San Diego’s Top Weekend Arts Events: From The Year Of The Rat To Beethoven
Plus San Diego Dance Theater returns to the stage and Luis Gonaz
This weekend is the start of the Lunar New Year festivities. Plus the birthday celebration continues for one of classical music's great composers, San Diego Dance Theater returns to the stage and it's your last chance to see a unique photography exhibit.
Lunar New Year
Happy Year of the Rat! People born in the Year of the Rat are said to be clever, stubborn, optimistic and thrifty, and the whole year is supposed to be full of creative energy.
Lunar New Year celebrations traditionally run for 15 days, and there are a bunch of events and performances going on throughout the two weeks. There's the Vietnamese Têt Festival in Mira Mesa all weekend long, and another big celebration will take place at the House of China at Balboa Park's International Cottages area.
Each festival features traditional lion dances or dragon dances, plus performances of traditional instruments and more. Plus, lots of amazing food.
Details: The San Diego Têt Festival runs various times Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mira Mesa Community Park, 8575 New Salem St., Mira Mesa; more information here.
The House of China Chinese New Year Fair runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, International Cottages, 2191 Pan American Road West, Balboa Park; more information here.
Beethoven turns 250 this year, and the San Diego Symphony has been performing his works all season long, including this weekend, with his "Pastoral" symphony, the "Overture to Egmont" and Haydn's "Oxford Symphony."
Beethoven was a student of Haydn, so it's only fitting that they'd perform Haydn's iconic "Oxford Symphony, no. 92." To modern audiences it sounds traditional enough, but it was unusual at the time in the way Haydn structured the piece. It's strong and lovely.
Beethoven was commissioned to write "Overture to Egmont" to accompany a performance of Goethe's play, also called "Egmont." It's a tragedy with all of our favorite tragic themes like imprisoned heroes, loving sacrifices and political tyranny! And this music is heavy.
Rounding out the performance is Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, which is such a delightful, light-hearted romp to pull us out of our misery. The first movement is one of those omnipresent well-known pieces, but with five total movements — each just as sweepingly beautiful — there's lots to discover.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St, San Diego; find tickets here.
San Diego Dance Theater's 'Janus IV'
San Diego Dance Theater is back on the traditional stage with "Janus IV" after a string of site-specific performances (including Trolley Dances and a residency at the airport). And what caught my eye about this year's January repertory show is its music and inspiration.
New choreography by founder Jean Isaacs is set to a stunning and wildly textured a cappella composition, "Partita for 8 Voices," by Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary composer Caroline Shaw.
They're also revisting a 2005 work by Isaacs, "Suite Jeff," which accompanies the music of Jeff Buckley, includes his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," the haunting, choral "Lilac Wine" and one of my favorites, "So Real."
And a new piece by associate artistic director Terry Wilson, "Crossroads," is inspired by a 1958 Keisuke Kinoshita film, "The Ballad of Narayama." Remote communities with lots of self-reflection and tragic aging rituals? Sounds a bit like last year's horror hit, "Midsommar."
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Sunday. Saville Theatre at City College, 14th St &, C St, San Diego; find tickets here.
Last Chance: 'Constructed Mythologies: Luis González Palma'
In the weekly KPBS Arts Newsletter we list exhibitions and shows that are closing soon, and this weekend's closing pick is the Luis González Palma exhibition at the free SDSU Downtown Gallery.
González Palma is a Guatemalan photographer and mixed media and collage artist, and "Constructed Mythologies" https://www.kpbs.org/events/ongoing/constructed-mythologies-luis-gonzal/# is somewhat of a career-spanning retrospective. His portraiture feels like iconography, as if he's really building his own myths. There's a lot of story captured in each face.
Details: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. SDSU Downtown Gallery, 725 W. Broadway, San Diego. Free; more information here.