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Houston's most unique New Year's Eve party: You'll need a mask — and an open mind

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Ars Lyrica, New Year's Eve party, December 201
Ars Lyrica's Venetian Carnival soirée is a New Year's Eve performance followed by a grand masquerade gala. Photo by © Anthony Rathbun
Ars Lyrica presents Menus-Plaisirs September 2013 Matthew Dirst Ars Lyrica Houston
Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica's artistic director. Photo by © Anthony Rathbun
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Vocalists Melissa Givens, right, and Blair Doerge will perform a set of duets by Monteverdi. Photo by © Anthony Rathbun
Ars Lyrica, New Year's Eve party, December 201
Ars Lyrica presents Menus-Plaisirs September 2013 Matthew Dirst Ars Lyrica Houston
News_naomi_ars lyrica_new Year's eve party_dec2013
naomi_galvez

New Year's Eve is a time to consider past memories, make promises to the future and then party like there's no tomorrow. The only question is: Where and how will you choose to celebrate?

Here's a tip to a truly unique happening in Houston on Dec. 31. It involves traveling back in time to 1600s Venice, then leaping to the present just a tad before midnight — all while wearing a mask and sipping champagne.

Sounds like something only a dream entails, but it isn't. Ars Lyrica's Venetian Carnival soirée is a New Year's Eve performance followed by a grand masquerade gala in the heart of Houston.

"It's a lot less crazy than going out to a club and you won't have a headache the next day. Instead, your ears and your palate should be tickled."

Ars Lyrica's theme of "discovery" in each of its performances this season encourages Houstonians to enjoy an evening of early music from some of the most loved composers of the 17th century.

One of the masterful gems on the program is Vivaldi's clever La Notte concerto. If you are familiar with his popular Four Seasons, then this will be a rare treat to hear. The work is the very first flute concerto in documented music history.

Sung by stellar voices Melissa Givens and Blair Doerge, a set of duets by Monteverdi add to the evening's intrigue and romance of a masquerade.

"It's a lot less crazy than going out to a club and you won't have a headache the next day," Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica's artistic director, chimes in to set the premise for the night. "Instead, your ears and your palate should be tickled."

When the musical enchantment ends, guests are invited to step into old world Venice en masque to a spectacular gala and champagne toast that ushers in a hopefully wonderful 2014.

To me, it sounds like one unforgettable event that stands out from the typical chaos of the night. Venetian Carnival promises to sweep you away for a moment to the rustic shores of Venice, only to land solidly in 2014 with all of your resolutions, hopes and dreams.

Happy New Year!

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Ars Lyrica presents "Venetian Carnival" on Dec. 31, 9 p.m., at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $35 for the performance and at $75 for the gala. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 713-315-2525.

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