The Return of Art (Chantry)

Famed poster artist is back in the Northwest. Plus: Opera and ballet news.

THE RETURN OF ART

"That's what graphic designers do . . . we fuck with people's heads." This quote, one of the all-time greats, belongs to esteemed Luddite concert-poster designer Art Chantry, and was printed in the Riverfront Times shortly after he relocated to one of the least hip places on earth, St. Louis. When we both lived there, I could count on two fingers the number of Seattle expats residing in the River City, and although Chantry and I only hooked up once for thick pizza, he remained a kindred spirit of sorts. While we chatted, I remember thinking that if you were to crossbreed St. Louis and Seattle, you'd either get Denver or Tacoma. Fittingly, on April Fool's Day, Chantry moved back to his native T-Town, where he's still flying the Art Chantry Design flag (www.artchantry.com) and still fucking up heads the old-fashioned way. MIKE SEELY

BETTER BALLET

As far as the New York dance press is concerned, New York City Ballet Director Peter Martins can't do anything right. Latest example: Gia Kourlas' scathing criticism by counterexample in last Thursday's New York Times. The hapless Martins and his dancers were unfavorably compared to the Miami Ballet (currently touring the Northeast) and its director, ex–Balanchine dancer Edward Villella. But other Balanchine-based companies got their air kisses from Kourlas, too: Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. The big news for locals: According to Kourlas, the brilliant Brazilian danseuse Carla Körbes, recruited to PNB by new artistic director Peter Boal, is to take the ballerina role in Balanchine's Diamonds when PNB premieres the work in June. Since Balanchine created the role for his last and greatest "muse," Suzanne Farrell, Körbes will finally have the showcase her fans have been demanding. ROGER DOWNEY

OPERA CONFAB

Imagine spending Saturday afternoon at the opera—at the Cinerama or Pacific Place. Peter Gelb, who takes over New York City's Metropolitan Opera in August, outlined his mouthwatering plans for that company in Thursday morning's keynote address for Opera America. The annual conference of this national service organization for opera brought administrators from all over the country to Seattle's Westin Hotel this past weekend. The Met hopes to take its Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts to the next technological level via high-definition audio-visual transmissions that can be seen over the Internet or even in movie theaters. OA President Marc Scorca also spoke on the importance of attracting new generations not only as audiences but as opera industry professionals. They're already on the right track, it seems; a startling percentage of those filling the ballroom looked to be under 40. Friday's "New Works Sampler" at the Seattle Public Library was less encouraging; five excerpts from recent works ranged from charming (Naomi's Road, to be presented in full Tuesday, May 16, at the library) to appalling. GAVIN BORCHERT

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