Each year, Rienzi closes to the public during the month of August to give curators, conservators, and preparations a chance to evaluate the collection and make repairs to the house. Although void of visitors and docents, this August has been busier than usual for the staff. Rienzi is preparing to open its first major exhibition, English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century, on Saturday, September 17th as well as open a new gallery space in one of the rooms that was previously closed off.
In anticipation of the September reopening, Rienzi’s education staff has been hard at work on new programming for guests of all ages. Here is a little sneak peek at what’s to come this fall:
History lovers and bibliophiles alike will be excited to know that Rienzi and Bayou Bend have started a joint history book discussion series about life in America and Europe in the 1700s and 1800s, meeting once a month to chat about each month’s selection. The inaugural session will take place on September 14th, and the book featured is Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life (2010). Upcoming selections this fall include A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage and Taste: The Story of Britain through Its Cooking by Kate Colquhoun.
This fall, Rienzi will continue its collaboration with both Houston Grand Opera Studio and Early Music Southwest. Both recitals are performed in Rienzi’s intimate Gallery known for its accoustics. Tickets are on sale now for Houston Grand Opera Studio’s recitals on September 30th and October 1st as well as for Early Music Southwest’s “Schubertiade” on October 16th. A new addition to the Rienzi music schedule is “Mozart’s Piano Quartets” on Sunday, October 30th. This lovely afternoon recital will be performed by Fortepianist Timothy Hester and members of the Houston Grand Opera Symphony.
Rienzi has several programs lined up to compliment the opening of English Taste: The Art of Dining in Eighteenth Century. On Sunday, September 18th at 2 pm, Ivan Day, international authority on European culinary history, will present “Dining with Mrs. Raffald” in the Brown Auditorium in the Caroline Weiss Law building on the main MFAH campus. On September 29th, Rienzi invites you to join us to celebrate English Taste with Punch Party: The 18th Century Imbiber. Guests will be able to sample punch, a historic cocktail made from spirits, sugar, spices, and citrus to the sounds of Divisi Strings’ contemporary quartet AMP’D. On Sunday, October 2nd, kids will be able to get into the action during A Harvest Celebration, a free family day designed to celebrate the season. Families will enjoy storytime tours, apple dipping, pumpkin decorating, and creating nature-inspired fall collages.