Originally created 09/13/98

A season of plenty



Summer is over. School is back in. The leaves will soon turn, and Augusta's arts groups are gearing up to offer a myriad of performances, events and exhibits.

The 1998-99 arts season listed in these pages include a mix of familiar productions, timeless classics, annual festivals and the return of a hometown heroine.

On Sept. 26, the Augusta Symphony begins its season by honoring one of the 20th century's most notable composers with A George Gershwin Centennial concert devoted entirely to his music.

"The 26th of September is his exact birth date. You couldn't do any better than that," said Augusta Symphony Music Director Donald Portnoy. "At first I thought, well, we'll do one or two pieces Gershwin. Then I thought, this is not going to cut it. The next will be the 200th year (anniversary), and I don't think I'll be here. So I thought, why not do a whole (program)?"

In March, more Gershwin is on tap as the Augusta Opera welcomes the International Touring Company production of the composer's American folk opera Porgy and Bess. In April, the opera will close out the year with Georges Bizet's Carmen, featuring singers from the Metropolitan and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The winter holiday season boasts the usual array of Christmas concerts, the Augusta Ballet's traditional winter treat, The Nutcracker, and Augusta-born opera diva Jessye Norman's performance in front of a hometown crowd Nov. 13 for a PBS special to be aired in December.

For film aficionados, the Greater Augusta Arts Council will hold the second annual officially sanctioned Academy Award gala at Sacred Heart Cultural Center in March.

And folks at the municipal civic center complex will be busy this season, too. The Bell Auditorium's Broadway series will bring in touring productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I and Cats.

Instead of complaining that there is nothing to do and no entertainment options in the Garden City, peruse these pages, find something you like and get out of the house!