Robert Faires' Top 10 Joys in Dance and Classical in 2019

It was a year in which the bold and the beautiful made strong impressions in dance and music


Silent Night

1) SILENT NIGHT (Austin Opera) This rich staging of the Puts/Campbell Pulitzer winner about a Xmas Eve truce on a World War I battlefield proved opera to be an ideal form for showing the horrors of war and the fragility of peace.

2) GRIMM TALES (Ballet Austin) Deliciously dark, grotesquely funny fairy tales brought to lurid life from Natalie Frank's art by Stephen Mills' outstanding choreography, vivid design work, and the BA company at their best.

3) IDÒBÁLÈ (Dance Repertory Theatre) The finale to DRT's Fortitude, a memorial to student Haruka Weiser created by Charles O. Anderson with student dancers, grieved and honored her in glorious, deeply moving ways.

4) MADISON LEONARD IN RIGOLETTO (Austin Opera) Every note, every step, every gesture radiated young love with a freshness and honesty that made you fall for her Gilda the way she fell for the Duke. And that voice!

5) MOZART: PIANO CONCERTO NO. 12 WITH LEON FLEISHER (Austin Symphony) The 90-year-old seemed to bring his full musical career to bear on every note, sounding each with purpose and a rare contemplation.

6) WHEN HEAVEN IS WEDDED TO EARTH (Ensemble VIII) This celebration of spring in Franco-Flemish choral music of the 16th century and before had exquisite harmonies blooming and cascading like falling waters.

7) RUB A DUCK (Frank Wo/Men Collective) Dance as an endurance test in a shower with a dominatrix. Absurd, audacious, ineffable barely begins to cover this show, but it ends with: totally, intensely fascinating.

8) IN LIGHT (Blue Lapis Light) Humans channeling angels – spinning, twirling, and making contact suspended in air at unreal heights. Again, Sally Jacques' aerial dancers awed with their artistry and rare courage.

9) MYSTIC, SCIENTIST, SCHOLAR, NUN (Texas Early Music Project) Whatever holy spirit moved Hildegard von Bingen must have inspired TEMP in performing her music, as its 14 women singers were beyond heavenly.

10) THE HOPE OF LOVING (Conspirare) The title tells the tale: Craig Hella Johnson's company of voices wrapped Jake Runestad's choral compositions in a loving embrace and then released them in glorious song.

Honorable Mentions

STEPHEN REDFIELD (La Follia/Conspirare/TEMP)

EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! (Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company)

THOMAS BURRITT CHAMBER PERCUSSION (Butler School of Music)

THE SINGING GUITAR (Conspirare)

PRAISING THE BELOVED: THE SONG OF SONGS (Texas Early Music Project)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Top 10s
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Throughout 2020, performances and books seemed to contain messages about the year – its trials, its traumas, and its echoes in history

Robert Faires, Dec. 18, 2020

Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
Wayne Alan Brenner chooses outstanding visual artistry that made this year a feast, save for one performative and culinary experience that was the cherry on top

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 18, 2020

More by Robert Faires
The Blanton Museum Undertakes a $35 Million Makeover of Its Grounds
The Blanton Museum Undertakes a $35 Million Makeover of Its Grounds
With the international architectural firm Snøhetta, the UT museum will add community spaces and art to its outdoor experience

Jan. 22, 2021

Andrea Ariel Dances for Democracy
Andrea Ariel Dances for Democracy
On Sunday, the artist's dancing mailbox was a Capitol surprise

Jan. 20, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, Tops 10s 2019, Austin Opera, Ballet Austin, Dance Repertory Theatre, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble VIII, Frank Wo / Men Collective, Blue Lapis Light, Texas Early Music Project, Conspirare, Madison Leonard, Sally Jacques, Craig Hella Johnson, Charles O. Anderson, Stephen Mills

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle