Rafael Villarreal: Games
Born and raised in Houston, Rafael Villarreal became one of the city's top graffiti artists in the late '90s. Then he began studying fine art and eventually transitioned into oil painting, his main focus ever since. This show, Villarreal's third at the East End Studio Gallery, exhibits new work by the artist, including paintings like "Internet Deity" (right)—featuring a four-armed hacker in a Guy Fawkes mask and hood sitting in front of a laptop—that cheekily reference current events. Exhibition also includes work by guest artists Article, Dro, and Astro.
March 7–15 (Gallery opening March 7 6–9). Free. East End Studio Gallery, 708 Telephone Rd. Ste. C. eestudiogallery.com
The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra
Benjamin Britten wrote The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in 1946 for an educational film. Much to the English composer’s surprise, the piece became one of his most famous works, initiating countless listeners into the joys of classical music. (It was even featured in Wes Anderson’s recent film Moonrise Kingdom.) Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, who remembers listening to the piece as a child growing up in Australia, relished the opportunity to choreograph a dance to it. “It’s actually similar to how we structure a ballet, in that we also have groups, like woodwinds and brass and string and percussion. I love the idea that when you see the groups dance together, they’re like an orchestra.”
March 6–16. $19–160. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-2787. houstonballet.org
WindSync is not your typical chamber music group. For one thing, they’re a wind quintet, an unusual musical ensemble (consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn) with a tiny repertoire and almost no peer groups. For another thing, they eschew sheet music, memorizing all of their pieces so as to better connect with the audience and each other. Their other innovative performance practices include standing up for all concerts, occasionally performing in costume, dancing, and even singing. On the program for this recital are the works they performed at their Carnegie Hall debut last fall: David Maslanka’s Quintet for Winds No. 3 and original arrangements of work by Ravel, Respighi, and Bernstein. See full story here.
March 7 at 8. $10–65. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-315-2525. thehobbycenter.org
Scenes of Childhood
Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke gives her Da Camera debut in this program of works based on fairy tales and childhood memories, including selections by Britten, Tchaikovsky, Poulenc, and Ravel. To top it all off, the Houston Chamber Choir performs the local premiere of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion, based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen.
March 8 at 8. $28–55. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-524-760. dacamera.com
A Little Night Music
Since its 1973 Broadway premiere, this bawdy Stephen Sondheim musical has been adapted into a film and revived numerous times by both theater and opera companies. Set in Sweden around the turn of the 20th century, the musical centers on a famous, vain actress and her weekend guests—her ex-lover Fredrik, his naïve young wife, and his unhappy brother, a seminarian. As the weekend wears on, tensions flare and old romances kindle, to great comic effect.
March 7–23. $30–100. Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-228-6737. houstongrandopera.org