3 January arts and culture events to expand kids’ horizons

It’s a new year and, with it, a new calendar of events to open the kids’ minds to new possibilities! Whether it’s creating their own “happily ever afters” (through the medium of opera, no less), honoring Dr. King and his legacy of brotherhood, love and equality, or dreaming of traversing the world with a National Geographic explorer, 2019 is definitely off to a great start. Let’s go!


When: Jan. 10-31

Where: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago

This is definitely one that the princess-lovers know (Cendrillon translates to Cinderella, after all), but this is definitely also one that’ll surprise you. Jules Massenet’s take on this classic tale is a dreamy, touching and surprisingly witty opera featuring some of the industry’s brightest stars from around the globe. So what makes this one so very special? Well, besides a picture-perfect princess with romance to spare (Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg, making her U.S. debut), there’s the Fairy Godmother’s stratospheric notes as well as a hilariously wicked Stepmother. Running two hours and 45 minutes with one intermission, this beautiful production—sung in French with projected English translations—is a terrific entry point into the world of opera for the younger set, but it’s also a gorgeously refreshing change of pace from the overload of All Things Holiday. Dreams do come true! Read our review here.

MLK Tribute Concert

When: Jan. 20-21

Where: Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville (Jan. 20) & Symphony Center, Chicago (Jan. 21)

There are few ways to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of love and equality more powerfully than with the Chicago Sinfonietta (one of the country’s most diverse orchestras) and its beloved MLK Tribute Concert. Besides gorgeous music and a program featuring spirituals, this season’s performance will feature former Project Inclusion Freeman Conducting Fellows Kellen Gray and Kendrick Armstrong and a powerful spoken word performance of Dr. King’s speeches. Looking for a meaningful—and moving—experience to share with your children? This is it.

Pink Boots and a Machete

When: Jan. 24

Where: Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago

Ready to add a new, real-life hero to the top of your kids’ lists? Explorer Mireya Mayor has a really cool job—and an unusual path to how she got there! The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Mayor performed as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader during college, and ended up taking an anthropology course that, to say the very least, inspired her. Since then, she’s braved elements and creatures, and even discovered the world’s smallest primate. Called the “female Indiana Jones” (although she suggests Harrison Ford should be referred to as “the male Mireya Mayor”), this Emmy-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel and mom of six has stories galore. Get ready to be inspired—and don’t be surprised if you’ll also be ready to pack your own boots for an adventure.

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

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