November 22, 2014

Culture Watch: ArtsNaples Returns

The second annual festival brings a Latin beat.

Pianist Nachito Hererra is one of the highlights of the second year of ArtsNaples World Festival.

Pianist Nachito Hererra is one of the highlights of the second year of ArtsNaples World Festival.

ES AÑO DOS PARA  ArtsNaples World Festival. And this time it has a Latin flavor. Although the festival is dramatically scaled back from its ambitious first-year romp through Mother Russia, there is still plenty of excitement surrounding the performances on tap.

To me, the biggest draw is the Naples return of Nachito Herrera, who came in November with the Cuban National Orchestra to the Phil for what had to be the most enthusiastic performance of the year. The chance to see him play the piano at a venue as small as The von Liebig Art Center is too good to pass up. Add to that a closing-night performance by trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval at the Phil on May 14, and you’ve got a strong lineup. But there’s more. More concerts, including Priscila Navarro, Antonio Madruga and Rene Gonzalez. More cultural offerings from the Naples Botanical Garden, The von Liebig, Naples International Film Festival and the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples.

One conspicuous absence this year is drama. Last year found the wonderfully funny play The Inspector General at the Sugden Theatre and the opera Eugene Onegin at the Phil. The stage productions will be missed.

But we are happy to celebrate our neighbors to the South. And excited to have a concentrated dose of Latin America to liven up May in Naples.

 MUST-SEE OF THE MONTH

One night only.

WE’VE ALREADY SEEN THE RUNS OF most Broadway-style productions at the Phil and the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall dip to eight performances. But this month, things are getting even tighter.

You’ve got a one-night window to see two big Broadway shows, American Idiot (May 13 in Fort Myers) and Dreamgirls (May 22 in Naples). Both have great music. Both are based off work by major pop stars (Green Day and the Supremes, respectively).

And both are worth shelling out some money to catch their only stop in town.

—JF

 

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