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Neil Young, Lucinda Williams

Neil Young has been writing songs, recording and performing since the ’60s, and he’s covered a lot of ground. While he’s firmly rooted in folky country-rock and searing guitar-rock, Young has traversed rockabilly (with the Shocking Pinks), electronic music (his ’83 album Trans) and grunge (Eddie Vedder)—and now he’s on to something completely different.

When Young plays SPAC tomorrow (Friday), he will have his favorite garage-rock backing band Crazy Horse in tow, but it won’t be your average Neil Young & Crazy Horse show. Young has a new album coming out later this summer, Greendale, and its 10 songs tell the story about a small town’s inhabitants—their daily travails, their emotional baggage and their interactions with one another. His live shows have been a theatrical production of the piece, complete with sets, actors (who mouth the words Young sings) and videos. So, yes, there will be songs you haven’t heard before, but there will also be plenty of the favorites.

Opening the big rock musical is another master storyteller, Lucinda Williams—whose ’98 release Car Wheels on a Gravel Road stole our hearts (and we’re not alone), although Williams has been performing her roots-rock alt-country tunes since the late ’70s. She had four albums prior to Car Wheels, which averages about an album every five years, but Williams’ attention to detail and legendary perfectionism pay off in the end. Essence, a slower, more delicate release than the blues-rock of Car Wheels, and the very rocking, very revealing World Without Tears—chronicling a relationship’s dysfunction and demise—followed in 2001 and 2003 respectively, and Williams continues to be a critic’s, and audience’s, darling.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Lucinda Williams will all take the SPAC stage tomorrow (Friday, July 4). The show begins at 7 PM; tickets are $54-$79, lawn $24. Call 476-1000 for tickets.

Glimmerglass Opera

This season, Glimmerglass Opera invites audiences to “spend some time” with four unique men—and they aren’t kidding. In these dark days of the alpha male ascendant, what could be more appropriate than staging operas about a murderer (Bluebeard), a heartless seducer (Don Giovanni), a subversive footsoldier (The Good Soldier Schweik) and a madman (Orlando)?

Two operas open this week. Mozart’s Don Giovanni is the well-loved and often-staged story of the great lover who cannot love. It’s not giving away anything to say that, after some gorgeous music and stirring singing, it all ends rather badly. Also opening is the considerably rarer Bluebeard of Jacques Offenbach. The 19th-century master of French operetta presents the story of a wife-murdering serial killer as farce—something that shocked even contemporary Parisian audiences.

It’s no secret that Glimmerglass is one of the classical music jewels of upstate New York, bringing cutting-edge opera to its bucolic Cooperstown setting. The company is regularly well-reviewed in publications ranging from Time to The New York Times; our own Paul Rapp praised last season’s production of Orlando Paladino (Haydn’s take on the same story that inspired Handel to write this season’s Orlando) for its “minimal and gorgeous” sets and the cast for their “ethereal harmonies and delicious counterpoint.”

Glimmerglass Opera will present Don Giovanni tonight (Thursday, July 3) at 8 PM and Sunday (July 6) at 2 PM; and Bluebeard on Saturday (July 5) at 8 PM and Monday (July 7) at 2 PM. Performances are in the Alice Busch Opera Theater (Route 80, Cooperstown). There will be additional performances throughout the summer, in repertory with Orlando and The Good Soldier Schweik. Tickets are $104-$28. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (607) 547-2255.

The Shock of Recognition: Recent Mixed Media Paintings

The one-person exhibition of mixed-media paintings by Hudson Valley artist Roberta Meyerson, opening tomorrow at the Tivoli Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, consists of 38 portraits of women, each one distinct and unusual. Meyerson builds the works with fabrics, oil and water paints and other various media to form each woman to the point where the artist recognizes the woman as a tangible being; hence, The Shock of Recognition. The detailed texture of the works creates depth and interest in the women’s faces, clothes, and settings, making each one her own person with her own story. The exhibit focuses on the women Meyerson depicts, their diversity and their places in society; it also focuses on the theme of recognizing one’s self, family or friends through the portraits. The artist wants her audience to see women they know in her paintings.

Meyerson has exhibited in New York City and Toronto and and has trained with notables like Philip Guston, Ad Rhinehart and Jimmy Ernst.

The Shock of Recognition: Recent Mixed Media Paintings opens tomorrow (Friday, July 4) at the Tivoli Artists Cooperative Gallery (60 Broadway, Tivoli). The show will run through July 27. A reception for the artist will be held Saturday, July 12, from 6 to 9 PM. For more information, call (845) 757-COOP.

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