OC Arts Calendar: 10 Things You Don’t Want to Miss This Fall

Photo courtesy L.A. Opera

"Don Carlo" comes to Chapman University this fall in a lightly staged production.

The 2018 fall arts season is full of delights, premieres, rarities and artists at the top of their game. Here are our top 10 picks of don’t-miss events between now and the end of the year.

A FAR CRY WITH SIMONE DINNERSTEIN:  A Far Cry, Boston’s Grammy-nominated, self-conducted chamber orchestra, performs the Southern California debut of Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No. 3, a new work for piano and strings co-commissioned by A Far Cry and composed by Glass specifically for Simone Dinnerstein.  The program includes Glass’ Symphony No, 3 as well as Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Keyboard Concerto in G Minor. If you’re familiar with Dinnerstein’s illuminating recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, you’ll want to come for the Bach alone. 8 p.m. Sept. 14. Soka University Performing Arts Center. 949-480-4278 or soka.edu/pac

KNIGHTS IN ARMOR: This large and detailed exhibit showcases stunning masterpieces of European arms and armor, dating from the Medieval and Renaissance ages to the Romanticized Medieval revival of the 1800s. The provocative beauty and uncanny craftsmanship of more than 90 pieces of armor, including full suits, helmets, corselets, shields, swords and paintings on loan from the Museo Stibbert of Florence, Italy bring to life the legendary figure of the knight, his code of chivalry, his sense of fashion and his battlefield role. Sept. 22-Jan. 14. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana.. 714-567-3600 or bowers.org

PLÁCIDO DOMINGO IN “DON CARLO”: Opera legend Plácido Domingo, the LA Opera Chorus and Orchestra and an all-star cast join forces at Chapman University’s flagship venue, the Musco Center, for this concert version of one of Verdi’s most ambitious operas. Starring renowned tenor Ramón Vargas in the title role, Domingo as his heroic friend Rodrigo, and Ana Maria Martínez as Elisabeth de Valois, this is the second time Domingo has brought a lightly staged version of a major production already programmed for the L.A. Opera season.  You won’t get any sets, but the music should magnificent. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Chapman University, Musco Center for the Arts. 844-626-8726 or muscocenter.org

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS: Winner of nine Grammy awards and a Pulitzer Prize, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has transcended mere virtuosity as a jazz and classical soloist and bandleader to become an international ambassador for American music. This special program focuses on another African-American musical icon, Duke Ellington. Marsalis plays with 15 of the finest soloists and ensemble players in jazz music today. New at the Irvine Barclay Theatre: Gold Seats ($200), which include private Gold Bar Intermission before the show with complimentary beverages, plus a post-performance reception with the artists. 8 p.m. Oct. 2. Irvine Barclay Theatre. 949-854-4646 or thebarclay.org

LAGUNA DANCE FESTIVAL: The small but mighty annual weekend festival offers sensational world-class dancing on an intimate theater stage as well as performances at art galleries and site-specific outdoor venues.  Attracting both dancers and dance lovers to downtown Laguna’s idyllic resort setting, the festival includes major annual performances, as well as education and small-group opportunities. This year’s festival features New York’s Complexions, Sankofa Danzafro, and the Stars of the Dance. Oct. 6 and 7.  Laguna Playhouse. 949-497-2787 or lagunaplayhouse.com

ACADEMY OF ST MARTIN IN THE FIELDS CHAMBER ENSEMBLE: Drawn from the principal players of the renowned Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Academy Chamber Ensemble was created in 1967 to perform larger-scale works from the chamber music repertoire, including octets and various other configurations. Schubert’s masterful Octet is on the program.  Led by violinist Tomo Keller, the Chamber Ensemble has released more than 30 recordings. Presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Samueli Theater. 949-553-2422 or philharmonicsociety.org

AHMAD JAMAL: Now 88 years young, the Pittsburgh-born pianist, composer, bandleader and educator has been at the pinnacle of American jazz for more than five decades. He tours constantly, long after his colleagues have retired, and he’s generally recognized as one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz. His rare Orange County appearance in one night only.  8 p.m. Oct. 19. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. 8 p.m. Oct. 19. 714-556-2787 or scfta.org

KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY: This dynamic group, which visits Southern California too rarely, is hailed throughout the world for a movement language and sense of commitment unlike any other dance company. Under the artistic direction of Rami Be’er, its style is hyper-kinetic, physically compelling and unrestrained, embodying Israeli dance at its best. “Horses in the Sky,” an evening-length work, will be presented. It combines a dreamlike ambience with vibrant movement to create a dynamic and unforgettable visual tableau. 8 p.m. Oct. 24. Irvine Barclay Theatre. 949-854-4646 or thebarclay.org

BERNSTEIN @100: Centenary celebrations for Leonard Bernstein have been breaking out all over America and his music is dominating the airwaves in a sudden burst of Lenny-like energy, reminding us of the sheer audacity of his talent. He was not only the first American conductor to break into a European-dominated profession, but he excelled as a composer for Broadway and the concert hall, played a spirited piano, and was perhaps the finest celebrity music educator ever. Conductor Carl St.Clair, a Bernstein acolyte,  leads the Pacific Symphony through an all-Bernstein program that includes Chichester Psalms and Serenade. Oct. 26-27. Segerstrom Concert Hall. 714-755-5788 or pacificsymphony.org

“JANE AUSTEN’S EMMA, THE MUSICAL”: Jane Austen’s enduring love story is brought to life as a romantic comedy in musical form. The plot revolves around Emma, a well-meaning but disaster-prone matchmaker, who ignores her own romantic feelings while setting out to find a suitor for her friend Harriet. Her efforts go awry, resulting in hilarious and perplexing situations. The Chance is one of Southern California’s most prolific producers of musicals in intimate settings. Nov. 23-Dec. 23. Chance Theater. 888-455-4212 or chancetheater.com