Coming Attractions: What Will Light Your Fire This Week

Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, dance, film and theater that’s coming up this week.

By The Arts Fuse Staff


Stars of Flamenco
March 8-9
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA.

Influential flamenco dancer Antonio Canales is joined by Nuevo Ballet Español choreographer Carlos Rodríguez and another descendant of the far-flung family of flamenco legend Carmen Amaya, her great-niece Karime, for World Music/CRASHarts’ annual celebration of flamenco dance and music. Canales also teaches a special master class on Sunday, March 9 in Jamaica Plain.

Spirit of Uganda
March 7
Zeiterion Theatre
New Bedford, MA.
March 9,
Sorenson Center for the Arts
Babson College
Wellesley, MA.

While much recent news from Uganda is distressing, there is joy and energy in abundance when young musicians and dancers, many of them orphans, return to New England for two area performances.

Night of Kabuki Dance and Japanese Instruments
March 12
Alumnae Hall Ballroom, Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA.

Michiko Kurata, who has been studying kabuki buyo, derived from the theatrical form, for over 30 years, is joined by taiko and flute player Kaoru Watanabe and koto and shamisen expert Sumie Kaneko.

Boston Ballet Cinderella
March 13 – 23
Boston Opera House
Boston, MA.
Sir Frederick Ashton’s comic retelling of the fairy tale choreography turned English music hall drag into comic perfection for two ugly Step Sisters, one of which — the shy one — Sir Fred routinely performed himself. Boston Ballet brings this 1948 classic into its repertory, with alternating ballerinas taking on the title role and the all-important magic of the Lilac Fairy.

And further afield

Mark Morris Dance Group
March 8
The Vets (Veterans Memorial Auditorium)
Providence, Rhode Island.

Mark Morris himself conducts the Brown University Chorus in Bach’s Bach’s Jesu, Meine Freude and MMDG offers “Double” from “Mozart Dances” with decor by British painter Howard Hodgkin in this special performance, the centerpiece of an interdisciplinary symposium on arts as catalysts for community.

— Debra Cash


Four Generations of Miles Davis
March 7-8, 7:30 p.m. + 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Four outstanding players — saxophonist Sonny Fortune, guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Jimmy Cobb — are pooling their combined experience from different eras of working with Miles Davis.

Nando Michelin’s “Juana de America”
March 8, 8 p.m.; March 10, 8 p.m.
Amazing Things Arts Center, Framingham, MA [March 8] + Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA. [March 10]

The terrific Uruguayan-born jazz pianist Nando Michelin has long been a mainstay of Boston’s jazz and Latin-jazz scenes (his “Duende” trio with drummer Richie Barshay and a pre-famous Esperanza Spalding is semi-legendary). This month, Michelin premieres a new work in a series of metro-Boston venues. The piece, “Juana de America,” is a suite of songs set to the verse of Uruguayan poet Juana de Ibarbourou (1892-1979). Argentine singer Katie Viqueira joins Michelin’s trio, with Robert Taylor on bass and Tiago Michelin (Nando’s son) on drums, and the Four Corners string quartet. The show travels from the Amazing Things Arts Center (March 8) and the Longy School (March 10) to the Acton Jazz Café, Acton (March 14), and Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge (March 19).

New World Composers Jazz Octet performing live.

New World Composers Jazz Octet performing live at the 2012 Beantown Jazz Festival.

New World Jazz Composers Octet
March 10, 8.p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.

This octet, led by saxophonist and composer Daniel Ian Smith, digs deep into the mainstream tradition to create new work that is both elegant and fiery. The band also includes pianist Tim Ray, saxophonist Felipe Salles, trumpeters Walter Platt and Tony D’Aveni, percussionist Ernesto Diaz, bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa, and drummer Mark Walker.

Nir Felder
March 11, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

On his Okeh Records debut, Golden Age (released in January), young guitar wizard Nir Felder mixes dreamy indie-rock instrumentals with the kind of busy, sharp-angled uptempo pieces that progressive jazz fans love. The latter showed off his amazing chops — spiky patterns so unpredictable and fresh that it was hard to imagine how he was thinking so fast. It will be interesting to see how he mixes things up at the Regattabar with two players from the album, pianist Aaron Parks and drummer Nate Smith, along with bassist Orlando le Flemming.

Ambrose Akinmusire
March 12, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The adventurous young trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire (2007 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition) releases his second Blue Note CD, the imagined savior is far easier to paint, on March 11, then celebrates with a show at the Regattabar. Joining Akinmusire is his working quartet: saxophonist Walter Smith III, pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Justin Brown.

Bill Banfield’s Jazz Urbane
March 12, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club

Guitarist and Berklee professor Bill Banfield fronts his pop fusion outfit Jazz Urbane with the formidable young alto saxophonist Tia Fuller as special guest.

The Trio
March 13, 7:30 p.m. + 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Billy Cobham released their first album as the Trio in 2004, mixing exploratory variations on New Orleans funk with post-bop swing.

… and coming up

Vijay Iyer Trio/Robert Pinsky
March 14, 8 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist, composer, and MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer joins former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinksy for one of Pinsky’s PoemJazz duo sets and then takes the stage with his formidable trio mates, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, in this Celebrity Series concert.

Myra Melford
March 14, 8 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Pianist and composer Myra Melford’s exquisite chops, tact, and imagination have served her well with any number of jazz’s great experimenters, from Henry Threadgill, Joseph Jarman, and Leroy Jenkins to Dave Douglas, Marty Ehrlich, and Matt Wilson. She plays a solo gig in support of her solo-piano CD, Life Carries Me This Way (Firehouse 12) at the intimate Lily Pad.

Snarky Puppy performing live.

Snarky Puppy performing live.

Snarky Puppy
March 14, 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
From the next generation of jazz-rock-funk fusion, Snarky Puppy have signaled their arrival with a 2014 Grammy win for Best R&B Performance and a booking at the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival. You’ll hear R&B, but also the familiar sound of proggy ’70s-’80s fusion, updated with nifty horn charts and distinctive post-rock twists and turns. Dallas funk-fusion band Funky Knuckles opens.

— Jon Garelick

Roots and World Music

Habib Koité
March 7
Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA.

Last year Koité played Somerville and brought along American blues guitarist Eric Bibb for a cross-cultural collaboration. This time, presented by World Music/Crash Arts, the Malian guitarist is bringing his regular band, but there will still be plenty of blues in the mix. Disclaimer: This author will be a volunteer usher at this event.

Vessela Stoyanova & friends
March 7
Somerville Armory Café, Somerville, MA.

Balkan-born marimba player Stoyanova celebrates her birthday by presenting a mix of projects – expect some psychedelic folk, some art-rock, and a lot more.

Lady Saw in action. She will be performing in Dorchester this week.

Lady Saw in action. She will be performing in Dorchester this week.

Lady Saw
March 8
Russell Auditorium, 70 Talbot Ave., Dorchester, MA.

The saga of long-reigning dancehall reggae queen Lady Saw embodies many of the dichotomies found in contemporary Jamaican music. Her X-rated shows draw largely female fans who love her mix of sex and sass, but her biggest hit, “Syacamore Tree,” is actually about rejecting the lewd advances of a would-be companion. She’s one of the few dancehall acts who has stayed on top for decades, but she is also routinely blasted by a press that gives a pass to her equally vulgar male counterparts. Last year she came to town on what was billed as her last tour before she completely abandoned dancehall for gospel. Since then she’s clashed with Macka Diamond in a highly controversial appearance at the Sting festival, but also recorded gospel tracks under her birth name Marion Hall. Like Joan Rivers, her artistry addresses taboo topics for women. Her emotional distress is the price that pioneers often pay..

Her show at the Russell Auditorium has been promoted with a hilarious and politically incorrect marketing campaign.

— Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Byrd and Bach
Presented by the Handel & Haydn Society Chorus
March 14 (8 p.m.) and 16 (3 p.m.)
Symphony Hall, Boston

Harry Christophers returns to lead H&H Chorus in a program of music by William Byrd and J. S. Bach. This is consistently one of the finest ensembles of its kind in the region – if not the country – on a (relatively) rare solo outing.

Verdi’s Rigoletto
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
March 14 – 23 (times vary)
Shubert Theater, Boston

Verdi’s great tragedy gets a new production from BLO. Making his BLO debut, Christopher Franklin conducts a cast that includes Bruce Sledge (the Duke), Michael Mayes (Rigoletto), Nadine Sierra (Gilda), and David Kravitz (Marullo).

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Jupiter String Quartet
Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m.
Presented by MIT Music Department
Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge, MA.

The heralded quartet plays an all-Beethoven program: Quartets, Op. 18, No. 2; Opus 74 “Harp”; Op. 59 No. 2.

A Far Cry
With guest violist Kim Kashkashian
Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, NEC, Boston, MA

“The Mind’s Eye” offers performances of works buy Biber, Prokofiev, Schnittke (Monologue for viola and strings), and Bach (Ricercare a 6 from Music Offering)


Stile Anico comes to Cambridge this week.

Stile Antico
Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m.
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
St. Paul’s Church, Bow and Arrow Streets, Cambridge, MA.

The group presents the program “The Phoenix Rising: The Carnegie UK Trust and the Revival of Tudor Church Music.”

Musica Sacra
Saturday, March 8 at 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational, Cambridge, MA

The group performs the program “Bach and Frank Martin: Passionate Expressions of Faith.”

Natalie Dessay, soprano
with Philippe Cassard, piano
Saturday, March 8 at 8 p.m.
Presented by Celebrity Series
Jordan Hall, NEC

The concert features works of Clara Schumann, Brahms, and Richard Strauss, Debussy, Duparc, Poulenc, and Fauré.

Borromeo String Quartet
Sunday, March 9 at 1:30 p.m.
At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.

The quartet presents the Dvorak Project: Part V, with Meng-Chieh Liu, piano. The program includes the Quartet in C Major, Op 61 and Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81.

Cappella Clausura, an all-women's choral group, performs Saturday at St. Andrew's Church in Marblehead. (Julian Bullitt)

Cappella Clausura, an all-women’s choral group, performs in Cambridge this week. Photo: Julian Bullitt.

Cappella Clausura
Sunday, March 9 at 4 p.m.
Eliot Church 474 Center St., Newton, MA.

The program is entitled “Ghirlanda de Madrigali: A Garland of Madrigals.” It is made up of madrigals composed by a ‘Renaissance teenager’ as well as songs by Dowland and Gesualdo.

Pianists Ya-Fei Chuang and Robert Levin
Thursday, March 13 at noon
Presented by Lindsey Chapel Series of Emmanuel Music
Emmanuel Church of Boston, Boston, MA.

Robert Levin, recently retired from Harvard, has completed two Mozart sonata fragments. He and Ya-Fei Chuang will perform these pieces.

Boston Chamber Music Society
Sunday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.

The program features music of Turina, Beethoven, and Fauré.

— Susan Miron


A scene from "All About Feathers," screening at the MFA's Latin American Film Festival.

A scene from “All About Feathers,” screening at the MFA’s New Latin American Cinema Festival.

New Latin American Cinema
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
March 8 – 27

Fresh and vibrant new voices from Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil make up this year’s festival. Latin American can be depended on to produce great films with smart stories that simply don’t get proper distribution here. So this is a chance to catch some top-notch cinema. The series begins this week with All About Feathers from Costa Rica and The Summer of Flying Fish from Chile. All films play multiple dates.

Playing Dead
Monday March 10, 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA.

The 13th Belmont International Film Festival begins its Monday evening screening series with New England premiere of this French Agatha Christie-style whodunit. An out-of-work former movie celebrity (François Damiens) is relegated to playing the dead victim in a tangled crime scene reenactment in the French Alps. The actor’s obsession for dramatic detail causes sparks to fly with the civil officer investigating the real-life crime, potentially putting both their lives in danger. It is preceded by a dinner option, and followed by an appearance by the director Jean-Paul Salomé.

First Cousin Once Removed
Monday March 10, 7:00 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA.

A distinguished poet, translator, critic, and teacher, Edwin Honig (who died in 2011 at the age of 91) wrote dozens of books and poems that attracted critical praise around the world. His seminal translations awakened English-speaking readers to previously overlooked literary giants. This documentary paints a personal portrait of Honig as he journeys through the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. The acclaimed filmmaker Alan Berliner will attend for a post screening Q&A .

A scene featuring the late Edwin Honig in "First Cousin Once Removed."

A scene featuring the late Edwin Honig in “First Cousin Once Removed.”

Tiger Tale in Blue
Sunday March 9, 8:15 p.m.
Regent Underground Theatre 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA.

Chris, a young newlywed, waits tables all night and writes novels all day, obsessing over what little past he has to reflect on. His wife Melody, a high school English teacher, is in love with him, though his bohemian lifestyle poses a financial burden. The two work opposing schedules and rarely get to see one another, and that is taking its toll. The film dips into the realm of the surreal, playing with the rhythms of the passing days of married life and the blurry lines of fantasy and commitment. Featuring a score by acclaimed jazz musicians John Medeski and Chris Speed

Boston Open Screen
Tuesday March 11, 7:00 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA

Heads up student and all filmmakers! This long-running series returns to the Coolidge. Open Screen is Boston’s one and only open mic night for movies. Its pledge: “If your movie is under 10 minutes, we’ll screen it.”

Rent a Family, Inc.
Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m.
U Mass Boston, 
100 Morrissey Blvd. Campus Center Ballroom, Boston, MA.

The UMass free and open documentary series presents a Boston premiere: a film about a company that will rent you parents, siblings, or friends so you can “repair” or at least cover up domestic shortcomings in your life. Thisis the kind of scenario thatcould inspire a feature film: Rent a Family, Inc. captures in raw documentary form the cold perception of family relations in contemporary Japanese society.

— Tim Jackson


The Whale, by Samuel D. Hunter
March 7 through April 5.
Produced by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA.

Winner of the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, the script revolves around “Charlie, a morbidly obese man hiding away in his Northern Idaho apartment, quietly eating himself to death in the wake of a personal tragedy. With his health quickly failing, Charlie makes one last desperate attempt to connect by reaching out to his estranged daughter Ellie, a sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen whom he has not seen in 15 years.” David R. Gammons directs a cast that includes John Kuntz.

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. Translated from the Russian by Paul Schmidt.
March 7 – April 6
Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theater, Boston, MA.

Kate Burton plays actress Irina Arkadina in a staging of Chekhov’s classic about wayward love, questionable art, and the best way to mourn for your life. Maria Aitken directs.

Tongue of a Bird, by Ellen McLaughlin.
March 8 through 30
Staged by the New Rep Theatre
At the Black Box Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA.

This production of McLaughlin’s acclaimed play, “a story of lost mothers and daughters,” kicks off the inaugural Next Rep Black Box Festival. Emily Ranii directs a cast that includes Olivia D’Ambrosio, Ilyse Robbins, and Bobbie Steinbach.

— Bill Marx

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