Music and Dance
Just uphill from the Seattle Art Museum, the marvelous Benaroya Hall is home to the Seattle Symphony (2nd Ave. and University St., 206/215-4747 www.seattlesymphony.org). The largest employer of artists in the Pacific Northwest, the symphony has gained international attention under conductor Gerard Schwartz, with more than a dozen compact discs and at least 10 Grammy nominations.
Performances take place in the state-of-the-art auditorium September–June, with more than 100 concerts a year. On Sunday afternoons, the Musically Speaking series mixes the classics with commentary about the music and the composers. Tours are available.
The Seattle Youth Symphony (206/362-2300, www.syso.org) is another notable organization for younger artists, who also perform frequently at Benaroya. Benaroya Hall is open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. weekdays, with one-hour tours starting at noon.
Seattle Center Opera House hosts the Seattle Opera (206/389-7676, www.seattleopera.org), whose September–May regular season almost always sells out. It presents five productions annually, including Wagner’s famous four-opera Ring cycle every four years—the next one’s scheduled in 2010.
The Pacific Northwest Ballet (206/628-0888, www.pnb.org), whose season is October–May, produces the traditional Nutcracker for Christmas. A number of contemporary dance companies help fill out the offerings in Seattle.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition