Four Art Events Not to Miss in September

James Chen plays Cyrano in the KCRep production of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Cyrano de Bergerac Salutes KCRep’s 60th Anniversary Season

Talk about high concept with legs.  

Cyrano de Bergerac, based on a real-life 17th-century nobleman/soldier, started off in 1892 as a play by Edmond Rostand told in rhyming couplets on the French. From there, for over a century, it has been adapted, filmed, and put to music. 

The role of Cyrano, the not-much-to-look-at hero who is A-list at writing love letters, has been played by José Ferrer, Gérard Depardieu, Steve Martin, and Peter Dinklage. The heroine Roxane, whose love language is “words of affirmation,” must decide if a handsome yet “duh” hunk or an unattractive guy with verbal superstardom will win her hand. 

KCRep will stage the newest adaptation by British playwright Martin Crimp in a script praised by the Washington Post as “whip-smart.” Instead of rhyming couplets, we get rap and rhythm and a physicality that makes this story fresh and appealing. 

Directed by the associate artistic director Nelson T. Eusebio III, Cyrano de Bergerac runs from September 5 through 24. Click here for more information.

Opus 76 Quartet Plays Music of the Regency—with High Tea

Why have a ho-hum dinner and a movie when you can be social like “le bon ton” or London’s tiny upper class during the time of Jane Austen and Bridgerton?  

According to the romance novel sub-genre of Regency (made popular by author Georgette Heyer) and the Bridgerton series, Regency requires sparkling dialogue, strict social rules, an unusually independent heroine (at least for the times), a rake in need of reforming, vicious gossip that spreads quickly, and a happy ending worthy of a Hallmark movie.

And music. Lots of music.

On September 9 during two concerts at the Midwest Trust Center on the Johnson County Community College Campus, you can enjoy music by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert. All for string quartets, of course. Opus 76 Quartet is a Kansas City’s favorite—London’s Spectator called them a ”brilliant young string quartet.” 

You can also enjoy food fit for the ton. After the 2 p.m. concert and before the 5 p.m. concert, you can sip and sup with high tea fare. If you really want to get into it, wear your best empire-waist gown or a cravat instead of a tie. Gavotte at your own risk.

Click here for tickets and more information.

Phoenix Park on Sunday, Dublin by Evelyn Hofer.

Evelyn Hofer: Eyes on the City

We’ve all heard of Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, and Annie Liebowitz, who all helped raise the medium of photography to an art form. But what about Evelyn Hofer, an American born in Germany, whose work spanned five decades? 

Despite her prolific career, Hofer remained under-recognized in her lifetime. 

Until now.

Get to know Evelyn Hofer in a solo exhibit of over 100 vintage photographs that runs from September 16 through February 11, 2024 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Her noted photobooks captured everyday life from 1959 to 1967 in places around the world.

The Nelson introduces us to her work, which now seems textured, nuanced, realistic, and nostalgic all at the same time. Highly innovative, Hofer favored the detailed precision of large format cameras, and worked in both black-and-white and color. 

Click here for information on tickets and times.

Música Ladino

On September 20, Israeli singer-songwriter Noam “Nani” Vazana joins Kansas City’s Ensemble Iberica for a unique, one-night-only performance highlighting a rare and disappearing language—Ladino (Judero-Espanol). Ladino is an evocative mashup of Castilian Spanish and Hebrew, with a smidgen of Arabic, Greek, Turkish, and French thrown in for good measure. Says Vazano, “I want the language to survive, and I want the music to thrive, not as an ancient historical form but as something vibrant and contemporary.”

Vazano’s new album Ke Haber (What’s New) features songs in the spirit of this ancient matriarchal tongue with surprisingly modern themes—female empowerment, migration, and gender.  

The music evokes flamenco with guitars and percussion, trombone, piano and cello, sometimes raw, sometimes magically real. Vazana on vocals, piano, and trombone joins Beau Bledsoe on guitar, and Ezgi Karakus on cello. 

Vazana, who lives in Amsterdam, is a professor at the London Performing Academy of Music and the Jerusalem Music Academy. 

The performance begins at 7 p.m. on September 20. Click here for ticket information.

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