Berkshire Cultural Preview, Feb 8-12, 2012

SYNTH-FUNK DANCE PARTY at MASS MOCA with GORDON VOIDWELL

Gordon Voidwell

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.)  – On Saturday, February 11, 2012, at 8 p.m., MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center will be filled with 1980s outfits and dancers moving to a mix of pop, new wave, and funk at a Synth Funk Dance Party hosted by Gordon Voidwell. The New York native brings his unique dance anthems to North Adams, bringing out the retro sounds of Prince and Tom Tom Club while infusing them with a fresh indie sound. The evening will kick off with dance instruction arranged by Jacob’s Pillow.

Prior to the dance party, attendees are encouraged to take advantage of MASS MoCA’s FREE Day, which features free admission to the galleries with a full schedule of special activities. This pairing offers the perfect opportunity to spend the whole day in North Adams.

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NEW BRITISH PLAY to SCREEN at THE CLARK and MAHAIWE LIVE IN HD from LONDON’S NATIONAL THEATRE

Antony Sher (Jacob Bindel) and Abigail McKern (Ida) in the National Theatre production of 'Travelling Light'

(WILLIAMSTOWN and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Travelling Light, a new tragicomic fable of enchantment by renowned U.K. playwright Nicholas Wright, about the invention of the movies, pre-World War I Jewish life, and the price one pays for artistic passion and commitment, will be screened Live in HD from London’s National Theatre at The Clark in Williamstown, on Thursday, February 9, 2012, at 2 pm, and at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington on Saturday, February 18 at 7 pm.

The play portrays a now famed American film director’s journey of success as he reminisces about his past and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams. The play takes one back to a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, and illustrates the journey of the young Motl Mendl as he becomes entranced by flickering silent images on his father’s cinematograph. Motl is encouraged to pursue his passion for film by Jacob, an ebullient local timber merchant, who finances his passion, and Anna, a girl who is sent to help him make moving pictures of their village.

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BACH CHORALES AND ORGAN WORKS ON TAP

Christa Rakich

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Arias from Anna Magdalena’s Notebook as well as major organ works from Bach’s Little Organ Book, and a Trio Sonata and the celebrated Pièce d’Orgue will be performed as part of The Inner World of Feeling: Sense and Sensibility in the Music of J.S. Bach on Sunday,  February 12, 2012, at 4pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (67 East St.), in a concert presented by Berkshire Bach featuring organist Christa Rakich and soprano Miranda Bergmeier.

The program in intended to paint an aural picture of Bach’s world and faith, highlighting the personal drama of his music as it depicts profound joy and deepest sorrow. At its center are the chorales and settings of the Passiontide and Easter sections of his Orgelbüchlein, or “Little Organ Book.” Each chorale will be sung (7 for Passiontide and 6 for Easter) before Bach’s descriptive arrangement is played.

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WAGNER’S EPIC GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG SCREENS at THE CLARK and MAHAIWE LIVE FROM THE MET

Deborah Voigt as Brunnhilde in the Met's new Götterdämmerung. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Wagner’s epic opera Götterdämmerung, starring American soprano Deborah Voigt and American tenor Jay Hunter Morris, screens at The Clark in Williamstown and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington on Saturday, February 11, 2012, at noon, live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera. The 6.5 hour opera will also be shown at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington at the same time, as well as in an encore broadcast on Wednesday, February 15, at noon.

Götterdämmerung is the thrilling climax of Robert Lepage’s innovative, high-tech staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen (the Ring cycle), opera’s definitive saga.

American soprano Deborah Voigt takes on the role of warrior maiden Brünnhilde, one of the most demanding roles in all of opera, and American tenor Jay Hunter Morris performs the role of the doomed hero, Siegfried.

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ANNA BETBEZE DEBUTS FOUR NEW PAINTINGS at MASS MOCA

'Froggery' by Anna Betbeze

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – On view as of Wednesday, February 8, 2012, Anna Betbeze debuts four new paintings in her first solo museum exhibition in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center mezzanine gallery. Betbeze’s innovative work – described by Suzanne Hudson in Artforum as “exquisitely grotesque” – uses Greek Flokati carpets as a ground for a mix of pigments that range from brilliant to muddy. Betbeze aggressively cuts, tears, stains, and burns the large wooly paintings before machine-washing them. She paints the sheep’s wool with watercolor and acid-based textile dyes using brushes, buckets, and even her hands, and often leaves on the acid dyes for long periods of time, allowing them to scorch the material. The resulting holes can give the work lacelike patterns or leave them looking like they are on the cusp of complete disintegration. The result is dynamic compositions with color-soaked forms, furry tufts of material, and the negative space of the white wall behind.

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‘LEARNED LADIES’ at SHAKESPEARE & CO. OPENS with BRUNCH and TALK by POET LAUREATE RICHARD WILBUR

Dana Harrison and Brittany Morgan in 'The Learned Ladies'

(LENOX, Mass.) – Founding Shakespeare & Company artistic director Tina Packer’s production of Molière’s farce The Learned Ladies opens this weekend with a special brunch, a talkback with The Learned Ladies translator and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur, and a colorful display of costumes and vintage clothing that span the centuries called 300 Years of Ladies on Top, curated by Shakespeare & Company costume director Govane Lohbauer.

Shakespeare & Company hosts its annual Valentine’s Brunch before the show on Sunday, February 12, at 11:30 am, with a meal created by executive chef Ron Werth, featuring romantically inspired entrees and a selection of indulgent desserts. Special musical performances by company actors and guests includie the dulcet sounds of crooner David Joseph.

Ticketholders for the 2 pm matinee performance of The Learned Ladies will be treated to a special talkback with two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States Richard Wilbur. Wilbur composed the translation of The Learned Ladies that Tina Packer uses for the current production and for the original 1978 Shakespeare & Company production at The Mount. Wilbur will be on hand to talk about the play and his work as he reminisces with Packer after the show.

Also, on Sunday, February 12, the Jane Iredale Lobby just outside of the Bernstein Theatre will feature a special costume exhibit produced by company costume director and designer Govane Lohbauer. Costumes on display will include select company pieces from the past 35 years, which span three centuries of designs, as well as pieces from the company’s antique collection, including stunning vintage dresses generously donated by Carolyn and Eli Newberger.

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