Summer Arts Preview: 'Bets bets' in popular and classical music, visual arts, theater, dance and jazz
Gazette arts writers offer their "best bets" for the summer season:
• Fleetwood Mac at Times Union Center. They’d deserve this pick even if they never tour again and this would be our last Big Mac attack. They seem to have hit their second (fifth, 10th? 15th?) wind, playing 2 1⁄2 hours at Jazz Fest in New Orleans — and making music at the top of their game. June 19.
• Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and The Wallflowers at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Old pro that he is, Petty still rises to the occasion when he knows he’s among avid fans — as he does at SPAC, summer after summer. Reunited bands almost always pull it together in a big way: Welcome back, Wallflowers. June 23.
• George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at Alive at Five at Albany Riverfront Park. The baddest funk band still standing blasts old school in their first local show in a decade. Grooves deeper than the Hudson? Check! Guys playing in diapers? Check! Players wandering on and off stage with no letup in the funk? Check! June 27.
• Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group at The Egg. This tall-haired Texan always brings top-talented players: electric or acoustic, large band or small. But his big thing is the songs. He writes some of the best songs around, which is why he is so careful to deliver performances that match. July 5.
• AmericanaramA Festival of Music at Saratoga Performing Arts Center featuring Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Ryan Bingham. First time we’ve listed father and son (the headliner here and the leader of The Wallflowers, Jakob Dylan) in our summer picks. Get there on time: All the support acts are superb. July 21.
— Gazette popular music writer Michael Hochanadel
• Opera Saratoga is a company without peer when it comes to doing Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore,” and they’ll be doing it this summer from June 23 to July 6 at the Spa Little Theatre.
Calendar of events
View a calendar of events for Summer Arts 2013. Click here.
• The matchless team of tenor Jay Hunter Morris, bass Peter Volpe and director Francesca Zambello create a must-see from July 6 to Aug. 24 at Glimmerglass Opera: Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman.”
• Choices abound at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra: Wagner’s “Die Walkure” Act 3 with Bryn Terfel will be performed July 20. Pianists include Garrick Ohlsson on July 28, Leif Ove Andsnes on Aug. 2 and Lang Lang on Aug. 3. Violinists are also on the schedule: Joshua Bell plays on July 5, and Gil Shaham is on Aug. 9.
• When was the last time anyone locally produced Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”? Here’s the chance to see it, from July 31-Aug. 3, at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake.
• Philadelphia Orchestra is offering too many great evenings for me to pick just one. The Bernstein Extravaganza with New York City Ballet dancers on Aug. 9 is a must, but who’d want to miss cellists Yo-Yo Ma on Aug. 10 and Johannes Moser on Aug. 22, or pianist Daniil Trifonov in the Tchaikovsky Spectacular, scheduled Aug. 24. It's all at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
— Gazette classical music writer Geraldine Freedman
• The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery taps into local people, places and social causes with exhibits that open in early June. “TRANSFORMer,” an interactive installation with a silkscreening station for making T-shirts and posters, will raise awareness of local community groups and activism. “Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse” will feature photos from the cafe’s early days by the late Joe Alper. “The First 15” is another photo show, with images by female photographers who have had residencies at Yaddo.
• “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic” is sure to delight visitors at the Norman Rockwell Museum. The exhibit, which opens June 8, celebrates the 75th anniversary of Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film.
• “Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History” is the big summer show at the Clark Art Institute. We’ll see 60 oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and etchings plus 120 rarely seen wood engravings by the 19th century American artist. The exhibit, culled from the museum’s renowned Homer collection, opens June 9.
• On June 15, The Hyde Collection unwraps a groundbreaking show about Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George, where the famous Modern artist lived and painted for part of every year from 1918 to 1934. Co-curated by Erin B. Coe, the Hyde’s chief curator, the show will travel to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
• The Albany Institute of History & Art is digging into its collection of contemporary photography by artists from our region for “Multiple Focus,” which opens June 29. More than 40 images from the past 25 years will be in the show.
• “An American in Venice: James McNeill Whistler and His Legacy” opens July 28 at The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie. Eleven prints from Whistler’s 1879 trip to Italy will be shown, along with prints from other artists who were there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
— Gazette visual arts reporter Karen Bjornland
• In Schenectady, vocalist Colleen Pratt and Friends will kick off the noontime series Jazz on Jay on June 6. The following Sunday, June 9, the Swingtime Jazz Society will present the group We B3 Plus Lee at The Stockade Inn.
• The dynamic pianist Bruce Barth will team up with vibraphonist Steve Nelson for a session at the Van Dyck in Schenectady on June 21. They will be backed by local stalwarts Mike Lawrence on bass and Mike Benedict on drums.
• The Skidmore Summer Jazz Institute at Skidmore College begins on June 25 with the Ravi Coltrane Quartet. Also featured will be a quintet led by trombonist Vincent Gardner, as well as the faculty sextet and student groups.
• The Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at Saratoga Performing Arts Center is set for June 29 and 30. The eclectic lineup includes Tony Bennett, McCoy Tyner, Buddy Guy and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
• In August, saxophonist Keith Pray will conduct the annual Proctors Summer Jazz Institute, to be held this year at Schenectady County Community College. The two-week program gives young musicians a big boost in their playing and understanding of the music. This year’s special guest will be trombonist Ray Anderson, who will join the young musicians for the big finale in the Proctors GE Theatre on Aug. 16.
— Gazette jazz writer Tim Coakley
• Paul Taylor Dance Company at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass. Taylor Dance Company is a no-brainer for modern dance fans. Indisputably, this is the best modern ensemble in the world. The company will dance the New England premiere of Taylor’s latest, “Perpetual Dawn.” Today.
• Compagnie Kafig at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Mass. This all-male Brazilian ensemble was one of the great discoveries at Jacob’s Pillow last summer. This high-energy, hip-hop, capoeira and samba-inspired troupe will return with hits reprisals of “AGWA” and “Correria.” June 26-30.
• Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, also at Jacob’s Pillow. This daring and innovative group leaves audiences breathless. The finely sculpted gathering of international dancers will perform works by Kidd Pivot, Crystal Pite and Jo Stromgren. July 3-7.
• New York City Ballet Gala at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. If it’s new ballets you crave, then it will be necessary to pay significantly more for a ticket. This year’s gala, “The Ruby Ball,” will feature new works by the company’s Ballet-Master-in-Chief Peter Martins and international choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. July 13.
• National Ballet of Canada’s “Giselle,” also at SPAC. This is a rare chance to see an international ensemble dance ballet’s most romantic drama. It centers on a delicate girl who dies after her love betrays her. Yet love endures, as you will see. July 17-18.
— Gazette dance critic Wendy Liberatore
• Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass., has “On the Town.” The Leonard Bernstein musical, with book and lyrics by Comden and Green, is about three sailors on leave in New York City during World War II. How can you go wrong with the story or the tunes? Opens June 12.
• Saratoga Shakespeare Company will stage “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Shakespeare outdoors in Congress Park. What could be better? This year’s comic offering features one of the Bard’s greatest characters, Sir John Falstaff. Opens July 16.
• Adirondack Theatre Festival at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls will stage “Avenue Q,” the 2003 Tony Award-winning musical with puppets. But it’s for adults. Opens July 25.
• Dorset Theatre Festival in Dorset, Vt., has “Clybourne Park,” the 2012 Tony Award-winning response to Lorraine Hansberry’s breakthrough play “A Raisin in the Sun.” Opens Aug. 15.
• Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass., is presenting “Anna Christie,” Eugene O’Neill’s 1922 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a young woman, her seafaring father and the sailor she falls in love with. Opens Aug. 20.
— Gazette theater reviewer Paul Lamar