Theater & Arts

For Theodore Kuchar’s farewell, it will be a circus out there

Cirque de la Symphonie performs May 15 with the Fresno Philharmonic.
Cirque de la Symphonie performs May 15 with the Fresno Philharmonic. Special to The Bee

Theodore Kuchar is going out on a high note – and maybe a trapeze or two.

The Fresno Philharmonic’s music director and conductor ends his 15-year run with a concert featuring the orchestra and the popular Cirque de la Symphonie touring show. For fans of the Maestro, along with those who like some visual flair with their classical music, it will be an event not to miss and my top arts pick.

Out with a bang

The event: Kuchar already conducted his final Masterworks concert last month, an extravaganza featuring a massive chorus and Prokofiev’s “Alexander Nevsky,” and will officially finish his tenure on the podium with the orchestra’s Link Up Education concerts on May 24-26. But the Cirque concert will be the last chance for the general public to see him conduct.

“I feel very strongly about Cirque and very grateful we’ve been able to do it on a number of occasions,” says Kuchar, who has taken the company on two tours to South Africa and other worldwide destinations. The performance features aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers and strongmen, all choreographed to such popular classical music pieces as Bizet’s “Gypsy Song” and Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture.”

The draw: This will be the fourth time Cirque has come to Fresno, and it’s always been a great ticket seller for the orchestra. And who knows? We’ve seen Kuchar move a lot on the podium over the years. Perhaps for his final public concert he’ll swallow a flaming baton?

Details: 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. www.fresnophil.org, 559-261-0600. $25-$79.

Soaking wet

The event: The Brush and Easel Gallery opens the exhibition “Visions of Water” featuring works by Sandy Kowallis.

The draw: Whether working en plein air or in the studio, Kowallis – who was trained at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art, worked most of her career in Fresno and Clovis in advertising, and is now retired and living in the foothills – has long been drawn to water. She’s turned to oils after years of painting in watercolor. Lately she’s begun to seek the beautiful abstract patterns found in nature.

Details: The show opens Friday, May 13, at 1476 W. Shaw Ave., and continues through July 5. A reception and ArtHop reception will be held 5-8 p.m. Thursday, May 19. www.brushandeasel.com, 559-269-5512. Free.

A love story

The event: The Visalia Players opens the play “Next Fall,” about two gay men whose differing spiritual beliefs threaten to strain their committed relationship.

The draw: Geoffrey Nauffts’ play opened off Broadway in 2009 and transferred to Broadway in 2010. The New York Times’ Ben Brantley made the show a “Critics’ Pick,” calling it an “artful, thoughtful and very moving story.” In the Visalia production, directed by Peg Collins, JP Rapozo plays Luke, a Christian, and Adam (Christopher Volkerts) is an atheist. When an accident happens, Adam has to rely on Luke’s family for support.

Details: Opens Friday, May 13, and runs through May 29 at the Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia. www.visaliaplayers.org, 559-734-3900. $16, $12 students.

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