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Get Out and See Something, Already

A brief introduction to the summer arts scene


Now for the meat of the Summer Guide: the listings. We try to be comprehensive. We fail, but I’d like to think we fail nobly. Here are a few highlights of the coming season.

The rumor did not prove true, alas: Alicia Keys will not be guesting at the Beyoncé show at the Times Union Center in Albany on July 31. (Alan Thicke’s son Robin is the opener.) However, it’s still a Beyoncé show, which should be something to experience. The other rumor also did not prove true, alas: Peter Gabriel is not part of this summer’s Genesis reunion tour, which comes to the TUC on Sept. 12. Still, it’s the classic three-dude lineup of Collins, Banks and Rutherford, which should also be something to experience.

The big news at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center is that Rush (June 30) and the Moody Blues (July 28) are back on the road. The really big SPAC news is that WEQX is hosting EQX Fest, with 311, Matisyahu and . . . TV on the Radio. There will be three stages at the all-day event; Lughead are reuniting for the gig, too, and some new band called Maggie Mayday are playing, too.

Other highlights: Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble at the Egg (June 29); emotastic Hawthorne Heights at Northern Lights in Clifton Park (July 7); Randy Newman at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Mass. (July 15); and Mary J. Blige at Turning Stone in Verona (Aug. 1). The big free outdoor shows are back, too. Alive at Five starts tonight (June 7) with “oldies night” at the Corning Preserve, and the Empire State Plaza series begins July 20 with the Lustre Kings.

We really have access to some of the best classical artists in the world every summer. The Philadelphia Orchestra, and musical director Charles Dutoit, return to Saratoga Springs for their annual stay at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The big news is this year’s composer-in-residence, Krzysztof Penderecki. He only happens to be one of the most important composers alive; this is quite a coup for SPAC. The orchestra will perform his second symphony, while director Chantal Juillet and the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival players will be performing two of Penderecki’s works for smaller ensembles. One quick note: SPAC has moved the Philadelphia Orchestra concert start times to 8 PM this year.

Bard Summerscape puts the spotlight on 19th-century Brit composer Edward Elgar with Elgar and His World. Again, the good people down the Hudson at Bard College have assembled a multifaceted festival of theater, dance, film, lectures and, of course, music—the Bard Music Festival will be held over two consecutive weekends beginning Aug. 10.

Finally, the Maverick Concert Series (at the Maverick Concert Hall, near Woodstock) begins their season on June 24 with Grammy faves the Imani Winds; Glimmerglass Opera will spotlight the Orpheus myth in July and August with operas by Offenbach, Gluck, Monteverdi and Philip Glass; the Saratoga Choral Festival moves over to the First Baptist Church in Saratoga Springs for their Aug. 19 concert.

The Albany Institute of History and Art has two exhibits opening on June 16, both of local/regional interest. Hudson Valley landmarks captured in large-format photographs are the subject of Parallel Passages: Lynn Davis at the Sites of Frederic C. Church; an Albany “neo-romantic” artist gets a retrospective in Luminosity: The Paintings of Stephen Hannock. The Clark Art Institute, over yonder in Williamstown, will highlight a different side of a well-known master in The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, beginning June 24. The Center for Photography in Woodstock, down yonder where the hippies dwell, opens Rough Beauty, photographs by Dave Anderson, this week (June 9). And talk about making lemonade from lemons: A major exhibit gone sideways (the artist apparently isn’t returning to finish it) is the subject of Made at MASS MoCA, which is, as you would surmise, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass.

Time for dance: As ever, the big dance seasons are at SPAC in July with the New York City Ballet and over in Becket, Mass., all summer at Jacob’s Pillow. The NYCB are performing Romeo and Juliet this year, along with the usual pleasing mix of Balanchine, Robbins and Martins; Jacob’s Pillow will welcome back the Mark Morris and Paul Taylor companies, as well as showcasing companies from around the world. Also note that the Ajkun Ballet Theatre will return to the Egg in Albany on Aug. 11.

Whew. I didn’t even get to theater yet.

Menopause—The Musical gets its regional premiere at Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre beginning June 13; Adirondack Theatre Festival returns to the Charles R. Wood Theater (Glens Falls) on June 27 with Behave Yourself; Grease is the word at Park Playhouse this year, beginning July 10; a revival of 1920s proto-screwball comedy Dulcy opens at the Dorset Theatre Festival beginning July 19; and Tina Packer is the Egyptian queen in Antony and Cleopatra at Shakespeare and Company beginning July 27.

Now, on to the listings. . . .

—Shawn Stone

> Back to summer guide home

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