Do you like jazz? How about lights? There’s a lot of both this week. Not a bad thing. And Shakespeare is plentiful, if that’s your gig. The CSO performs an interesting operatic version of “Hamlet”, fully staged and designed by Paris’ famed Opéra Comique while Xavier stages “Twelfth Night.” Do you know that many of the truisms we use in our everyday conversation are lines from great Shakespeare plays? You will after you finish reading. Pay attention. Check out some cool literary events and did I say there was jazz? Yes, yes. “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Enjoy.
Wednesday, Nov. 15
Caffe Vivace, Al West, Jr., and Friends | 7 p.m. 975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills. 513-601-9897. DETAILS: Chicago-bred Al West sings a broad selection of the Great American Songbook, straddling classic and contemporary jazz. The ensemble is completed by Greg Chako, David Lloyd, Michael Meloy on guitar, bass and drums. $10 drink minimum. Tickets going fast.
Friends of Music Hall, Bricks & Beer | 5 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: You probably know a lot of Music Hall’s history, Erich Kunzel’s stories of friendly ghosts, the paupers’ cemetery underneath the building or some of the famous people who’ve performed there. Richard Strauss, Frank Sinatra and Pink Floyd have all graced the stage. You’ll be further enlightened by the surprising history of the intersection of the Cincinnati beer industry and the development of Music Hall. Who knew? Rhinegeist Brewery partners and quenches your thirst with beer selections after a tour of the building. “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?“
Thursday, Nov. 16
Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Jim Snidero: Alto Sax Virtuoso | 7 p.m. The Redmoor, 187 Linwood, Mt. Lookout. 513-871-6789. DETAILS: If you’re any kind of jazz aficionado, you know Jim Snidero is one of the preeminent alto sax virtuosos around. Well-known for his improvisation skill, he is also a composer and a best-selling jazz author. A noted jazz educator, he is on the faculty of The New School. Central State University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Hal Melia opens the evening. Get your tickets soon for this satisfying savor of New York City jazz, right here in Cincinnati. Also, Snidero + Strings, Sunday at 2 p.m., First Unitarian Church in Avondale.
Friday, Nov. 17
Cincinnati Zoo, PNC Festival of Lights | 4-9 p.m. 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 513-281-4700. DETAILS: Fiona fairies, s’mores and a blacklight puppet show highlight the 41st year of Cincinnati’s premiere light spectacular. The real stars of the show are the four million LED lights covering the grounds, trees and animal habitats of our world-renown zoo. New this year are new lanterns in the Under the Sea display, light up cotton candy and a five-foot star on the Vine Street Village tree. Light up cotton candy? See you in line for that! No cutting.
Exhale Dance Tribe, “Hokioi, Me Te Vwohali-From Spirit Eagles Land” | 8 p.m. Fifth Third Theater, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., downtown 513-621-2787. DETAILS: Eagles. Hokioi and Vwohali are eagles. New Zealand and Cherokee cultures celebrate the lives of these majestic birds through their stories, myths and legends infused with song, incantations and dance to bring the old and new into the future. Exhale welcomes the Okareka Dance Company of New Zealand for this US premiere.
Xavier University Theatre, “Twelfth Night” | 7:30 p.m. Gallagher Student Center Onstage Theatre, 3800 Victory Parkway, Avondale. 513-745-3939. DETAILS: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” If you never knew where that line came from, now you know. Poor Malvolio. Such deception. Not! Hilarious and heartbreaking, this tale of unrequited love is one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. Through Nov. 18
Falcon Theatre, “Two Point Oh” | 8 p.m. 636 Monmouth St., Newport. 513-479-6783. DETAILS: Elliot Leeds is dead. Or, is he? Playwright Jefferey Jackson tells a harrowing tale of artificial intelligence (AI) and its possibilities. After her husband’s untimely death, a grieving wife discovers his last and perhaps greatest creation – a reality simulation of himself that includes thousands of hours of his recorded thoughts and speech – a talking, thinking, virtual soul. What is the startling conclusion that will keep us thinking? Head on over to Newport to find out. “If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” Through Dec. 2.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/May Festival, “Hamlet” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Louis Langrée conducts this new, touring production of Shakespeare’s famous ghostly tale of murder and revenge, created in collaboration with Paris’ famed Opéra Comique. A seminal work of the French 19th-century repertoire premiered in 1868, Ambroise Thomas’ “Hamlet” was a fixture of the Paris opera scene until the second half of the 20th century when it fell out of favor. Baritone Stéphane Degout sings the title role. Repeats Sun. Nov. 19.
Saturday, Nov. 18
Cincinnati Art Museum, See the Story Book Club | 11:30-1 p.m. 953 Eden Park Dr., Eden Park. 513-721-2787. DETAILS: Join a museum docent and librarians from the Cincinnati Hamilton County Public Library for this bi-monthly discussion of books that combine authors from all over the world with artwork on display in the museum’s galleries. On tap for November is Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Swan Thieves.” After the discussion, participants will tour associated artwork.
Books by the Banks, Cincinnati Regional Book Festival | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., downtown. 513-419-7300. DETAILS: This day-long festival features national, regional and local authors and illustrators in a series of author panels, book-signings and family activities. 2023 headliners include Sarah Penner, P. Djeli Clark, Elle Cosimano, Richard Cowdrey and others. Bring your wallet for aisle after aisle of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books for sale. Free
Weston Art Gallery, “Summerfair Select” | Opening reception, 6-8 p.m. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., downtown. 513-977-4165. DETAILS: This exhibit focuses on 12 artists who received a Summerfair Aid to Individual Artist Award from 2019-2021. Summerfair is a summertime, fine arts fair favorite held at Coney Island, highlighting 300+ artists and crafters. These monetary awards to talented local artists provide much needed support to continue artistic endeavors. Free. Through Jan. 7.
Sunday, Nov. 19
Seven Hills Symphony, “Conflict, Confrontation, Ascendency“ | 3 p.m. Walnut Hills High School Auditorium, 3250 Victory Parkway, Walnut Hills. 513-363-8400. DETAILS: Former First Assistant Concertmaster of the CSO, Rebecca Culnan performs Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” and “Firebird Suite” by Igor Stravinsky are also on the program. An interesting fact about the Barber is that it was commissioned by soap magnate Samuel Fels (Fels-Naptha) in 1939. Upon its completion, it was deemed unplayable due to its ferociously difficult third movement. When another player was located to attempt the piece, it was found to be absolutely playable and remains one of the most performed concertos in symphony halls, today.
Matinée Musicale, Jasmine Choi, flute | 3 p.m. Westwood First Presbyterian Church, 3011 Harrison Ave., Westwood. 513-661-6846. DETAILS: Former principal flute of the Vienna Symphony and associate principal flute of the CSO, Choi has performed internationally as a soloist and recitalist in a variety of genres. The program includes works by Faure, Beethoven, Schoenfield, Prokofiev and Isang Yun. Read more about Choi as related in our November magazine by David Lyman.
Andrew J. Brady Music Center, The O’Jays: Last Stop on the Love Train Tour | 8 p.m. 25 Race St., downtown. 513-232-5882. DETAILS: After more than 60 years electrifying people all over the world, the mighty, legendary, R&B/Soul kings The O’Jays are on their final tour. This classic R&B, chart-topping group boards the love train into Cincinnati to perform some of their best-known hits with their magic formula, The Sound of Philadelphia. Original members, Eddie Levert Sr, Walter Williams Sr perform along with Eric Nolan Grant who joined the group in 1995. Time to get down, sing a happy song at The Banks and wind up your weekend.
Monday, Nov. 20
Jazz at the Memo, Emily Grace Jordan Quartet | 7 p.m. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., downtown. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Emily Grace Jordan brings her sultry yet sensitive renditions of the Great American Songbook to the Memo stage. Jordan is an educator, vocalist and instrumentalist making music in Cincinnati since she arrived from Washington, D.C. to study jazz at CCM. Also featuring Jordan Pollard (piano), Marie Knueven (bass) and Phillip Tipton (drums).
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Pyramid Hill Lights | 6-9 p.m. 1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd., Hamilton. 513-868-8336. DETAILS: Another holiday tradition flips on its lights for its signature holiday event. For a little bit of a different take, experience light and nature as you drive through a two-mile stretch of this iconic Hamilton sculpture park. With scenic installations by local artists and over one million lights, this makes for a distinctive experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Tuesday, Nov. 21
College-Conservatory of Music, Ariel Quartet, “Garden of Eros” | 7:30 p.m. Werner Recital Hall, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: The program opens with Leos Janacek’s “Intimate Letters” and Louis Andriessen’s “Garden of Eros”. Pianist Alessio Bax joins the quartet for Dvorak’s Piano Quintet. Andriessen’s title comes from a 50 quatrain love poem written by Jan Engleman and contains exactly as many musical beats as the poem does poetic syllables. Formed when the members were just teenagers studying at the Jerusalem Academy Middle School of Music and Dance in Israel, the Quartet serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. (Have a kid that plays in a string quartet? Tell them to stick with it. They could be this). “If music be the food of love, play on.”