The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is a breathtaking glass building that hosts
performances from the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. Besides the repertoire of great productions, there is also a free concert series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.
From September to June, concerts take place most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, and some Wednesdays at noon or 5:30pm. Because of limited seating, admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Although the programming is not geared toward young children, everyone is welcome to attend a concert. Genres range from vocal, piano, jazz, chamber music, world music, and a dance series.
145 Queen Street West (near University Avenue)
+ 1 416 363 8231
Google map: bit.ly/q4GthM
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/GiuliaFalsetti
Here’s an opportunity to enjoy Shakespeare al fresco.
The romantic comedy, The Winter's Tale, is this year's performance at Dream in High Park. This annual summer event has been adapted for both adults and children.
Located at the High Park Theatre, an amphitheatre with seating carved right into the hillside, the stage is surrounded by lush trees and is the perfect setting to experience Shakespeare.
Performances run from the end of June until the beginning of September, Tuesdays through Sundays. Gates open at 6pm, with the performance starting at 8pm. The entry fee is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested minimum donation of $20. There is no fee for children under 14.
Food and beverages are allowed on the site: you can bring your own or purchase from a nearby concession or the Grenadier Café. Public washrooms are also available.
Performances take place weather permitting.
I like to get there early, enjoy a midday picnic, and after taking in the performance, walking through the park and gazing at the stars.
High Park is Toronto's largest public park, with several hiking trails, tennis courts, a lakefront, a dog park, a zoo, playgrounds, and gardens.
Getting there: Take the subway to High Park station, walk east to High Park Avenue and Bloor Street. Enter the park from Bloor Street, follow the road to the Grenadier Café, where you will find signage to the amphitheatre.
1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada
+1 416 368 3110
Google map: bit.ly/qDEvYq
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp
The Teatro Colon is Argentina’s major opera house and one of the city’s finest structures. You should venture into this section of the city, even if you are not interested in the arts, just to capture a photo of the Teatro itself. The sheer enormity of the building is overwhelming and at night the Teatro looks even more impressive and should you be able to afford a ticket, the shows are a must-see. The building is currently being refurbished so you should check it out before the original structure disappears altogether.
Cerrito 618, Buenos Aires 1010
Between Managua and Granada, Masaya is an overlooked town for visitors.
If you're there in Nov/Dec the town has almost daily festivals, the best is San Jeronimo. The rest of the year you can visit a volcano, arts market, baseball stadium and the enjoy the view from nearby Catarina which is one of the best in Nicaragua.
Cross the Knippelsbro bridge to the Christiania district for a slice of Copenhagen’s alternative side. Founded in the 70s when a group of hippies took control of an abandoned military barracks and abstained from Danish rule, it’s a ‘free city’ within a city. Have a coffee along the waterfront and enjoy the paintings, sculpture and live music that seems to spring up everywhere.
Cross Knippelsbro, one of the two bridges connecting Sealand and Amager.
For the festive period, there’s a great Christmas market at Place Sainte Catherine in the Old Town, complete with a Ferris wheel and ice-skating rink. This is a great place to while away an hour or two and pick up some stocking fillers while you’re there.
I'm old enough to remember going to seven Edinburgh Fringe shows in one day at 50p per show. Some were rubbish but who cared at 50p a ticket. Nowadays, choosing a show is a more serious activity with tickets costing an average of £7.
Never fear, checkout www.festivalpreviews.com. This website hosts video preview clips of the shows so that you can see for yourself whether you might like it. The site also has festival clips from Brighton, Adelaide, Avignon, Tokyo, etc etc.
Chapter houses the city's only arthouse cinema, a great bar, a cafe (food is good though service can be slow when busy - allow plenty of time if you're eating before a show or film) and a theatre. It's an easy bus journey or a 15-20 minute walk from the centre of Cardiff.
The Banlieues Bleues, one of the biggest jazz festivals in the Paris area, is an eclectic, lively festival, featuring all kinds of jazz, from traditional to contemporary, European to American blues and soul.
From March 14-April 18.
Although based out of Paris this celebration of poetry takes place across France, and even further afield.
The official website features details of more than 5000 events including readings, debates and workshops.
Runs March 21-31.
Situated to the south-west of Düsseldorf in the small town of Neuss, this is quite simply a Garden of Eden here on Earth. Forget the uninviting title – Germans are masters at finding off-putting names – and put this on your list of “must-visits” immediately.
The idea for the museum – based on an original idea by the French 19th century artist Paul Cézanne of showing art in parallel with nature – came from a Düsseldorf collector by the name of Karl-Heinrich Müller. In 1982 he came across Hombroich Island, an uncultivated park on the banks of the River Erft, and called in a Düsseldorf sculptor by the name of Erwin Heerich to help him turn it into a park containing an orangery, a wonderful empty glass building overlooking a section of the river called the Graubner pavilion which I, and other visitors used an echo chamber (!), and an art gallery.
In 1984 Müller bought up a larger area of land, and had it specially landscaped to contain classical and modern sculptures, a cafe and various other exhibition buildings. Here you can see works by Arp, Calder, Cézanne, Chillida, Corinth, Fautrier, Klein, Matisse, Picabia, Rembrandt, Schwitters, as well as classical Asian works.
The Düsseldorf painter, Gotthard Graubner, helped Müller develop a special exhibition concept, whereby the exhibits are not chronologically ordered but presented according to styles. Almost the best feature of the concept is the refusal to provide any accompanying explanations to the works of art. At first this might prove irritating, but after a short while I found it remarkably liberating as it threw me into a direct confrontation with the work of art without the interpretational crutches of a so-called expert.
By placing traditional Asian art alongside modern European works without any commentary, the exhibition makers have succeeded in creating an exhilarating atmosphere which allows visitors to react to the works intuitively rather than on intellectual theories. The site also contains at least one contemporary artists’ workshop, placed in the midst of the wood like something out of a fairy-tale.
The day I was there the autumn sun was beaming down on a glittering dew-drenched golden landscape, and I wandered around in a trance of joy at the sheer beauty of it all. I was assured by other visitors that it’s an unalloyed pleasure at any time of the year, even and especially when it’s covered in snow. There are plenty of benches along the way enabling you to rest and enjoy the view; and the central café – with outside tables and chairs when the weather’s fine – serves up food and drink free of charge. Allow yourself at least two and a half hours because it’s a large site. To prevent you getting lost, all visitors are provided with a map, showing the gravel paths. Sturdy shoes are recommended, children under the age of 6 have free admission, but dogs are banned.
To protect the landscape, visitors are asked to keep to the gravel paths and picnicking is not allowed. Be warned: after you leave the box office area, you will come to a staircase with no less than 45 steps, so whatever you do don’t bring a pram!
Address: Minkel 2, 41472 Neuss-Holzheim. Tel: (02182) 2094. www.inselhombroich.de
Open: Daily, April to the end of September: 10.00 - 19.00; October 10.00 - 18.00; November to March 10.00 - 17.00. In summer you can stay in the park till 21.00. Minkel 2, 41472 Neuss-Holzheim. Tel: (02182) 2094. www.inselhombroich.de
The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art is a welcome addition to a city known mainly for steel, football and for being crap - not my view I hasten to add! But, perhaps in direct rivalry to its cultural neighbour Newcastle, Middlesbrough opened Mima in 2007 to high praise from the critics.
It holds a wonderful collection of art and applied art and plans to hold high profile travelling exhibitions - a wonderful world class show on the Bauhaus is currently on display in January 2008.
It's a pretty cool looking building too. And it's FREE, so there's no excuse not to stop by.
Middlesbrough, Teeside, Uk. www.visitmima.com
A wonderful experience even if you've never been to an opera before. For the cheapest seats get there early and take a picnic - enjoy watching the glitterati take their seats! Take binoculars for a close-up view, hire a cushion and take a fan.
Verona Opera is in the centre of the city.
A local craft/Brazilian art store in the heart of Ipanema, very close to the beach, in Rio de Janeiro. Everybody knows how rich in art and culture Brazil is, the weird thing is that it's very difficult to find a decent store, with no-cheesy stuff to buy for nice prices.
Brazil & Cia products are among the largest crafts and popular art centres in Brazil. They have Brazilian popular art objects that reflect important aspects of the local culture. The products are exquisite, alive. Makes you want to buy it all, for your home and as souvenirs for relatives and friends.
Rua Maria Quitéria 27 Ipanema (50 m from the beach)
Tel.: +55 (21) 2267-4603
This store is soooooo cute! Little ornaments that'll set the mood pretty much anywhere.
I'm a big fan of Brazil, so I had to pick out a few of their pieces, which scream Brazil all over them. And it's not like other typical cheesy tourist stores you find at just about any corner, this one's got personality.
Rua Maria Quitéria 27 Ipanema (50 m from the beach)
Tel.: +55 (21) 2267-4603
PS122 is the centre of experimental performance (dance, theatre, live art, etc) in New York City. It has been a hub of interesting work for over 30 years.
Sometimes the work is fantastic and sometimes it is not so good - but the low ticket price makes it worth the risk. Their biannual festival, Avant-Garde-Arama is an experience worth the risk.
It is on 1st Avenue and 9th Street in the East Village. You can get their via the L train to 1st avenue, the 6 train to Astor, the R train to 8th Street, or the F to 2nd Avenue.
Office Ops is an arts center-cum- hostel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that has cheap and clean places for people to stay when visiting the city.
Worth checking it out if you are coming to NYC on a budget.
The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre is absolutely amazing. When you see the tapestries and the batik you will not believe that it's all created from the mind, no pictures at all. Truly amazing. They also have wonderful pottery.
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