Arts Fuse critics select some of the most promising in music, theater, and film for the coming week. A new feature!
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Global Lens Film Series
June 7 through June 19
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
A wonderful opportunity to see some great international cinema. Global Lens 2013 is presented in over 35 cities across the United States and Canada throughout the year. The series includes 10 award-winning narrative feature films from Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Serbia. Global Lens believes that “the United States, and especially its youth, suffers disproportionately from a lack of exposure to other cultures. A comprehensive effort to give value to stories from every corner of the world plays a vital role in promoting tolerance in all areas of human behavior.” See schedule link for details.
Roxbury International Film Festival Special Screening, co-presented by the Jewish Film Festival.
June 10, 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
Local director and Birmingham native Sandy Jaffe chronicles the collaboration between two Alabama high schools, Fairfield High and Mountain Brook, with their productions of To Kill a Mockingbird and their unprecedented access to Harper Lee. How these two racially different groups learn about the struggles that occurred in their separate hometowns and explore the larger meanings of the venerable story demonstrates the enduring impact of Lee’s great novel. The film has been impressing audiences all over the Boston era. The director will be present for a post-screening discussion.
— Tim Jackson
Lee Fields & the Expressions
June 6, 8 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA, 18+
Soul, funk, and the sassy vocals of Lee Fields will fill Brighton Music Hall this Thursday when Lee Fields and the Expressions return to Boston. I was lucky enough to see them perform last time around at the same venue and can say that if you need a night to get sexy, this one will be it. Tickets on sale for $18.50.
This week Radio hosts Three Day Threshold, and tickets are just $7. Self described as “good country gone terrible bad,” the band will be playing dates with Old Crow Medicine Show and the Avett Brothers this summer. Catch them at this small local venue before they get huge; they’re due.
— Kathleen Burke
Presented by Commonwealth Lyric Theater
June 9, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; June 11, 8 p.m.; June 13, 8 p.m.
Center Makor, Boston, MA
Rachmaninoff’s early and rarely heard opera gets its first complete East Coast performance since 1916, courtesy of the CLT. A strong cast is led by Mikhail Svetlov and Janna Baty and conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Boston Early Music Festival
June 7 through 16
Check website for venues and times
The big news this week, all week, is this world-class musical extravaganza. Along with the concerts (including late-night performances), there are days filled with lecture-demonstrations and workshops. There is also a keyboard mini-festival. The Big Event is a presentation of Handel’s glorious opera Almira, written when he was just 19. With a stellar cast of singers, dancers, and musicians, this is an extraordinary event, not to be missed. It’s playing Sunday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 12 at 7 p.m., Friday, June 14 at 7 p.m., and Sunday June 16 at 3 p.m.
Every evening at 8 p.m. there are first-rate concerts. Highlights include the following: Monday — “For the First Time . . . Mozart’s Original Instruments Travel to the United States”; Tuesday — Dame Emma Kirkby, soprano, and Paul O’Dette, lute, perform the music of John Dowland; Friday — The Hilliard Ensemble.
Rockport Chamber Music Festival
June 7 through July 14
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, MA
Many believe it takes place in the most beautiful performance spot in New England. The Opening Night Gala on June 7 features Peter Serkin and David Deveau, pianists, with A Far Cry string orchestra. On Saturday, June 8, the Jupiter String Quartet takes center stage, and the group is joined on Sunday, June 9 at 5 p.m., by Joyce Yang, piano.
— Susan Miron
In 2000, Alan Ayckbourn took theatrical ingenuity to the point of thespian physical breakdown. House & Garden is a sadistic contraption made up of two plays that take place on different stages at the same time, a set-up that demands that cast members (who are appearing in both plays) run from space to space. I saw the New York premiere production: the scripts contain a heaping helping of the dramatist’s absurdist suburban patter, the amusing death rattles of a string of unhappy marriages and affairs gone rotten as a party progresses to its inevitable meltdown. A perfect handoff to summer theater . . .
In the Heights
Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes.
Through June 30
The Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Fuse Critic Evelyn Rosenthal writes that the “plot line sometimes lurches a bit, but the characters are moving (in many senses of the word), and what will really stick with you is the pure energy and joy of the music and dancing in this marvelous production.”
Utility Monster by Marina Keegan
Through June 22
The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Wellfleet, MA
The American premiere of a drama about world hunger, a topic that isn’t explored often on our stages, given the current hunger for “amusing ourselves to death” shows. The playwright, Marina Keegan, died tragically on May 26, 2012.
— Bill Marx
Every summer the Boston Public Library hosts a series of free open-air jazz performances in the courtyard of the Central Branch in Copley Square, several of them (like this kickoff event) co-sponsored by JazzBoston.
This concert has a particular resonance for the LGBT community, occurring as it does during Boston Pride Week:
“Charlie Kohlhase has been active on Boston’s Jazz scene for more than 30 years as a bandleader/composer, sideman, and educator. As a gay man he has seen attitudes toward homosexuality in the musicians’ community evolve over the decades. For this concert during Boston Pride Week, Kohlhase will explore the music of gay jazz composers and the gay composers of American popular music whose work is appreciated by jazz musicians. His selections will provide a chronological view extending from Cole Porter and Edward C. Redding, through Billy Strayhorn and Leonard Bernstein, to contemporary composers like Fred Hersch and himself. For each composer, he will offer a brief biographical sketch and musical overview.”
Enrico Rava is the Terumasa Hino of Italy, which is to say he’s an exceptional trumpeter burdened by lazy journalists perennially referring to him as the “Miles Davis of [fill in the blank]“. (Of course he was influenced by Miles–what trumpeter wasn’t?) Over the decades Rava’s musical associations and interests have ranged widely; indeed, just in the past two years he’s paid tribute to Lester Bowie:
And Michael Jackson:
(Love the version of “Thriller!”)
These projects were with his larger Parco della Musica Jazz Lab, but for the Berklee gig he’ll be playing (mostly original compositions, I assume) with his quintet, Tribe (trombonist Gianluca Petrella, pianist Giovanni Guidi, bassist Gabriele Evangelista and drummer Fabrizio Sferra). The concert will open with performances by pianist/vocalist Sarah McKenzie, followed by members of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute ensemble. (Watch for The Arts Fuse review by Jon Garelick.)
– J.R. Carroll