A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Hudson, N.Y. region, including a modern, jazzy take on Bach; early music; Simi Stone’s “Mountain Motown,” a rock legend performing a tribute to Frank Sinatra, plus a whole lot more.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Bard SummerScape Festival returns this week with the first of two world premieres. “Fantasque,” a major new commission for dance and puppetry that marks the first collaboration between two significant creative artists, opens the festival on Friday, July 1. Bard’s new ballet, geared to audiences of all ages, pairs original choreography from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award-winner John Heginbotham, with puppetry and design by longstanding doyenne of the puppet theater world Amy Trompetter, set to the music of Respighi and Rossini (July 1–3).
“Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” (1917), four puppet plays by leading Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero, as newly rediscovered, translated, designed, and directed by Obie and Bessie Award-winning artist Dan Hurlin, begins its run on Thursday, July 7, with the first performance almost a full century after its creation. Hurlin’s production combines traditional bunraku puppetry techniques with state-of-the-art technology – from 3-D printing to sound sampling – and a live score by Tony Award-nominated composer/sound designer Dan Moses Schreier (July 7–17).
The opening week also brings cabaret from Isaac Mizrahi (July 1) and Mx. Justin Vivian Bond (July 2), plus live jazz from The Jazzmeia Horn Ensemble (July 7), in Bard’s Belgian Spiegeltent, where dining is available throughout SummerScape 2016.
(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century kicks off its summer 2016 performance series with the eleventh annual Paul Grunberg Memorial Bach Concert, featuring award-winning American violinist, fiddler, and composer Jeremy Kittel and his band in The Tent at PS21 on Saturday, July 2, at 7:30pm. Fluent in multiple musical genres, Kittel – formerly of the Turtle Island Quartet – composes music drawn from traditional roots, jazz, Celtic, classical, electronic, and other streams.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Woodstock soul-rock singer-songwriter Simi Stone brings her signature brand of “Mountain Motown” music and her all-star band to Helsinki Hudson on Friday, July 1, at 9pm. Stone’s bands includes musicians who have played with Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Gang of Four, B-52s, and Vernon Reid.
Simi Stone plays violin, guitar and percussion and boasts a huge, versatile voice. She reminds me of Diana Ross, although last time I saw her I closed my eyes and realized that who she really recalls is Jackson Five-era Michael Jackson, in the best possible way. She’s a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, in demand as a rock violinist, and her violin gives her self-described “Mountain Motown” sound her unique imprint. But she can also sling on a guitar and make that sing, or play various percussion instruments. Or, frankly, she can just shimmy across the stage unburdened by any instrument with the hot legs and sexy allure of Tina Turner. That works, too.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Consider yourselves warned. When you go to see Bob Dylan perform at Tanglewood on Saturday, July 2, you will be hearing almost no songs you associate with Bob Dylan. In fact, unless you’re a hardcore fan, you may only recognize one or two of the 20 songs he will probably play that night. All together, only four songs – 20 percent of the concert – were originally recorded by Dylan in the 20th century. Then again, it’s Bob Dylan, and some say they’d pay to hear him sing the telephone book.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y. and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Aston Magna’s “Mozart’s Diversions” takes place Friday, July 1, at Bard College at 8pm and again on Saturday, July 2, at Simon’s Rock College at 6pm, with “A Musical Joke,” the Horn Quintet, and Divertimento, K. 287, featuring Todd Williams and Linda Dempf on natural horns and the Aston Magna string ensemble.