Everything must change, as the wistful, romantic song goes. Nothing stays the same. And one thing that is changing is Valentine's Day.
Wow, is it ever getting big.
All our holidays are getting bigger and bigger. Remember when Mardi Gras was celebrated only in New Orleans, not in every major city? And when Halloween was mostly for kids, and their costumes were homemade? Those days are gone. Now, celebrity chefs design menus for Super Bowl Sunday. Radio stations celebrate Bastille Day. Stores hold Groundhog Day sales.
Brace yourself, then, for Valentine's Day 2007. (That's the newest thing, to say the year after the holiday. It gives it more heft.)
On second thought, don't brace for it. Surrender to it. After all, it's already here. The pink and white cards have been in the stores for weeks now. The concerts are on the calendar. Love is in the air. Embrace it.
Don't have a special someone? Don't despair. Our motif for the lovelorn (BROKEN HEART) indicates an event you, too, will enjoy.
Let the season of love begin.
Saturday: (BROKEN HEART) The songs of Buffalo-born Broadway composer David Shire take a close, sometimes painfully witty look at love. Saturday, the BPO toasts Shire's success with an entire evening of his music. Revel in the romantic "I'll Never Say Goodbye," from the movie "The Promise," and the snappy "I Don't Remember Christmas," from Shire's off-Broadway hit "Starting Here, Starting Now." (Concert takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is $18 to $70. Call 885-5000.)
Sunday (through Feb. 11): (BROKEN HEART) Why not catch the whole show "Starting Here, Starting Now"? It's a revue of songs about relationships -- miniature dramas, really -- and it's hilarious. One song, "Crossword Puzzle," has a woman vainly trying to take her mind off her romantic troubles by working the Sunday puzzle. (The lyrics are by Richard Maltby Jr., who actually creates puzzles for Harper's and New York magazine.) And the acerbic "I Don't Believe It" pokes fun at couples who are always bragging about how in love they are. The current production by O'Connell and Company is dynamic and fast-moving, with choreography by the great Jack Greenan. (Show takes place at Cabaret in the Square Theatre, 4476 Main St., Amherst, at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20 to $25, call 839-3949.)
Feb. 6: Mozart had a keen grasp of love. His opera "The Marriage of Figaro" is a comedy, but a bittersweet one. Full of heart-stirring music, it delves deep into issues like betrayal, infatuation, infidelity and forgiveness. Mozart wrote the opera in collaboration with the poet Lorenzo da Ponte, a kind of Casanova figure who grew up in the Jewish slums of Venice and had his own sharp understanding of how the world worked. The result is magical. See it at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts in a production by the Bulgarian Opera. (Tickets are $20 to $44; call 645-ARTS for details.)
Feb. 7: Time flies, just like the Red Rumped Parrot! Today is the deadline to adopt an animal at the Buffalo Zoo for your sweetheart for Valentine's Day. Up for adoption are -- we're quoting the zoo here -- Gorgeous Gorilla, Loyal Lion, Darling Deer, Sweet Song Sparrow, Gentle Giraffe, Lovable Leopard and Trustworthy Turtle. (No word on the Red Rumped Parrot, though the zoo does have one or two.) For $10, you get an adoption certificate, two Zoo guest passes and a chocolate heart. Go to www.buffalozoo.org or call 837-3900.
Feb. 8: (BROKEN HEART) Shine on, harvest moon, up in the sky! Even if you ain't had no loving since January, February, June and July, you'll find something to love when you hear Leon Redbone, with his guttural rumblings and poetic rehashing of ancient songs you never thought you'd hear outside of Laurel and Hardy movies. Redbone plays the Tralf at 8 p.m. (Tickets are $20 in advance, $23 day of show; call 852-2860.)
Feb. 9: "Love Is in the Air" when Marvin Hamlisch comes to town, and the BPO principal pops conductor will be in town Feb. 9 and 10 for his Valentine's Day pops concert, called "Love Is in the Air." (It takes place at 8 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall; call 885-5000.)
Feb. 10: "Jungle Love," at the Buffalo Zoo, is quite the event. Not for the inhibited, it includes a talk by the zoo's chief, Donna Fernandes, about how animals mate, as well as wine and cheese, so you can recover yourself. (It happens at 6 p.m. at the Buffalo Zoo and costs $15; call 837-3900.)
Feb. 11: We quote Johnny Mercer: "A tinkling piano in the next apartment . . . those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant." What signifies love like the wail of a saxophone? Or the intimate sound of jazz piano? Enjoy them both when Eric Alexander brings his quartet -- and veteran pianist Harold Mabern -- to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave., as part of the Art of Jazz Series at 3 p.m. (Tickets are $21; call 270-8292.)
Feb. 14: The big day! Here are your options. Talk about night and day:
*(BROKEN HEART) Franz Schubert's song cycle "Die Winterreise," or "The Winter Journey," tells of a man who has had his heart broken and, instead of trying to get over it, he just goes with it. He wanders through the snow, from town to town, obsessing, mourning, even hallucinating. The music is so beautiful, it's unearthly. Buffalo-born tenor David Pisaro has really taken "Die Winterreise" to heart. A few years ago, he went on tour with the music in England, walking from town to town the way the songs' hero did. Pisaro performs "Die Winterreise" in St. Paul's Cathedral at 7:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day. Admission is $15; $12 for students and seniors. For information, call 877-1255.
*Yield to the temptation to catch the Temptations. And the Marvelettes! You know you want to. The two groups of Motown masters serenade Buffalo on UB's North Campus at 8 p.m. (Tickets cost $39.50 to $49.50; call 645-ARTS.)
Feb. 16: Two roads, once again, diverge:
*Do ya think he's sexy? Do ya still think he's sexy? Rod Stewart might be getting up there, but we bet he'll put on one heck of a show. Plus, now that he has mellowed with age, he likes throwing in standards from the Great American Songbook. Tonight's the night (gonna be all right) that Stewart plays HSBC Arena. (The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55 to $95; call (888) 223-6000.)
*Not up for arena rock? Want a more intimate setting? Try the romantic Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, where the unique, all-gal Ladies First Big Band explores standards from the sweet to the sassy in a sultry program called "Women of Jazz." (It takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; call 692-2413.)
Feb. 17: Once more we're standing at the crossroads:
*Michael Civisca, Buffalo's homegrown crooner par excellence, enjoys a glittering career in Las Vegas and around the world singing the songs of the Great American Songbook. He'll be here for a Valentine's Day concert in Rockwell Hall's Great Performers Series. Civisca was supposed to appear in October, but the concert was postponed because of the Surprise Storm. Sometimes nature works in our favor. (The concert is at 8 p.m. in Buffalo State College's Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall. Tickets are $30; call 878-3005.)
*Superstar classical pianist Andre Watts appears with the Buffalo Philharmonic to perform the ultimate romantic piano concerto, Rachmaninoff's Second. You'll recognize the rhapsodic slow movement, also the last, which became the song "Full Moon in Empty Arms." (It takes place at 8 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall; call 885-5000.)
Feb. 18: Want to break the bank and impress your date? Paul Anka might not be the hippest thing around, but boy, is he pricey! Today is the day he winds up a three-day run at the Fallsview Casino Resort. (The shows are at 9 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17; 7 p.m. Feb. 18; Avalon Ballroom, Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, 6380 Fallsview Blvd., Niagara Falls, Ont. Tickets begin at $69.50 (Canadian funds); call (888) 836-8118.)
Feb. 19: (BROKEN HEART) Such sweet sorrow! "Lebewohl" is German for "farewell," and Beethoven's "Lebewohl" sonata is all about the pain of parting. At the end of the first movement, you can almost hear the carriage leaving the courtyard, then (in the second) the silence and loneliness that follows -- then, finally, the joy of reunion. Stephen Manes performs the "Lebewohl" as the centerpiece of a concert in his Beethoven sonata series at 8 p.m. in Lippes Hall in Slee Hall, UB North Campus, Amherst. (Tickets are $10; call 645-2921.)