Best bets: Free Mavis Staples show, dinos in downtown Wheaton, 'Flying Dutchman' at Lyric

Chicago Live

More than 80 musical, dance and theatrical acts - including Mavis Staples performing at 8 p.m. Saturday - will grace three stages on Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, as Chicago Live presents two days of free cultural performances. Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

Lyric's 'Dutchman'

Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, opens its season with music director Enrique Mazzola conducting his first Richard Wagner opera, "The Flying Dutchman." The opera, which hasn't been seen at Lyric in more than 20 years, tells the story of the Dutchman (bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny), a sailor doomed to roam the seas until he finds his true love in Senta, played by Naperville native and soprano Tamara Wilson. Tickets start at $52. (312) 827-5600 or Various times and days, from Saturday, Sept. 23, through Oct. 7

Tchaikovsky & Beethoven

The New Philharmonic opens its 2023-2024 season at the McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, with a program devoted to the music of composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Ludwig van Beethoven. Seventeen-year-old violinist Esme Arias-Kim, winner of the 2023 Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition, joins the orchestra for Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35. The orchestra also performs Beethoven's high-spirited Symphony No. 7, Op. 92. $55. (630) 942-4000 or 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

Elgin film fest

The Elgin Short Film Festival celebrates its 15th year at The Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin, with in-theatre and virtual screenings. The top three films (all 20 minutes or less) will be determined by celebrity judges, with audience members voting for their favorite film. Attendees 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. $10. (847) 931-5900 or Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23; screenings start at 7 p.m.

Arpino celebration

The Gerald Arpino Foundation commemorates the centennial of one of the 20th century's most influential choreographers and co-founder/director of the Joffrey Ballet - Gerald Arpino - during the Arpino Chicago Centennial Celebration featuring performances by Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, Oklahoma City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Eugene Ballet. Performances are at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago. Tickets start at $45. (312) 341-2300 or 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

Andrew Ripp's 'Big Feelings'

Grammy-nominated contemporary Christian artist and Palatine High School grad Andrew Ripp returns to town with his "Big Feelings Tour," joined by Blessing Offor and Rachael Lampa at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. $36-$51. 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

MEST in the west

Blue Island-native punk rock band Mest headlines the WC Social Club, 920 Roosevelt Road, West Chicago, joined by Authority Zero and DuPage-born punk bands Showoff and The Run Around. $25-$30; VIP and reserved seating available. 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

Dinos downtown

Life-size animatronic dinosaurs - including Tyrannosaurus rex and the Triceratops, as well the lesser known creatures Herrerasaurus, discovered in 1991 in Argentina, and the rare Amargasaurus, whose skeleton was discovered in 1984 - take over downtown Wheaton. Free. Monday, Sept. 25, through Oct. 8

Violinist Esme Arias-Kim performs Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major with the New Philharmonic at the McAninch Arts Center. Courtesy of Esme Arias-Kim
Amanda Assucena and Alberto Velazquez perform "Arpino Birthday Variations" as part of the centennial commemoration of choreographer and Joffrey Ballet co-founder Gerald Arpino. Courtesy of Cheryl Mann
Singer-songwriter Andrew Ripp returns to Chicago to play the Vic Theatre Sunday, Sept. 24.
The Amargasaurus is one of 10 life-size, animatronic dinosaurs on display in downtown Wheaton. Courtesy of the Downtown Wheaton Association
"The Flying Dutchman" opens the Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2023-24 season after an absence of more than two decades. Courtesy of Michael Cooper, Canadian Opera Company
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