ArtsWatch Weekend: A short calendar of events

Daniel Benzali and Patrick Alparone star in John Logan's Rothko bio-drama "Red"/Patrick Weishampel

We’re borrowing from our Two-week Calendar for a little heads-up on this weekend’s busy arts schedule. This is mostly a sketch of the larger events in Portland, and honestly, we have no idea what anyone’s specific personal needs may be! So, yes, we encourage speculation and experimentation.

Really big shows

“Red,” Feb. 24-March 18, Portland Center Stage: John Logan’s bio-play (and winner of 6 Tony awards) about Mark Rothko, one of the many Western artists who migrated to New York and founded Abstract Expressionism, has special resonance here, because Rothko was born in Portland, and the Portland Art Museum has opened a show of his work. The fabulous Daniel Benzali stars as Rothko.

“Giselle,” Feb. 25-March 3, Oregon Ballet Theatre: “Giselle” has been with us since 1841, proving just how much staying-power a spooky, romantic ghost story can have. (A lesson Hollywood has adapted to its own purpose$.) For this version of the ballet, Romantic-era ballet expert Lola de Avila will be creating a world premiere staging of the story on a lush set from Florence with the full OBT orchestra in support.

We do jazz

Portland Jazz Festival, Feb. 17-26, various venues: This weekend’s biggest concerts feature singer Dee Dee Bridgewater (Thursday), drum legend Roy Haynes, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, guitar greats Bill Frisell and Charlie Hunter, pianist Vijay Iyer, and a rich panoply of Portland’s own superb improvisers and composers, led by a tribute to veteran trumpeter and teacher Thara Memory. The deeper you dig, the better it gets.

The 4-hour string quartet? Sure!

Vertical Thoughts: String Quartet No. 2 by Morton Feldman, 2-6 pm, Feb. 24, Third Angle, Ellen Bye Studio Theater, Portland Center Stage: Nothing will prepare you for the expanses of Mark Rothko’s abstract canvases (which frequently inspired Feldman) quite like listening to Feldman’s equally expansive String Quartet No. 2, all four hours of it. No need to be obsessive, though. You can come and go from the performance by Third Angle as you like.

The Portland art primer

Portland2012, Feb. 26-May 19, Disjecta: Curated by Prudence Roberts, this biennial exhibition by the advanced contemporary art outpost, Disjecta, spreads itself to various locations throughout the city, from Disjecta itself in Kenton to Marylhurst College and PCC Rock Creek with stops downtown, too. Look at the schedule closely, because different venues open on different days.

Live, from the City of Choruses

“The Peaceable Kingdom,” Feb. 25-26, Choral Arts Ensemble, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave.: The excellent choir sings songs of peace and love by 20th century American choral composers.

Portland Vocal Consort, Feb. 25-26, Portland’s First Presbyterian Church and Pacific University in Forest Grove: In what’s one of the state’s most valuable annual concerts, some of the Portland area’s finest singers perform contemporary works by some of the Northwest’s finest living composers.

More John Cage

Adam Tendler, Feb. 27, Lincoln Recital Hall, Portland State University: After last weekend’s centenary celebration of John Cage at YU, Adam Tendler performs one of the 20th century’s musical landmarks — John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano. Free.

Mediaeval sublime

Trio Mediaeval, Feb. 28, St. Philip Neri Church: The sublime Oslo-based trio returns with a reconstructed medieval mass, Swedish and Norwegian folk songs, and music by the great contemporary English composer Gavin Bryars.

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