A Season to Celebrate 

1999 Fall Arts Preview

It's easy to take Richmond's cultural offerings for granted. The symphony, the opera and ballet — every city has that stuff, right? Not. Few cities Richmond's size enjoy the quality and quantity of artistic expression found on this city's stages and in its galleries. But it hasn't always been this way.

Just 25 years ago the Virginia Opera didn't exist. Ditto for the Richmond Ballet as a professional dance company. Heck, the Carpenter Center wasn't even a performing arts center until 1983. And many of the art galleries on Main Street have opened just in recent years.

This fall arts season reminds us of Richmond's great cultural treasures as many organizations reach important milestones: Richmond Ballet celebrates its 20th anniversary, Virginia Opera celebrates its 25th and TheatreVirginia turns 45. The Richmond Symphony looks forward to a new chapter with conductor Mark Russell Smith. And Richmond's art galleries remember the late artist Davi Det Hompson in an unprecedented joint retrospective exhibition.

But as these organizations look back upon their past accomplishments, they are also looking ahead. Though we hate to use the dreaded "m" word, it really does seem as if the forces within Richmond's relatively young arts community are poised to take off into the next millennium. All are ending 1999 with a great bang of exciting programs, and the promise of more to come. If the history of the past 50 years is any indication, just imagine what cultural riches await our city in the 21st century.

Art - Richmond's art community unites to honor the late Davi Det Hompson with "Just Out of Reach."

Theater - TheatreVirginia's world-premiere of "Scandals" could be the show's first stop on its journey to the Great White Way.

Dance - After 20 years with Richmond Ballet, Stoner Winslett shows no signs of slowing down.

Classical - As Mark Russell Smith raises his baton, the Richmond Symphony readies for change.

Opera - Virginia Opera celebrates its 25th season with some of the most popular and best-loved operas.

Film - It's all about names this season — not the actors' but the directors'.

Airwaves - If the new television lineups look familiar it's because the networks are sticking with tried-and-true formulas.

Books - Whether your tastes run to tasty thrillers or serious, non-fiction tomes, there are plenty of juicy stories to crack open this fall.

Calendar - A calendar of fall arts

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