black Swan knows, there’s far more to Swan Lake than pretty Tchaikovsky music and ballerinas in tutus. The story, about a prince who falls in love with a half-woman, half-swan, only to be tricked into marrying her evil doppelgänger, touches on themes of betrayal, jealousy, and suicide. The Houston Ballet’s sumptuous production, created by artistic director Stanton Welch from Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s classic choreography, was an instant hit when it debuted in 2006.
June 5–15. $19–175. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-2787. houstonballet.org
Texas Music Festival
This increasingly prominent festival kicks off its 25th anniversary season with a performance of Mahler's titanic Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) by the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, guest conducted by Franz Anton Krager and featuring the Houston Symphony chorus. 400 young musicians from the US and 18 foreign countries auditioned for one of the festival’s 95 coveted (and fully funded) spots. Concerts will continue through June 28—see website for more details, and read our full story here.
June 7 at 7:30 (pre-concert entertainment begins at 6:30). $10–15. Moores Opera Center, The University of Houston, 120 School of Music Bldg. uh.edu/class/music/tmf
Extremely Shorts Festival
In keeping with the theme of this event, we’ll keep it brief: juried this year by Austin filmmaking duo the Zellner Brothers, this 17th annual festival features around 25 films from across the world—ranging from narratives to documentaries to animation—all under three minutes long.
June 6 & 7. $15. 2442 Bartlett St. 713-868-2101. aurorapictureshow.org
Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld
Everyone can hum the can-can, but how many know where it came from? The answer is French composer Jacques Offenbach’s 1858 comic operetta Orpheus in the Underworld, a two-act masterpiece that scandalized Paris by parodying Christoph Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, as well as the Comédie Française and contemporary French politics. While the targets of Offenbach’s satire may be unfamiliar, his light, joyful music remains evergreen. Performed by students of the University’s of Texas’s Franco-American Vocal Academy.
June 8 at 8:30. Free tickets available at box office between 10:30 and 1 on the day of performance. Open seating on the hill. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr. 281-373-3386. milleroutdoortheatre.com
The Magician's Nephew
Although The Magician’s Nephew was the sixth book published in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, it's actually a prequel to the other books, telling the story of Aslan the lion’s creation of Narnia. Adapted for the stage by Aurand Harris and performed by AD Players, this children’s play should appeal to Narnia-lovers and neophytes alike.
June 5 & 6 at 11am. Free tickets available at box office at 10:30 on the day of performance. Open seating on the hill. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr. 281-373-3386. milleroutdoortheatre.com