By now you should have your new 2015 calendar. An entire year stretches before you with blank pages. Here are 15 important local arts and entertainment events worth your attention. They are listed in chronological order so it will be easy to move them into your date book.
1. College Football Playoff Concerts
Jan. 10-11: College football royalty will be facing off in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. But those who count themselves bigger music fans than followers of college football have been excited for weeks about the parties and concerts surrounding the event. Lenny Kravitz (Jan. 10) and Sting (Jan. 11) will be the headline performers for “AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!,” the concert series taking place at American Airlines Center in Dallas. (By the way, if you miss out on these concerts but want to hit another biggie at the AAC this year, get tickets for Billy Joel on Jan. 22, The Who on May 2 or Neil Diamond on May 28.) $450-$650 for the game; the only remaining “Playlist Live!” concert tickets are $30-$40. 800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.attstadium.com, www.collegefootballplayoff.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
2. Dallas Opera Scales ‘Everest’
Jan. 30 is opening night of the first of three world premieres for the Dallas Opera in 2015, and it promises to take audiences to new heights. Joby Talbot’s and Gene Scheer’s Everest (through Feb. 7) is based on a true story of survival among hikers on the world’s tallest mountain. Because it’s a short opera, it will be paired on a double bill with Catalani’s 1892 one-act opera La Wally, which is set in the Austrian Alps. Also on the premiere front, later in the year, will be Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott (October) and Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus. (Dates for Great Scott and Becoming Santa Claus will be announced when the Dallas Opera 2015-16 season is released Jan. 19 and will go on sale later.) All are at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas. Tickets for Everest/La Wally are $19-$214. 214-443-1000; www.dallasopera.org.
3. Grand Reveals at the Modern
Feb. 21-Aug. 23: You aren’t the only one who has been shopping; so have the curators at the Modern. They have been holding all their new acquisitions for a grand reveal. For “Framing Desire: Photography and Video,” they will mount more than 40 new purchases with iconic photographs and videos from the permanent collection. Pieces by Cory Arcangel, Artemio, Rineke Dijkstra, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ryan McGinley and Allison V. Smith, among many others, will make their debut. $4-$10. 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth. 817-738-9215; www.themodern.org.
4. DFW gets ‘Kinky’
Feb. 24-March 8 and Oct. 27-Nov. 1: Kinky Boots, the 2013 Tony Award winner for best musical, will make two area stops this year, in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Among the shows making their way to both North Texas cities, this is the most significant. The musical is based on the 2005 movie about a struggling British shoe manufacturer who gets a boost when a drag queen suggests making footwear for cross dressers; it features a Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper. It opens Feb. 24 at Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas (800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com); and Oct. 27 at Bass Hall in Fort Worth (817-212-4280; www.basshall.com). Tickets in Dallas are $30.25-$109.75; single tickets at Bass Hall have not gone on sale yet, but subscriptions are still available.
5. FWSO goes Lang Lang
Feb. 28: One of the world’s most in-demand pianists, Lang Lang — he of fast fingers and showy performance — headlines the annual Fort Worth Symphony Gala at Bass Hall. The story goes that Chinese-born Lang Lang developed a love for the piano at age 2 after watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon called “The Cat Concerto.” The “rock-star” pianist, 32, has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He joins the FWSO for one of the most beloved works of all time, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Tickets to the concert only are $35-$110. Call 817-665-6500 or visit www.fwsymphony.org for more information about the concert and dinner following at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel.
6. The Art of the Basses
March 1-May 24: For a peek into an art collection of the 1-percenters, plan to view the Kimbell Art Museum’s “The Collection of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass.” It is a selection of 37 paintings and sculptures, from the impressionists to works post-World War II, from the Bass patriarch and his wife. Their collection includes paintings by Picasso, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, Miró, Léger, Chagall and Rothko, and sculptures by Rodin, Maillol and Segal. This free exhibition will be in the Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-332-8451; www.kimbellart.org.
7. Serious Chops for Chopin
March 5-8: Frédéric Chopin is a favorite composer of all time; his mind-bending etudes and rapturous nocturnes are firmly in the repertoire of the most accomplished pianists in the world. It’s only fitting, then, that the Cliburn Foundation would bring some of the most distinguished and popular competition alumni to be the featured artists in the first Cliburn Festival focused on the works of Chopin. Five concerts will take place at the Kimbell Art Museum’s Piano Pavilion. The festival will feature performances from artists including Fei-Fei Dong, a 2013 Cliburn competition finalist; Di Wu and Mariangela Vacatello, 2009 finalists; and Davide Cabassi, a 2005 finalist. Tickets are $35 per concert, or $150-$300 for festival passes. 817-212-4280; www.cliburn.org.
8. TBT Mixes it Up
April 17-19 and May 29-31: Last year the Texas Ballet Theater commissioned a study to find ways of generating larger audiences. It was suggested the company present new and edgier works. As a result, the spring mixed repertory concerts will stage renowned choreographer Jirí Kylián’s Petite Mort and, on the Fort Worth program, a world premiere by another international choreographer, Jonathan Watkins. Petite Mort, set to the music of Mozart, is described as “an intense piece that juxtaposes pleasure and death; choreography...features foils as dance partners.” The concerts are “Masterworks,” April 17-19 at City Performance Hall in Dallas, and “Artistic Director’s Choice,” May 29-31 at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. $20-$55 in Dallas and $15-$80 in Fort Worth. 877-828-9200; www.texasballettheater.org.
9. Meadows’ Family Collections
April 18-Aug. 2: The Meadows Museum’s “The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters” is a three-decades-long flurry of acquisition, or how Juan Abelló and his wife, Anna Gamazo, built one of the top private collections in Spain with works by Bacon, Braque, Canaletto, Chagall, Dalí, Degas, Goya, El Greco, Matisse, Miró, Modigliani, Picasso and Ribera. This will be the first time the collection has been the sole focus of an exhibition, and the Meadows Museum is the only stop on the tour. A similar exhibition of a single family’s collection, “Treasures From the House of Alba,” will be on exhibit at the Meadows beginning Sept. 4. Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop Blvd., on the Southern Methodist University campus, Dallas. $4-$10. 214-769-2516; www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org.
10. Arlington gets Country Superstars
April 19: Arlington becomes the country music mecca of the world when the 50th anniversary of the Academy of Country Music Awards presentation comes to AT&T Stadium. For the first time, the festivities will be leaving Nashville. Superstars Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will co-host, and fans can expect everyone who’s anyone in country music to be in town the week leading up to the broadcast. Expect other concerts to pop up around the event, including at the established venues that country music patrons know and love, such as Billy Bob’s Texas. The ACMs will be broadcast live on CBS. $72-$525. 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.
11. ‘Dog Days’ of Spring
April 24-May 2: This year’s Fort Worth Opera Festival leads off with the regional premiere of David T. Little’s and Royce Vavrek’s Dog Days, a contemporary work based on the short story of the same name by Judith Budnitz. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a friendship grows between a 13-year-old girl and a man who has chosen to live life as a dog. FWO promises a “raw” and “affecting” opera — one that The Wall Street Journal has called “a punch in the stomach” and “one of the most exciting operas in recent years.” (Get a sneak peek at the Opera Overture event 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.) Festival events will be April 24-May 10; Dog Days is staged April 24, 26, 28-29 and May 1-2 in the Scott Theatre inside the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, and tickets are $75. 817-731-0726; www.fwopera.org.
12. Soul and Soluna
May 4-24: The Dallas Symphony gets into the international festival game with its first Soluna: International Music & Arts Festival. The event, themed “Destination (America),” features commissions, music, dance, performance art and more by internationally renowned visual artists and musicians such as Alex Prager, Pipilotti Rist and Francisco Moreno. Local cultural institutions involved include the DSO (under maestro Jaap van Zweden and featuring artist-in-resident Conrad Tao), the Dallas Black Dance Theater, Avant Chamber Ballet, Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Nasher Sculpture Center, Latino Cultural Center, Perot Museum of Nature and Science and more. Events are at the Meyerson Symphony Center and in various venues in the Dallas Arts District. Event tickets and package prices range widely. 214-TIX-4DSO; www.dallassymphony.org.
13. Cliburn for Kids
June 21-28: The Cliburn’s inaugural International Junior Piano Competition and Festival takes place at Texas Christian University, with a jury chaired by 1997 Cliburn gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu. This event is significant for younger pianists (ages 13-17) who are getting started on the international piano competition circuit. Twenty-four competitors (to be announced March 20) will be chosen to come to Fort Worth for the competition, which will involve several rounds and culminate in performances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Performances, which are open to the public, will take place in Ed Landreth Auditorium and PepsiCo Recital Hall at TCU. Tickets will go on sale early this year. 817-212-4280; www.cliburn.org.
14. Carter Celebrates American Indian Art
July 5-Sept. 13: The Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents “Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art From the Diker Collection.” The celebrated American Indian art collection, one of the finest in private hands, will exhibit about 120 works of basketry, pottery, sculpture, ivories and kachina dolls from tribes across the North American continent. Free. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2500 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth. 817-738-1933; www.cartermuseum.org.
15. DMA goes ‘Pop!’
Oct. 11-Jan. 17: Dallas Museum of Art’s “International Pop” is a groundbreaking exhibition that follows the trajectories of pop art as it traversed the globe. It spawned nouveau réalisme in France, concretism and new-concretism in Brazil, the art of things in Argentina, anti-art in Japan, capitalist realism in Germany, happenings and Neo-Dadaism. It will all be deftly illustrated at the museum. Tickets are $16. 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas. 214-922-1200; www.dma.org.