After several especially hard years, most performing arts groups have been able to return to full schedules of live, in-person performances. That alone is cause for celebration! More than that, however, the 2022-23 performing arts season promises many exciting concerts, plays and other events. Here are just a few to consider.
The Wind Beneath Our Strings
If you’ve ever seen violinist Anne Akiko Meyers perform, then no prompting will be necessary to get you to her concert with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (Sept. 23, 25, 2022).
She is a spectacular musician, and an engaging performer, and the piece she’ll play in Tucson — Arturo Márquez’s Fandango — is a work that was written for her. With echoes of Mexican mariachi music and Spanish dances, it’s an ideal piece with which to kick off the season.
Many other star performers will grace the stage with the TSO, including trumpeter Pacho Flores (Feb. 17, 19, 2023) who will perform his own composition Morocota, and he’ll also present the U.S. premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Salseando.
Fans of great piano concertos will want to be on hand when Natasha Paremski performs Rachmaninoff’s gorgeous Piano Concerto No. 2 with the TSO (Nov. 11, 13, 2022), in a concert that also will include Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “Inextinguishable,” written during the horrors of WWI and celebrating the will to live.
The virtuosic Hilary Hahn will return to Tucson (March 22, 2023) to play with the TSO for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s only violin concerto, which shows all the hallmarks of the composer’s genius for beautiful melodies, a haunting melancholy, and a passionate finale.
If the intimacy of chamber music is more your style, the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music has a season of exciting concerts featuring top performers. Though the Evening Concert Series is often the biggest draw, don’t overlook the Sunday afternoon concerts, including brothers Daniel and Andrew Hsu (Oct. 23, 2022). Their program will include Debussy’s delightful Petite Suite for Piano Four Hands, two four-hand works by Mozart, and Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor for Piano Four Hands. Another dynamic collaboration will occur when violinist Ioana Cristina Goicea and pianist Chih-Yi Chen take the stage (Nov. 6, 2022) to present a beautiful afternoon of music that will include Ravel’s Sonata No. 2 in G Major for Violin and Piano, Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances for Violin and Piano, Sz. 56, and works by Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and Enescu.
Among the stellar weeknight concerts is the Alexander String Quartet performing with mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich (Dec. 7, 2022) in an evening that will include Strauss’ moving Four Last Songs and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. Barcelona’s Cuarteto Casals will come to the Old Pueblo (Feb. 22, 2023) for a performance of Haydn’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op.20, no. 1; Beethoven’s String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 5, no. 2; and avant-garde composer György Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1, “Métamorphoses nocturnes.”
Fans of music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras will have lots to celebrate with the season planned by Arizona Early Music. Acronym will come to town (Nov. 13, 2022) with an ambitious program titled “Dreams of the Wounded Musketeer,” which will present the dying moments of an imperial military trumpeter as he recalls his life in Vienna. During the Tucson Baroque Music Festival — part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival — you can thrill to the music of J.S. Bach (Feb. 11, 2023); enjoy Handel’s cantata Apollo and Daphne (Feb. 12, 2023); and explore the music of Italy (Feb. 10, 2023).
The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra (SASO) will present a season of classical and modern masterworks, along with some surprises thrown in. Among the highlights is the fall concert (Nov.12-13, 2022) featuring Dvorak’s wonderfully Czech-flavored Symphony No. 8, and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major, performed by Francesco Mariozzi. Brahms’ popular Academic Festival Overture will be performed (Feb. 18-19, 2023) during a concert that also will include Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and contemporary French composer Jean-Philippe Vanbeselaere’s Convergences, featuring tuba player Thomas Leleu.
Tucson Guitar Society continues to amaze, with a schedule that will include the must-see combination of Sergio Assad and his daughter Clarice (Oct. 29-30, 2022); sought-after classical guitarist Isaac Bustos (Nov. 12, 2022); the legendary Scottish guitarist David Russell (Feb. 18-19, 2023); and young French guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre ( March 18, 2023).
Whether you are in the mood for solo performances, small ensembles or full orchestras, be sure to check out the faculty and student concerts at the UArizona Fred Fox School of Music. Not only are the prices right (many concerts are free, or $5-10 per ticket), the quality of the music and the casual vibe of Crowder and Holsclaw Halls are not to be missed!
Singing You Along
American musical theater has gone through many changes in the last two decades, but clearly it’s alive and well, offering a mix of revivals of classics, jukebox musicals based around the songs of a particular artist or era, and adaptations of hit movies. Broadway in Tucson hits all those notes, year after year. This season they’ll offer such popular fare as The Lion King (Sept. 14-25, 2022); SIX, about the wives of Henry the VIII (Oct. 11-16, 2022), and the Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen (Feb. 21-26, 2023).
Arizona Opera always brings their “A” game to Tucson, and that will be fully in evidence this season with new works such as The Falling and the Rising (Oct. 22-23, 2022), based on real-life interviews with soldiers at Walter Reed National Medical Center; the exuberant Strauss comedy Ariadne auf Naxos (Dec. 10-11, 2022); the toweringly tragic Tosca (Jan. 28-29, 2023); and Mozart’s witty — and possibly Masonically inspired — The Magic Flute (April 15-16, 2023).
If you’re looking for fresh ideas, and exceptional voices and orchestral performances, be sure to check out the season planned by True Concord Voices & Orchestra. On the schedule are a Southwestern premiere of Tim Takach’s Helios, for the first time ever with visuals (Sept. 30, Oct. 1-2, 2022); and the world premiere of visionary composer Jocelyn Hagen’s Here I Am (Jan. 27-29, 2023).
There also will be performances of Haydn’s monumental The Creation (Feb. 24-26, 2023); Rachmaninoff’s beautiful Vespers (March 24-26, 2023); and the annual Lessons & Carols by Candlelight, one of the highlights of the holiday season (Dec. 15-18, 2022).
There will be many other great vocal performances in 2022-23, so be sure to check the schedules of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, Tucson Girls Chorus, Sons of Orpheus, and Reveille Men’s Chorus.
Get to the Pointe
Ballet Tucson, now under the artistic directorship of Margaret Mullin, continues the high standards that the troupe has been known for, with intriguing premieres and the return of some favorites. The fall concert (Nov. 11-13, 2022) will feature the Tucson premiere of a new work by Justin Peck, who choreographed for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. The winter concert (Feb. 17-19, 2023) will include the Ballet Tucson premiere of Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, as well as a new work that will feature the music of local Duo Chinoiserie. The ever popular BT version of The Nutcracker will return to the TCC Music Hall (Dec. 22-24, 2022) as the perfect holiday gift. UA Dance also will have an exciting season, including appearing at the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase (Sept. 23-25, 2022). Check our monthly Datebook for dance concerts by other local groups.
I Remember Drama
The play is still the thing in the Old Pueblo, with many choices for an evening of entertainment. At Arizona Theatre Company, the season will include Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece The Glass Menagerie (Jan. 21-Feb. 11, 2023); the world premiere of Pru Payne, by Pulitzer Prize nominee Steven Drukman (March 4-25, 2023); and Noël Coward’s drawing room comedy Private Lives (April 15-May 6, 2023).
Invisible Theatre always excels at presenting a mix of belly-laugh comedy and heart-string-tugging drama, and this season is no different. Among the standouts are Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins (Nov. 2-13, 2022), based on the writings of the popular columnist; Wiesenthal (Jan. 14-15, 2023), about the life and career of Holocaust-survivor-turned-Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal; and Small Mouth Sounds (April 19-30, 2023) a satire about a group of people looking for inner stillness at a retreat.
Arizona Repertory Theatre at the University of Arizona tackles not only the classics, such as Romeo and Juliet (Feb. 26-March 19, 2023); but also the dark re-imaging of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Polaroid Stories (Oct. 23-Nov. 6, 2022); and Vaud (Dec. 1-4, 2022), an original work that draws on the university’s collection of American Vaudeville materials.
Be sure also to check out the upcoming seasons for The Rogue Theatre, Live Theatre Workshop, and Pima Community College’s theatre department.
All Together Now
Whatever performing art you’re into, chances are there is a festival here celebrating it. For film buffs, there’s the Loft Film Fest (Oct. 12-20, 2022); Film Fest Tucson (Oct. 13-15, 2022); and Arizona International Film Festival (April 2023).
Music aficionados can look forward to the Tucson Desert Song Festival (Jan. 13-19, 2023 & March 31-April 6, 2023); Tucson Jazz Festival (Jan. 14-22, 2023); Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival (March 12-19, 2023) and Tucson Folk Festival (April 2023).