what are the best events in the arts this december?

The Dandelion Chandelier Luxury Calendar for The Arts highlights noteworthy events around the world in December 2017 in ballet, modern dance, performance art, classical music, opera and jazz – as well as new art museum exhibits and installations. There are magical and provocative happenings this month that you won’t want to miss. For the rest of the Luxury Calendar, click here. For other Arts events, click here.

December is a splendid month for the arts — the champagne problem is deciding which performances and exhibits to see. There’s a plethora of holiday vocal and instrumental concerts from which to choose in nearly every city in the world. There are Nutcrackers galore. In New York, the NY Philharmonic celebrates its 175th birthday. This month will see Opening Night at La Scala and a new production of Tosca at the Met; dance commemorations of Tisha Brown, Suzanne Farrell and Merce Cunningham; and star choreographer Michelle Dorrance’s Myelination. In visual arts, the focus is on video, sculpture, photography and drawing. The Institute for Contemporary Art opens in Miami, and there are major new exhibits opening at Boston’s MFA, the Drawing Center in New York, and the Centre Pompidou. It’s a holiday feast for the eye and the ear all over the world.

Not-to-Be-Missed Performing Arts Events. 

All month, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at City Center – through Dec 31

The New York City Ballet’s performances of George Ballanchine’s The Nutcracker at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center continue this month – through Dec 31

The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents Bernstein 100: Celebrating an American Original at the Walt Disney Concert Hall – Dec 1-3

At the Metropolitan Opera in New York, James Levine will conduct a performance of Verdi’s Requiem – Dec 2

During the Festival of Carols at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, 110 singers from the Los Angeles Master Chorale will perform holiday favorites – Dec 2-9

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center hosts a Baroque Festival featuring performances of works by Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach, including the Brandenburg Concertos – Dec 3-19

At the Joyce, the Lucinda Childs Dance Company performs the late choreographer’s most famous work, Dance (1979), an evening-length performance with a score by Philip Glass – Dec 6-11

The New York Philharmonic performs a 175th Birthday Concert of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart; Alan Gilbert conducts – Dec 6-9

Juilliard New Dances: Edition 2017 will feature world premieres by Bryan Arias, Gentian Doda, Roy Assaf and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano – Dec 6-10

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet company will perform its final season this year; at the Kennedy Center in DC, Forever Balanchine: Farewell Performances will reflect on the company’s 16-year history – Dec 7-9

Opening night at La Scala Opera House in Milan is Dec 7

The Philadelphia Orchestra comes to Carnegie Hall under the direction of conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin to perform works from Bernstein and Sibelius – Dec 8

The Trisha Brown Dance Company will pay tribute to its late founder at The Joyce with a showcase of three works: Geometry of Quiet, Groove and Countermove, and L’Amour au theatre – Dec 12-17

The New York Philharmonic performs Handel’s Messiah with the Westminster Symphonic Choir – Dec 12-16

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will perform its annual Big Band Holidays concert with vocalists Catherine Russell and Kenny Washington in the Rose Theater – Dec 13-17

Dancer-choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener and filmmaker Charles Atlas – all former collaborators of legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham – have reunited to create a series of dance films called Tesseract, to be screened and performed live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music – Dec 13-16

According to the New York Times, the Messiah performed annually by the Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street is among the very best in the city – Dec 15-17

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performs Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos at Alice Tully Hall – Dec 15, 17, and 19

The New York Philharmonic celebrates the season with its annual Holiday Brass – Dec 17

The Metropolitan Opera performs a family-oriented opera, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, at Lincoln Center – Dec 18-January 6, 2018

At the Joyce, among other works, tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance revives Myelination, a piece performed with live music and singing – Dec 19-31

At St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village, the musicians of TENET will perform Psalm setting and motets from Monteverdi – Dec 30

This year, the theme of the NY Philharmonic’s traditional New Year’s Eve concert is Bernstein on Broadway – Dec 31

A new production of Puccini’s Tosca, staged by David McVicar, conducted by James Levine and starring newcomers Sonya Yoncheva and Vittorio Grigolo, opens at the Metropolitan Opera – Dec 31

Noteworthy Visual Arts Exhibitions.

Kumagai Morikazu: The Joy of Life is a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo 40 years after his death; the exhibit will feature 200 paintings, documents, diaries, and sketches that illuminate the process behind his minimalist, brightly colored paintings of nature – Dec 1–March 21

The second edition of the St+art Mumbai Festival transforms an unused warehouse at Sassoon Dock with a multitude of urban art installations by Indian and international artists, many of which are themed on the Koli fishing community – Dec 1-31

Just in time for Miami Art Week, the new Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos–designed building for the Institute for Contemporary Art opens this month, with 37,500 square feet of space spanning three stories; it’s a complement to the latest addition to the Bass Museum, which recently debuted its newest Arata Isozaki–designed makeover.

The Everywhere Studio at the newly-reopened Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami is an expansive group show of 100 paintings, sculptures, videos, and installations by some 50 postwar artists, from Bruce Nauman to Laure Prouvost – Dec 1–February 26, 2018

Raha Raissnia at the Drawing Center in New York showcases the artist’s dark, psychologically fraught charcoal drawings; the show presents both works on paper and films made using her drawings as source material – Dec 1-February 4, 2018

The winner of the Turner Prize, Britain’s leading contemporary art award, will be announced at a ceremony in Hull, in northeast England – Dec 5

The Hong Kong Winterfest will be at the Hong Kong Museum of Art through the end of December

The Mika Rottenberg at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami will see the first US screening of the artist’s video NoNoseKnows, which debuted at the 2015 Venice Biennale, and offers a darkly comic look at the world of Chinese oyster pearl harvesting. Also debuting will be several other videos, including a new variant of her commission for the recent Skulptur Projekte Münster – Dec 7–April 30, 2018

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts will mount an exhibition called (Un)expected Families with more than 75 images from American photographers, including Carrie Mae Weems and Nan Goldin, depicting families in all their various incarnations – Dec 9

For a newly commissioned work involving mathematics, Venezuelan conceptual artist Alexander Apóstol used a the two-city exhibition staged by Argentinian artists in 1968 as a reference point; the exhibit at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires will show this new work, titled Acciones, palabras, imágenes, redes (a partir de Tucumán arde) alongside a selection of his older pieces – Dec 12—Feb 19, 2018

César at the Centre Pompidou, Paris celebrates the work of Nouveaux Réalistes artist César Baldaccini in an exhibition timed to the 20th anniversary of the sculptor’s death, More than 100 works spanning his career will show him moving back and forth between classical and modernist modes – Dec 13–March 26, 2018

Rob Pruitt: The Church at the Kunsthalle Zurich celebrates the five-hundredth anniversary of Ulrich Zwingli’s Reformation by transforming the Kunsthalle Zurich into a space for contemplation and congregation. On Sundays, the museum will host services delivered by the Theological Seminary of the University of Zurich; other activities will include concerts, workshops, and the artist Philip Matesic’s discussion platform “Theory Tuesdays.” Alongside these festivities, Pruitt’s Suicide Paintings—which turn Photoshop-like gradients into colorful abstractions—will be on view, as well as his 2010 installation of tin-foil wrapped chairs, The Congregation – Dec 16–May 13, 2018


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