Fall Arts Preview: November 2015

Your exclusive guide to the season’s top cultural happenings.

By Matthew Reed Baker, Carly Carioli, Shaula Clark, Susanna Jackson, Kristofer Jenson, Maura Johnston, and Sean Maloney

boston cultural events november 2015

photograph courtesy of circa


Cirque du Soleil this ain’t. In their current show, Opus, Brisbane’s alternative circus troupe Circa teams up with French classical ensemble the Quatuor Debussy for a performance set to the music of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Here, the music is just as much of a high-wire act as the acrobatics. While Circa performers tumble around them, Quatuor Debussy drop jaws with their stunt chamber music, playing Shostakovich quartets from memory, walking barefoot, and even blindfolded.

November 13–15, Citi Shubert Theatre, 866-348-9738, citicenter.org.


In the tradition of All the President’s Men comes Thomas McCarthy’s docudrama. Shot primarily in Boston, it recounts the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning investigation into the Catholic Church sex-abuse cover-up.

Opens November 6, spotlightthefilm.com.

Isango Ensemble

South Africa’s Isango Ensemble returns to ArtsEmerson with two reimagined classics: A Midsummer Night’s Dream fuses Benjamin Britten’s opera and South African music and dance, while uCarmen riffs on the operatic film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha and French composer Georges Bizet’s arias.

November 10–22, Cutler Majestic Theatre, 617-824-8000, artsemerson.org.

A Confederacy of Dunces

Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman heads to a basement apartment in the French Quarter for this adaptation of the beloved novel. Offerman tackles the role of the arrogant, indelible Ignatius J. Reilly.

November 11–December 13, Huntington Theatre Company, 617-266-7900, huntingtontheatre.org.

Christoph von Dohnányi

Famed maestro Christoph von Dohnányi returns to Boston with a program that shows his flair for fostering up-and-coming talent: The BSO commissioned 28-year-old French composer-pianist Jean- Frederic Neuburger to write “Aube” (“Dawn”), which premieres at this event.

November 12–14, Symphony Hall, 888-266-1200, bso.org.


An avant-garde three-car pileup between free jazz, heavy metal, and film noir, John Zorn’s latest output is tailored for the “most extreme organ trio ever”—a group that includes revered jam-band keyboardist John Medeski and Philly grindcore guitarist Matt Hollenberg.

November 13, Institute of Contemporary Art, 617-478-3100, icaboston.org.

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

Four years ago, former United States poet laureate Billy Collins and acerbic singer-songwriter Aimee Mann met at the White House. Their chance encounter has turned into a new type of pop crossover: a traveling stage show showcasing both artists’ work.

November 21, Sanders Theatre, 617-482-6661, celebrityseries.org.

“Native Fashion Now”

This fall, the PEM debuts the first-ever large-scale traveling exhibition of contemporary Native American fashion.

November 21–March 6, 2016, Peabody Essex Museum, 978-745- 9500, pem.org.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Wynton Marsalis and his orchestra keep the artistry, the passion, and the innovation of jazz alive and well. Marsalis surrounds himself with the best and brightest jazz talent and has a repertoire so vast even the nerdiest of jazzbos will be surprised.

November 22, Symphony Hall, 617-266-1492, celebrityseries.org.

Fall Arts Preview: September | October | November