DC Artswatch: July 12, 2017

DC Artswatch

Earlier this month, longtime Washington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre became artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet, succeeding former Royal Swedish Ballet artistic director Madeleine Onne. The newly married Webre, who goes by Wei Seng Teen (“one who protects talent”) in China, will continue to serve as artistic director of the Georgetown-based nonprofit Halcyon, converting its interdisciplinary arts series, Halcyon Stage, into a 10-day festival in June of 2018.

This Wednesday through Friday, in front of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, the public can observe the cleaning of two five-foot-high figural groups by Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The event will take place outdoors because it involves the high-pressure blasting of the works, “Labor Supported by Science and Art” and “Law Supported by Power and Love,” with pellets of solid carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice. The bronze sculptures, connected with a canceled Boston Public Library commission, will return to the Freer courtyard when the museum reopens Oct. 14 following renovations.

Howard Shalwitz, cofounder and artistic director of Woolly Mammoth, announced that the coming season would be his last with the inexplicably named theater company, which presented its first performances in 1980 in the Church of the Epiphany’s parish hall on G Street NW. From Sept. 5 to Oct. 8, he will act in Woolly’s production of a new translation of “The Arsonists,” Max Frisch’s 1958 play about the rise of Nazism and Communism. Shalwitz’s successor at the company, which opened its own space on D Street NW in 2005, is expected to be named next spring.

“Experimental musical laboratory” PostClassical Ensemble, founded in Washington in 2003 by conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez and music historian Joe Horowitz, has been named ensemble in residence at Washington National Cathedral. (Gil-Ordóñez spilled the beans at Georgetown Media Group’s June 22 Cultural Leadership Breakfast.) During PCE’s inaugural 2017-18 season at the cathedral, the innovative chamber orchestra will give three performances, contextualized by exhibits and talks: “Music in Wartime: A Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration” on Dec. 7, “Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual” on Feb. 28 and “Secret Music Skirmishes of the Cold War: The Shostakovich Case” on May 23.


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