Fall Arts Preview 2022: Opera and Dance You Won’t Want to Miss

There’s not much better than catching a new opera or taking in a great dance performance. Here is our curated fall list for opera and dance.

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Of the big performing-arts institutions that emerged from lockdown last season, the Metropolitan Opera did astonishingly well. Not a single performance was canceled due to covid, which is miraculous when you consider it takes hundreds of people to put on opera. It goes to show that NYC’s finest opera and dance companies will not be kept down. And here they are, ushering in a new season of opera (live and online), dance ripped from the headlines, and soul-restoring work that contemplates justice, poetry, Black strength, citizenship, and the fragility of our daily lives. No dancer or singer is invulnerable, but wow, they sometimes seem superhuman.


  • Joyce Theater

Alan Cumming, Renaissance Man. He starred on Broadway as the Emcee in Cabaret; he opened a downtown cabaret with his name; he’s even got a men’s fragrance named after him. Now the irresistible Scots multi-hyphenate dips a toe into dance with this solo performance co-created with choreographer Steven Hoggett. A mixture of movement, drama and poetry recital, the piece examines the life and mind of Scottish bard Robert Burns.

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Burn Laurence Winram Photography

Fall for Dance Festival

  • New York City Center

Over five programs, New York City Center’s indispensable banquet of dance returns, with engagements by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the New York debut of Kyiv City Ballet, a New York premiere by Pam Tanowitz, and the live premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Two of Us, set to Joni Mitchell classics and featuring Sara Mearns and Robbie Fairchild. (The latter work originally premiered online during lockdown.)

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Fall for Dance (Boys Don't Cry) © Mirabelwhite

Monochromatic Light (Afterlife)

  • Park Avenue Armory

MacArthur “Genius” composer Tyshawn Sorey premieres a new piece inspired by Morton Feldman’s music commemorating the opening of Houston’s Rothko Chapel fifty years ago. More than just a music concert, this unique event will be “ritualized” by opera director Peter Sellars, blending Sorey’s meditative music with striking visuals by Julie Mehretu and choreography by flex pioneer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray.

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Monochromatic Light (Afterlife) john rogers

Fidelio (Online)

  • Heartbeat Opera

Beethoven’s one and only opera is a tale of wrongful conviction and the perseverance of love, and those themes come through brilliantly in this boldly modern staging. Ethan Heard’s 90-minute, English-language adaptation for five singers and seven instruments makes direct connections to our #BlackLivesMatter present, unfolding in the broken American prison system. Originally staged in NYC in 2018, this “virtual premiere” will be offered free. 

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Fidelio Russ Rowland

Everything For Dawn (Online)

  • Experiments in Opera

During the pandemic, most performing-arts groups pivoted to online content, and some are still using the medium to reach a broader audience. This fall on All Arts, Experiments in Opera will broadcast a serialized opera, ten 15-minute episodes, each written by a different librettist/composer combo. The story concerns family ties, mental illness, and the art world: Detroit teenager Dawn’s father has recently committed suicide. When Dawn and her mother discover his paintings, the artwork is celebrated as “outsider art.”

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Everything for Dawn Reuben Radding


  • BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Maybe you like getting lost in a mob of sweaty strangers as EDM throbs on speakers and strobe lights atomize your vision; maybe that’s your idea of hell. Either way, crowd dynamics are a fascinating social phenomenon, and in this feverish recreation of a rave, French choreographer Gisèle Vienne teases out a series of stories from the mass. If you were at a dance party and wanted to stop time, rotate bodies, isolate them, and scrutinize their flailing motions, this show will give you that godlike perspective.

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Crowd Courtesy of Crowd


  • Apollo Theater

Camille A. Brown made history last season as the first Black director at the Metropolitan Opera (Fire Shut Up in My Bones). Now the powerhouse director-choreographer makes her Apollo debut with the uptown premiere of ink, which celebrates Black love, solidarity, and resilience. Brown surfs freely among dance vocabularies—tap, jazz, African, modern, and hip-hop—to illustrate various superpowers possessed by Black people over the centuries. 

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ink's Camille Brown Josefina Santos

Oratorio Society of New York

  • Carnegie Hall

Formidable chorus master Kent Tritle leads his dazzling Oratorio Society in an evocative double bill about American identity. First it’s the world premiere of A Nation of Others, an oratorio about the nature of citizenship by librettist Mark Campbell and composer Paul Moravec. The other half is Robert Paterson’s Whitman’s America (2016), settings of poems from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra. Soloists include Susanna Phillips (soprano), Maeve Höglund (soprano), Raehann Bryce-Davis (mezzo-soprano), Martin Bakari (tenor), Steven Eddy (baritone), and Joseph Beutel (bass-baritone).

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NEW YORK - DECEMBER 29: Carnegie Hall at 57th Street and 7th Avenue December 29, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

The Hours

  • The Metropolitan Opera

Continuing the Met’s strong commitment to new American opera, this eagerly awaited adaptation of the 1998 Michael Cunningham novel (also a film) will feature a score by Kevin Puts, to a libretto by Greg Pierce. Three women over three time periods mirror the stream-of-consciousness prose of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway: planning parties, buying flowers, battling depression. The world premiere will be anchored by three great divas: Joyce DiDonato as Woolf, Kelli O’Hara as Laura Brown, and Renée Fleming as Clarissa Vaughan.

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The Hours Courtesy of Company


  • Chelsea Factory

Dynamic and fearless choreographer Raja Feather Kelly (A Strange Loop on Broadway) unveils the third of his searing dance-theater solos responding to the lack of Black queer voices in mainstream live art. The reason for this absence comes from all sides: institutional gatekeepers, art critics, even the audience—who are asked to acknowledge their own implication in how the media shapes public discourse.

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