Opera with Pride
Opera often grapples with social issues, but Gregory Spears’ “Fellow Travelers” does so more explicitly. Set in the U.S. in the 1950s, this acclaimed 2016 opera examines the McCarthy era’s “lavender scare,” when gay men and lesbians were surveilled and fired en masse from U.S. government jobs. Theater Latté Da’s Peter Rothstein directs this intimate Minnesota Opera staging — the company’s first Minneapolis production since 1993, served up in conjunction with Twin Cities Pride. Watch for New York conductor Daniela Candillari on the podium.TERRY BLAIN
Opens 7:30 p.m. Sat. Ends June 26. Cowles Center, Mpls. $25-$89, mnopera.org
Vocalist extraordinaire Bobby McFerrin will show up with his quartet, a mini-version of the group he calls Voicestra. But there’s no set list. No songs. No instruments, other than voices. It’s complete improvisation. Every performance will be different even though it will be the same singers, including the Twin Cities’ own Judi Donaghy Vinar. McFerrin just starts singing and the others join in. Don’t worry — you’ll leave happy.
7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Sat. Dakota, Mpls. $55-$95, dakotacooks.com
Sally Wingert is a tour de force in “Underneath the Lintel,” about a fastidious librarian who does detective work to find out the person who anonymously returned a book 113 years overdue. The Meryl Streep of Twin Cities theater, Wingert handles the dialogue in this 90-minute solo show masterfully. And she’s accompanied by composer Frank London’s haunting music, which adds to the mystery and awe conjured by this winning production.
Ends July 1. Ritz Theater, Mpls. $29-$49, latteda.org
After bumping to July last year, the annual member drive/fundraiser concert for the Walker and 89.3 the Current returns to its normal weekend with its usual abnormally eclectic lineup. Father John Misty headlines touting “God’s Favorite Customer,” a week-old album filled with more sardonic rock balladry. Also playing are jazz revivalist Kamasi Washington, bubbly Canadian rocker Feist, rowdy boogie band Low Cut Connie and locals P.O.S. and Chastity Brown.
2:30-10 p.m. Sat. Walker Art Center, Mpls. $74-$300, rockthegardenfestival.com
Osmo Vänskä’s Mahler series is building into something that rivals the Minnesota Orchestra’s celebrated surveys of Beethoven and Sibelius. With the lighter, brighter Fourth Symphony, Vänskä reaches the halfway point in his Mahler journey, bringing soprano Carolyn Sampson onboard as soloist for the child’s vision of heaven depicted in the finale. Also, hear the world premiere of James Stephenson’s “Pillars,” a concerto for three trombones and tuba.
11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $12-$101, minnesotaorchestra.org
Minnesota dance maven Maia Maiden returns with her annual “Rooted: A Hip-Hop Choreographer’s Evening.” This year’s marquee performance comes from Impilo Mapantsula, a South African troupe in Minnesota for a McKnight-funded residency. The trio specializes in a street style called pantsula, which rose to prominence during the apartheid era. They’re joined by a diverse set of hip-hop dance artists from New York and Minnesota.
7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Wellstone Center, St. Paul. $15, maiamaiden.com
Guitarist Walter Becker died last year, but his Rock Hall of Fame band, Steely Dan, has carried on. That would be lead singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen and a revolving cast of players, just as it was with Becker, too, doing “Hey Nineteen,” “Black Cow” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Opening will be another band of long-standing and changing personnel — the Doobie Brothers, still featuring Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons but not Michael McDonald.
7:30 p.m. Fri. Xcel Energy Center. $39.50 and up, ticketmaster.com
Midsommar is a Nordic tradition (dating to ancient times) that welcomes summer and the short, sweet growing season with dancing around a maypole. Guests are invited to make fresh flower head wreaths and listen to traditional Swedish music. Or step indoors to check out the American Swedish Institute’s latest exhibition. Also featured are crafts, Norwegian cow calling workshops and food from Fika cafe.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. $5-$10. American Swedish Institute, Mpls., asimn.org
Minneapolis choreographer Sally Rousse pays tribute to the Cowles Center complex’s 130-year-old Masonic Temple — home of the Hennepin Center for the Arts. “Icon Sam” is an anagram of “Masonic.” It’s also a nooks-and-crannies tour with performances unfolding in old ceremonial halls and the buttressed eighth floor, where Masons once drilled with giant spears and flags.
Opens 6 p.m. Thu. Ends June 24. Cowles Center, Mpls. $25, thecowlescenter.org.