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The Philadelphia Orchestra

The New York City Ballet has departed, and now it’s showtime for those fabulous Philadelphians: The Philadelphia Orchestra have arrived for their annual summer gig at SPAC. Again under the inspired direction of Charles Dutoit, their opening concerts offer an intriguing mix of the popular and the powerful.

Tonight (Thursday) is Austrian night, more or less—composers Franz Schubert and Alban Berg were born there, and German Johannes Brahms died in Vienna—but the program is nicely varied. Schubert is represented by his charming Overture to Rosamunde, and Brahms by his stirring Symphony No. 1. (The latter work has been dubbed through the decades, by musical wags, “Beethoven’s 10th.”) The highlight of the evening may well prove to be Berg’s Violin Concerto, however. This deeply emotional work is, in the opinion of many, the great 20th-century violin concerto; it’s also the best-known proof that atonal music can be beautiful. Violinist Leonidas Kavakos (pictured) will be the featured soloist.

Tomorrow (Friday) is Austrian night again. Specifically, it’s An Evening in Old Vienna, featuring guest conductor Erich Kunzel and soprano Jami Rogers. This is designed for pure fun—the waltzes, polkas, mazurkas and such of the assorted Strausses will be performed alongside similarly joyous, festive works by Lehár, Haydn, Stolz and Kálmán. The following night (Saturday), however, will be take a turn for the serious; it’s an all-Beethoven program. (Ode to joy, indeed.) Pianist Yefim Bronfman will be featured on the Piano Concerto No. 4, and a host of guest singers, including the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, will join the orchestra for the Symphony No. 9.

The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform tonight (Thursday), Friday and Saturday (Aug. 5-7) at 8:15 PM at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs). Tickets for the Thursday and Saturday performances are $57.50-$15. Tickets for Friday’s An Evening in Old Vienna are $62-$15. For more information, call 587-3330.

Endicott CD-Release Party

OK, we’ll play along. They’ve been found! Thanks to diligent investigation by local authorities, Albany-based screamo band Endicott—comprising vocalist Charles Cure, guitarists Don Naylor and Ryan Rapp, bassist Steve Booth, and drummer Jason Bowak—have been returned safe and sound from the undisclosed location where they’ve been held for the last several months.

An early press release for Endicott’s first full-length CD, The Words in Ink Don’t Lie (to be released Aug. 10 on the Equal Vision label) was framed as an Associated Press article detailing the band’s supposed disappearance from a Baltimore hotel. ’Twas nothing more than a clever publicity stunt (the giveaway might have been the descriptive phrase “world renowned”) from a band who don’t need stunts, as their music has earned comparisons to such heavy-music heavyweights as At the Drive-In and Suicidal Tendencies. So, members of Endicott: We’re glad you’re safe and all, but don’t scare us like that again, guys.

Endicott will celebrate the release of The Words in Ink Don’t Lie on Saturday (Aug. 7) at Trinity Church (235 Lark St., Albany), with guests Silent Drive, This Time Tomorrow, Roses Are Red, and After the Fall. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door, and the first 200 paid receive a free copy of the CD. The show starts at 7 PM. For more information, call 369-8759.

Eugene’s Home

The Berkshire Theatre Festival’s description of the circumstances of the lead character in its new production is straightforward: “When the center of you life is a worn out electric wheelchair, and your body is charged by a magnetic field beyond your control, the chances of living a rich, full life are slim.”

Eugene’s Home is the story of Eugene, the cerebral palsy victim confined to a wheelchair who has resigned himself to a life without love or fulfillment—until a young socialite walks into his hospital room and they connect. Written by Kathy Levin Shapiro and directed by Scott Schwartz, the story is one of compassion and new beginnings, even in the sunset of life. And Shapiro should know the terrain: She has worked with aging and ailing people for the better part of her life through a nonprofit she founded. Shapiro sent the script to Schwartz five years ago and they’ve worked on it together since then.

Eugene’s Home will make its world premiere tonight (Thursday, Aug. 5) at 8 PM at the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Theatre (Route 7, Stockbridge, Mass.), and the play runs until Aug. 21. Tickets are $37-$42. For reservations and information, call (413) 298-5576.

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