What to do in Chicago the week of January 26, 2023

Leif Ove Andsnes

Not every piano recital can include a set of pieces worthy of a famous composer that even many superfans haven’t heard before. Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who has performed and recorded an enormous amount of Classical and Romantic era repertoire in his career of more than three decades, recently recorded Antonín Dvorak’s 13-piece set “Poetic Tone Pictures” and now takes him on a recital tour. The pieces, with haunting titles like “In the Old Castle” and “Goblins’ Dance,” fall within a tradition of solo piano medleys somewhere between Schumann’s “Kinderszenen” and Debussy’s “Images.” Symphony Center. 3 p.m., January 29.

Notable events in Chicago

• Hot on the heels of the Winter Chamber Music Festival and its parade of renowned string quartets, the Danish String Quartet performs Haydn, Shostakovich and Britten in the first half of a concert, and their own arrangements of Nordic folk music in the second. Armerding Centre, Wheaton College. 7:30 p.m., January 26.
• Early music ensemble Blue Heron, from Boston’s early music hotbed, performs composer Johannes Ockeghem’s Renaissance Requiem as part of the group’s long-term project to present Ockeghem’s complete works in the years leading up to his 600th birthday . Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago. 7:30 p.m., January 27.
• The National Geographic Live series, which generally tends towards the zoo, instead examines the lingering impact of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. Auditorium Theatre. 2 p.m., January 29.
• Juan Diego Florez, one of the great tenor stars of the opera world, makes his first appearance in Chicago since 2005 to sing a recital of arias and songs. Symphony Center. 7:30 p.m., January 31.
• The Architecture and Design Film Festival, a New York-based series that hosts satellite events in multiple cities, hosts its first event in Chicago in six years. Of local interest, the film “Committee of Six” recreates the 1955 University of Chicago meetings on urban renewal in Hyde Park, a double feature offered on February 4 and 5. Chicago Center for Architecture. February 1-5.

Opening in Chicago

• “Knowledge of the Heart: Science and Empathy in the Art of Dario Robleto” infuses visual art with scientific elements, including biological materials as sculptural media and various installations involving the beating of the heart. The exhibition marks the end of Robleto’s five-year artist residency at Northwestern’s School of Engineering. Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. January 26 to July 9.
• Actor Alexis J. Roston plays Billie Holiday in a cabaret in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Venus Cabaret, Mercury Theater Chicago. January 27 to March 12.
• A world premiere, the counterfactual play “Boulevard of Bold Dreams” imagines the setting where Hattie McDaniel decides not to accept her Oscar for “Gone with the Wind.” Theater Line of Time. February 1 to March 19.
• “The Black Motorist’s Green Book” exhibit features materials on the mid-20th century travel guide for black Americans intended to avoid dangerous conflicts over Jim Crow laws and other harmful institutions. The real-life Green Book inspired the 2018 Best Picture Oscar winner of the same name. Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. January 29 to April 23.
• Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale medley musical “Into the Woods” receives the first of two large-scale professional productions locally this year, appropriately for a show about the reinterpretation of fairy tales. Supreme Theater. February 1 to March 19.

Closure

• “The First Homosexuals” and Michiko Itatani’s exhibits at Wrightwood 659 are officially sold out, but word on the street is that the waiting list is moving fast. Wrightwood 659. Until January 28.
• “The best brothel in Texas.” Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater. Until January 29.