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Bard Music Festival

Bard Summerscape has been humming along nicely for weeks with dance performances and movies and operas and plays; now the focus shifts to the central event of the season, the Bard Music Festival. And this year they’ve taken on a doozy of a composer, Richard Wagner (pictured).

Is there a more controversial figure in traditional classical music than the brilliant man whose vicious anti-Semitism and gift for translating German mythology into art was cheerfully adopted and championed by the Nazis and Adolf Hitler? (If you say “Arnold Schoenberg is more controversial,” we’ll punch you in the face.) Wagner’s operas are brilliant and ecstatically beloved. The Wagner and His World concerts this weekend, featuring the American Symphony Orchestra with numerous chamber ensemble and singers, will feature highlights from his greatest operas and orchestra pieces, alongside works by his contemporaries and those composers who influenced him.

Bard Music Festival will present a series of concerts in the Fisher Center’s Sosnoff Theater and in Olin Hall on the Bard College campus (Annandale-on-Hudson) this weekend from tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 14) through Sunday (Aug. 16). Each event is ticketed separately; prices range from $20 to $55. The BMF continues the following weekend, too. See the calendar listing on page 33 for complete info, and visit fisher center.bard.edu for information and tickets.

Woodstock Fringe Festival

It’s that fringe festival time of year again, as folks far and wide are exploring the nether regions of creativity. And if Woodstock didn’t have enough to celebrate this year—what with the ruby anniversary of that other famous festival and the upcoming release of its cinematic spinoff—the Woodstock Fringe Festival opens another year’s performance potpourri.

Featuring three world premieres, including a new play about the local legend of the Cardiff Giant and a multimedia work of shadow puppetry by the Cave Dogs, the festival also offers music, workshops, a legendary Shakespearean clown and a free series of staged readings. All set among the fields, forests and history of the Byrdcliffe Colony.

This year’s Woodstock Fringe Festival performances kick off tonight (Thursday, Aug. 13) at 8 PM with the premiere of The Night the Cardiff Giant Sang Rossini on the Lawn, and events continue through Sept. 6. All events take place at the Byrdcliffe Theatre (Upper Byrdcliffe Road, Woodstock). Individual tickets are $25, $20 for students and seniors; full festival passes are available for $75. For more information, including a complete schedule, visit woodstockfringe.org.

MASS MoCA Fest

There goes MASS MoCA again, trying to make everyone else look bad.

Any one of the artists on Saturday’s first-ever MASS MoCA Fest could pull a sizeable till on their own. You’ve got Josh Ritter (pictured), a world-class storyteller whose star has been rising steadily in the folk-pop universe and has yet to peak. And Ben Kweller, the still-young pop phenom who went country for his latest album (Changing Horses) and turned in one his best pieces of work.

Then, there’s Kaki King, the Georgia-born singer-guitarist with dazzling technique and songs to match. Also: Elvis Perkins in Dearland, the band, whose self-titled 2009 release flies in the face of the average singer-songwriter fare common to the Americana idiom.

So, Ritter, Perkins, King and Kweller, separately, would be four great shows. Together, the combination is unbeatable.

Josh Ritter, Ben Kweller, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Kaki King will all perform at MASS MoCA (87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass.) this Saturday (Aug. 15). Samantha Crain opens the 3 PM show. Tickets are $47, and include museum admission. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (413) 662-2111 or visit massmoca.org.


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