Candide

Photo: Courtesy Portland Opera

Candide, Portland Opera

MAY

May 9 | Compagnie Käfig

White Bird Dance
French choreographer Mourad Merzouki is one of that country’s leading movers with his mashups of hip-hop and contemporary dance. But after feasting his eyes on the work of 11 self-taught street dancers from Rio’s favelas, whose energetic acrobatics earned them a berth at the Lyon Dance Biennial in 2006, he was inspired to blend their bootstraps-up ambition and spirit with his own vision. The result is two genre-blasting mashups of hip-hop, capoeira, and samba set to high-energy electronic music and bossa nova that will make their US premiere here. $25–60. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, whitebird.org

May 11 through June 2 | Hard Times by Charles Dickens

CoHo Productions
Could there be a more topical drama than CoHo Productions’ streamlined adaptation of Hard Times? In the book, Charles Dickens depicted mill owners and well-fed, pragmatic scholars in Victorian England as contemptuous swine, who felt nothing about turning workers into beasts of burden during the Industrial Revolution. CoHo’s cast of four actors should have little trouble tapping more contemporary versions of the economic dissatisfaction Dickens so powerfully expressed. $25. (Thursdays: pay what you can) cohoproductions.org

May 11-19 | Candide

Portland Opera
The operatic stars align over Portland as coloratura soprano Rachele Gilmore—fresh off a tour that included stops at Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Opera de Vichy, and the Met—joins tenor Jonathan Boyd and award-winning baritone Robert Orth in Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 reimagining of Voltaire’s Renaissance satire. The tale follows the unlucky Pangloss (Orth) and his ever-naive student Candide (Boyd) on a humorous romp through plague, war, famine, and death in pursuit of his increasingly debased and ugly love, Cunégonde (Gilmore). Is this, as Pangloss philosophizes, the best of all possible worlds? Probably not, but don’t let facts spoil a good theory. Keller Auditorium, portlandopera.org

May 18-19 | NW Animation Festival

If your idea of animation stops at the Cartoon Network and Coraline, Sven Bonnichsen has a fast way to expand your imagination: the second annual NW Animation Festival. The first year brought 78 films from nine countries. This time, in a two-day, cartoon-and-Claymation bender, director Bonnichsen plans to take the festival up a notch with everything from the Academy Award nominees (rarely screened beyond clips on the annual TV starfest) to possibly, just possibly, whispers Bonnichsen, a sneak peek at local animation juggernaut Laika’s new schoolboy-and-zombie title ParaNorman, set for release in August. Hollywood Theatre, nwanimationfest.com.

May 20-21 | Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring

Oregon Symphony
Conductor Carlos Kalmar closes the season on a dark note. Lizst’s haunting Black Gondola and Dvorák’s pensive Nocturne will set a somber tone before Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, a dissonant and increasingly frantic ballet score, gets our hearts racing. Finally, Bay Area composer John Adams will make the Portland premiere of his 30-minute symphony City Noir, a moody piece that seeks to evoke the tone and feeling of a Raymond Chandler-esque postwar Los Angeles. $21 and up. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, orsymphony.org

May 22-23 | Paufve Dance Theatre

Conduit Dance
Top-tier Bay Area choreographer Randee Paufve returns to Portland with one of her signature evenings of theatrically feminist dance: So I Married Abraham Lincoln…, a work based on the life of historical figure Mary Todd Lincoln. Paufve’s work blends the rigor (and sometimes personnel) of New York’s Wooster Group with the Bay Area postmodern tradition for a style that is at once conceptually complex and visually elegant. $15–18. conduit.org

 

Picasso Ceramics

Photo: Courtesy Augen Gallery

Picasso Ceramics

JUNE

June 7-30 | Picasso Ceramics

Augen Gallery
Like so many turns in Pablo Picasso’s career, his first forays into ceramics in 1906 were devoted to a woman: small clay figurines of his tempestuous model/lover Fernande Olivier. And as with other turns, his interest later shifted to commerce: by the early ’50s, the Madoura pottery factory in Madoura, France, was pumping out multiples of everything he created, making the town a tourist mecca. This show includes 20 of these latter works, replete with the manic master’s Midas touch. augengallery.com

June 9 | 65th Anniversary Celebration

Portland Chamber Orchestra
Founded in 1947 as a ragtag collection of Lewis & Clark College music students under the direction of a war refugee from Finland, PCO is one of the nation’s oldest—and most respected—chamber orchestras. To commemorate the anniversary, conductor Yaacov Bergman will lead the 35 musicians in an all-Mozart extravaganza, moving from his Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for Violin and Viola to the final Requiem. Carrying on PCO’s tradition of fostering young talent, teenage siblings Michael Siess (violin) and Lauren Siess (viola) will provide the link between past and future. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, portlandchamberorchestra.org

June 9 | Dance United

Oregon Ballet Theatre
For the third time in four years, OBT’s Christopher Stowell pulls the shiniest cards from his international-dance-world Rolodex for an evening that will include a sneak preview of the upcoming season, a pas de deux by British-born ballet sensation Christopher Wheeldon, and top-notch dancers visiting from companies in New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and Amsterdam. $47 and up. Keller Auditorium, obt.org

June 25 through July 29 | Summer Festival

Chamber Music Northwest
This monthlong festival, now in its 42nd year, is one of Portland’s gems. The verdant surrounds of its three venues—Portland State University, Catlin Gabel School, and Reed College, with preconcert picnics at the last—provide a lovely buffer zone of pure summer between the rest of your life and the music. And what music it is, played by the likes of the bassist, composer, and musical polymath Edgar Meyer, the bracing Emerson Quartet, the radiant mezzo Sasha Cooke, and the Danish recorder virtuoso Michala Petri, to name just a few of this year’s 50-plus performers in 26 concerts. For those who might like dance and humor mixed with their music, CMNW is also collaborating with Portland’s BodyVox and YouTube sensations Igudesman & Joo. cmnw.org

June 29 | Portland Youth Philharmonic

The nation’s oldest youth philharmonic pares down to a chamber-orchestra-size 35—perfect for a concert in Wieden & Kennedy’s soaringly beautiful atrium. Ingrid Arnett, the program’s coordinator, promises that WK’s airy space yet intimate setting will highlight the students in a way impossible in their usual venue: the huge and more formal Schnitz. The program will feature Beethoven’s Symphony no. 1, “worlds away” from the better known Ninth, says conductor David Hattner. “But the power of his ideas excite the young musicians as much as the virtuosity of his writing challenges them.” $15–20. portlandyouthphil.org