FrontRunners: Canadian opera and American painters

TOUR DE FRANCE
Drawn by breakthroughs in French painting technique, American artists visited Paris in droves during the last half of the 19th century. More than 100 of their finest pieces appear in the exhibition Americans in Paris, 1860–1900, on display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (mfa.org) through September 24 and at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org) from October 24 through January 28, 2007. Among the show’s highlights are John Singer Sargent’s Madame X, which caused an uproar in its time because of its subject’s revealing black dress, and James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1, better known as “Whistler’s Mother,” a painting rarely shown in the United States. . . .

ONE FOR THE FAT LADY
Canada has opera but no dedicated opera house. This will change in September with the opening of Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (fourseasonscentre.ca), the new home of the Canadian Opera Company. The $181 million facility will debut with Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. . . .

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