Berkshire and Hudson Valley Regional Cultural Preview (August 5-11, 2022)

With so much going on culturally speaking in our region, this is my highly selective, curated snapshot of some of the most promising events happening this weekend …

Chvrches (courtesy MASS MoCA)

CHVRCHES and CAFUNÉ BRING INDIE-POP SOUNDS to MASS MoCA

Female-led indie pop is on tap tonight at MASS MoCA in North Adams at 8pm, with Scottish electro-pop trio Chvrches, featuring the heavenly vocals of Lauren Mayberry, and Brooklyn-based alt-pop duo Cafuné, featuring singer-songwriter Sedona Schat and writer/producer Noah Yoo. Chvrches live show is inspired by the trio’s 1980s horror-flick-themed release “Screen Violence,” replete with trippy visuals, blood-drenched makeup, and hooks so sharp they “could cut glass,” according to NPR. Cafuné’s particular blend of indie-pop reminds me of French indie-pop group Phoenix. (Fri, Aug 5)

 

SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY TACKLE a RARE SAMUEL BECKETT PLAY

This weekend Lenox-based Shakespeare & Company tackles the rarely performed Samuel Beckett work, “All That Fall,” originally a radio play and Beckett’s first work centered on a female protagonist, here played by Shakespeare & Company veteran Annette Miller, playing Saturday and Sunday at 1:30pm in the Tina Packer Playhouse. (Aug 6-7)

 

 

Kearstin Piper Brown (photo Vero Kherian / courtesy artist)

BERKSHIRE OPERA FESTIVAL SALUTES ARIAS and ART SONGS by BLACK COMPOSERS

Berkshire Opera Festival presents an evening of arias and art songs by Black composers at the Berkshire Museum next Wednesday, August 10, at 7:30pm. The free concert, “High on the Ramparts: A Spotlight on Music of Black Composers,” features renowned soprano Kearstin Piper Brown, who this year scored a triumph as the lead in Ricky Ian Gordon’s new opera, “Intimate Apparel” at Lincoln Center Theater; and acclaimed tenor Joshua Blue. The program includes music by the 18th-century composer Joseph Bologne, Sammy Hayward and Langston Hughes’ “(Checkin’ on the) Freedom Train”, and contemporary composer B.E. Boykin. (Wed, Aug 10)

 

 

 

Vance Gilbert (courtesy Guthrie Center)

SINGER-SONGWRITER VANCE GILBERT BRINGS INTIMATE PORTRAITS and HUMOR to GUTHRIE CENTER

Vance Gilbert, the multitalented virtuoso new-folk singer-songwriter who is funny enough to be a standup comedian, brings his brilliant songcraft and wit to the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington on Saturday at 8pm. (Sat, Aug 6)

 

 

 

 

Michael Feinstein (courtesy Mahaiwe)

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN SALUTES JUDY GARLAND at THE MAHAIWE

It’s a busy, jazzy weekend at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., beginning tonight at 8pm, when legendary singer Michael Feinstein salutes and celebrates the great Judy Garland on her 100th birthday. Feinstein will lead a nostalgic and historical journey through Garland’s life, performing songs from her repertoire and telling stories that he has learned from Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli and close friends of Garland’s. (Fri, August 5)

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Rosenthal (courtesy Berkshires Jazz)

TED ROSENTHAL’s JAZZ OPERA ‘DEAR ERICH’ at THE MAHAIWE

Then again at the Mahaiwe on Saturday night at 7:30, renowned pianist/composer Ted Rosenthal’s jazz opera, “Dear Erich,” makes its Berkshires debut, featuring members of the NYC Opera accompanied by Rosenthal and his trio. The opera tells the true story of Erich Rosenthal, Ted’s father, who was able to escape Nazi Germany, leaving behind his family, who were murdered by the Nazis. Frustrated and powerless to help them emigrate, Erich lived with survivor guilt, which affected his relationships with his wife and children. (Sat, August 6).

 

 

 

DakhaBrakha (photo Oli Zitch/courtesy PS21)

UKRAINIAN ENSEMBLE DAKHABRAKHA PERFORM LIVE SOUNDTRACK at PS21

Progressive Ukrainian ensemble DakhaBrakha performs its live soundtrack to Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s “Earth,” the 1930 Ukrainian silent film masterpiece, at PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., next Thursday at 7pm. The self-styled “ethno-chaos” band—a quartet from Kyiv—builds upon Ukrainian folk music, adding rhythms of the surrounding world to create the unique and original style that has become their hallmark. (Thurs, August 11)

 

 

 

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