What to do in Chicago the week of Jan. 26, 2023
Leif Ove Andsnes
Not every piano recital can include a suite of worthy pieces by a famous composer that even many superfans haven’t heard before. Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who has performed and recorded an enormous amount of Classical- and Romantic-era repertoire in his three-decade-plus career, recently recorded Antonín Dvorak’s 13-piece set “Poetic Tone Pictures” and now takes it on a recital tour. The pieces, with evocative titles such as “In the Old Castle” and “Goblins’ Dance,” locate themselves within a tradition of solo-piano melanges somewhere between Schumann’s “Kinderszenen” and Debussy’s “Images.” Symphony Center. 3 p.m., Jan. 29.
Notable events in Chicago
• Hot on the heels of the Winter Chamber Music Festival and its parade of renowned string quartets, the Danish String Quartet plays Haydn, Shostakovich and Britten in the first half of a concert, and its own arrangements of Nordic folk music in the second. Armerding Center, Wheaton College. 7:30 p.m., Jan. 26.
• The early-music ensemble Blue Heron, from the early-music hotbed of Boston, performs the Requiem of the Renaissance by composer Johannes Ockeghem as part of the group’s long-term project to present Ockeghem’s complete works in the years around his 600th birthday. Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago. 7:30 p.m., Jan. 27.
• The National Geographic Live series, which usually tends toward the zoological, instead examines the lingering impact of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. Auditorium Theatre. 2 p.m., Jan. 29.
• Juan Diego Florez, one of the big tenor stars of the opera world, makes his first Chicago appearance since 2005 to sing a recital of arias and songs. Symphony Center. 7:30 p.m., Jan. 31.
• The Architecture & Design Film Festival, a New York-based series that hosts satellite events in several cities, mounts its first Chicago event in six years. Of local interest, the film “Committee of Six” re-enacts 1955 University of Chicago meetings about urban renewal in Hyde Park, half a double feature offered Feb. 4 and 5. Chicago Architecture Center. Feb. 1-5.
Opening in Chicago
• “The Heart’s Knowledge: Science and Empathy in the Art of Dario Robleto” infuses visual art with elements of the scientific, including biological materials as sculptural media and several installations involving heartbeats. The exhibition marks the end of Robleto’s five-year artist residence at Northwestern’s engineering school. Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. Jan. 26-July 9.
• Performer Alexis J. Roston plays Billie Holiday at a cabaret in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Venus Cabaret, Mercury Theater Chicago. Jan. 27-March 12.
• A world premiere, the counterfactual play “Boulevard of Bold Dreams” imagines the scenario where Hattie McDaniel decides not to accept her Oscar for “Gone With the Wind.” TimeLine Theatre. Feb. 1-March 19.
• The exhibit “The Negro Motorist Green Book” presents materials about the mid-20th-century travel guide for Black Americans that aimed to prevent dangerous conflicts over Jim Crow laws and other prejudicial institutions. The real-life Green Book inspired the 2018 Best Picture Oscar winner of the same name. Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. Jan. 29-April 23.
• Stephen Sondheim’s fairy-tale-mashup musical “Into the Woods” receives its first of two large-scale professional productions locally this year, appropriately for a show about reinterpreting fairy tales. Paramount Theatre. Feb. 1-March 19.
• “The First Homosexuals” and the Michiko Itatani exhibits at Wrightwood 659 are officially sold out, but word on the street is that the waiting list moves fast. Wrightwood 659. Through Jan. 28.
• “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater. Through Jan. 29.