Image: Notes 5/20

Ruth & Estelle from the 11th Hour Theatre Co.

There is so much to see and enjoy at the revamped and now reopened Philadelphia Museum of Art after a major undertaking that cost millions and will bring this venerable local institution into the 21st century and beyond. Many remarkable changes highlight both the exterior and interior of this handsome edifice including an entirely redesigned West Entrance adjacent to the parking area and where tour buses and SEPTA come and go. The four years  that went into these amazing renovations and entirely new developments include some 22,000 more feet of gallery space,  a new Forum that replaces the old auditorium, the huge corridor that slices through the building from one end to the other is now  totally open to visitors for the first time since the 1970's. New shows on view include "Senga Nengudi: Topologies" celebrating this leader of the 1970's Black American avant-garde as a pioneering artist; "Unexpected Surfaces"  exploring how artists use surprising materials to create drawings and prints; "New Early American Galleries";  "New Grit: Art & Philly Now"; a virtual program on May 25 at 1 p.m. is "Sovereignty, Nationhood & North American Indigenous Art, a Roz Perry Memorial Lecture from noon to 1 p.m.;'  2600 The Parkway. Details and information at 215-763-8100.  •

Another new vista on our cityscape is the American Bible Society Center in the Wells Fargo building at 5th and Market Streets, known officially as the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center highlighting Scripture's influence on U. S. History. Avoiding the term "museum", the Society describes its new home as an "attraction" but with such items on display as William Penn's Bible, a handsome artifact in this  $60 million, 40,000 square foot addition to the highly popular Independence Mall's appealing historical edifices. Information at 215-309-0401.  •

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society offers the Junction Trio on May 20 at 6 p.m. in the local premiere of Zorn's "Ghosts", op. 70, Ives' Piano Trio and Ravel's Piano Trio in A Minor. On May 23 at 3 p.m., storyteller Odds Bodkin has crafted an original fairytale based on works by Dvorak and performed by soprano Sarah Shafer, mezzo soprano Jazimina MacNeil and pianist Jonathan Ware. PCMS's concerts are available streaming and also with a limited audience of 25 at the American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut St. Tickets and details at 215-569-8080.  •

11th Hour Theatre Co.'s Spring Series continues on May 22 at 7:30 p.m., a Quarantine Cabaret starring Amanda Jill Robinson and Jenna Pinchbeck with their alter egos Ruth and Estelle in an evening of laughs as they show how they got through 2020  and its trials and tribulations.  Streaming up to two weeks after opening night. Tickets and information at 267-987-9865.  •

Amici Opera takes on Mascagni's rarely heard "Le Maschere" on May 23 at 3 p.m., sung in Italian by young operatic voices with piano accompaniment. Social distancing is guaranteed, hand sanitizers are available and attendees must bring their own masks. Redeemer UMC, 1128 Cottman Ave.  Repeated on May 30 at 3 p.m. 215-224-0257.  •

The Spring edition of "Cabaret of the Exiled" is set for May 24 at 7 p.m., "a virtual extravaganza" featuring Johnny Showcase and a group of talented actors, singers , musicians and special guests in support of Theatre Exile's free education and outreach programs. Tickets and details at 215-218-4022.  •

STREAMING FROM AFAR:  Three popular cabaret singing stars have created streaming concerts, each very different from the others and each a joy to watch and hear. Broadway star and frequent Tony nominee and winner Sutton Foster's "Bring Me to Light" also features her Broadway friend Raul Esparza and others in hit tunes and special material, through May 31 at . Actor Jeremy Jordan's first smash was the musical "Newsies" and his streaming act is "Carry On" with some raw details of a tough past which for this video he wrote and directed. Through  June 17 from

The great Marilyn Maye's sensational performance in "Broadway, the Maye Way" belies her 93 years but greatly features the extremes of her experience and musical magic. Through June 19 from  •

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra's May 20 event at 6 p.m. is the Momenta Quartet highlighting their "artistic vision encompassing  contemporary music of all aesthetic  backgrounds alongside great music from the recent and distant past. Tickets and repertory data at 609-497-0020 or   •

The Metropolitan Opera's "Met Stars Live in Concert" on May 22  presents three busy young stars of the international opera stage, headed by our own Academy of Vocal Arts' soprano Ailyn Perez along with soprano Nadine Sierra and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in a live concert of  favorite arias and scenes, presented in association with the Opera Royal du Chateau de Versailles whose sumptuous 250 year old theatre, inaugurated for Marie Antoinette's royal wedding, is the venue for this performance. 1 p.m. and available on demand for 14 days. Tickets at or 212-362-6000.  •


The Metropolitan Opera's long history of free nightly streaming of scintillating productions of current and archival performances continues for the week ahead with on May 19, Mussorgksy's "Boris Godunov",  Ekaterina Semenchuk,  Aleksanders Antonenko, Rene Pape; May 20; Bellini's "La Sonnambula", Natalie Dessay Curtis's Juan Diego Florez; May 21:Verdi's "Nabucco", Lyudmila Monas;tyrska,  Jamie Barton, Placido Domingo;  May 22: Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor", Joan Sutherland, Alfredo Kraus, Pablo Elvira, a genuine rarity from 1982 with Richard Bonynge conducting;  May 23: Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades", Galina Gorchakova, Elisabeth Soderstrom, Dmitri Hvorostovky, Domingo;  May 24: Massenet's "Thais", Renee Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Michael Schade; May 25: Borodin's "Prince Igor", Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili, Ildar Adrazakov;  May 26: Rossini's "La Donna del Lago:,  Academy of Vocal Arts' Joyce DiDonato, Florez, Daniela Barcellona. 7:30 p.m. and available until 6:30 p.m. the next evening. Great operas, brilliant singing stars, stunning costumes and decors, plus the brilliant Met Opera Chorus and Orchestra. •

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