More good news for concert lovers comes with the Mondavi Center’s announcement of a full slate of live concerts for the 2021–2022 season. A statement by Mondavi Center Executive Director Don Roth captures the current optimism. “Every Mondavi Center season announcement is eagerly anticipated and exciting, a highlight in our cultural calendar,” he said. “But now, launching a season on the heels of a pandemic year, which kept our theaters dark for more than a year and a half, makes this a truly extraordinary moment.”
Things get underway on Oct. 14, when Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra present Fandango at the Wall with special guests the Villalobos Brothers and the Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective. Other jazz-and-roots-oriented shows on the calendar include Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra on Oct 23, Veronica Swift on Nov. 21, Damien Sneed on Dec. 4, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on Feb. 2, 2022, and Becca Stevens on Feb. 10.
The Alexander Quartet is back this season with Robert Greenberg in a series featuring Dvořák’s chamber music on Dec. 5, Jan. 30, 2022, and May 15. Other classical-music highlights include pianist Christopher Taylor performing the Liszt transcriptions of the nine Beethoven symphonies on Nov. 6–7 and April 22 and 24, 2022; the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on Dec. 10; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 15, 2022; Heartbeat Opera’s Fidelio on Feb. 19–20; the piano duo of Garrick Ohlsson and Kirill Gerstein on Mar. 6; the Dresher-Davel Invented Instrument Duo on Mar. 11–12; Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell on Mar. 12; pianist Lara Downes with Clarice Assad and Britton-René Collins performing World of Change on May 6; and wrapping the season, flutist Grace Leslie on May 19.
Theater lovers can check out the Red Door Project’s Evolve on Nov. 5; Eliza Jane Schneider’s Freedom of Speech on Nov. 11–12; Still Will Be Heard, Liz Queler and Seth Farber’s multi-genre musical-theater setting of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay on Nov.17–19.
For dance enthusiasts, the calendar offers Pamyua on Nov. 21; Circa performing Humans 2.0 on Jan. 28, 2022; Ronald K. Brown and Evidence, a Dance Company on Feb. 26; Kinetech Arts performing Passage on Mar. 9–10; and the Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernandez on Mar. 18.
Curmudgeons everywhere can revel in the sardonic wit of Fran Lebowitz on Feb. 24, 2022. Other speakers in the series include Heather McGhee on Apr. 3 and David Sedaris on May 1.
Ross sums up the Center’s philosophy on live performances:
I am thrilled that we can present to you a season of artists and thinkers, many of whom have profound things to say about where we are as a culture and where we’re going as a society. Just as importantly, each one of them will remind us of the magic that only happens with live performance. We are thrilled to return, as the lights start to go on again in theaters, galleries, and museums across our region, our nation and the world.”