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Arts & Culture

Rogovoy Report 7/13/18

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include blues, folk-punk, klezmer, mariachi, Leonard Bernstein, and a whole lot more.

If Sonic Youth married Ani DiFranco, moved to Southern California, and had a baby, it would be Courtney Barnett. The indie-rock, punk-infused singer-songwriter infuses her plainspoken lyrics with a wit and wisdom beyond her 30 years, and matches it in concert with a driving guitar that is sure to bring the audience to its feet when she takes the stage at MASS MoCA on Thursday, July 12, at 8 p.m. Cameroon-born multi-instrumentalist Vagabon opens the show.

To honor the centennial of composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth this summer, the 2018 Bard SummerScape festival is presenting the first major revival of the composer’s Peter Pan. Originally an Edwardian play by Scottish dramatist J.M. Barrie, “Peter Pan, or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up,” owes its status as an enduring children’s classic chiefly to two popular American adaptations: the 1953 Disney animation and 1954 Broadway musical. Yet the postwar years yielded an earlier American adaptation too: a Broadway show that opened in 1950 and ran for 321 performances, with music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein. Presented complete in an intimate new chamber arrangement, this psychologically gripping treatment reveals the childhood fantasy’s darker side. Peter Pan is at the Fisher Center at Bard College now through July 22.

Leonard Bernstein is also on the menu at Tanglewood this weekend, too. First, though, you have to eat your vegetables in the form of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, performed tonight at 8, along with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat, K.595, the composer's final work in the genre, featuring Paul Lewis at the keyboard. On Saturday night at 8, Andris Nelsons conducts a semi-staged version of Puccini's opera La bohème. Then on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., Andris Nelsons and the BSO play works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.

Shemekia Copeland has opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined the Chicago Blues Festival, scored critics' choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic, shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, and has even performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. The daughter of the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland has won several W.C. Handy Awards and Blues Music Awards, and was even nominated for a Grammy Award for her patented blend of modern blues, funk, soul and R&B, which she brings to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Speaking of Grammy Awards, Latin Grammy winners Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an all­female Mariachi group, brings its diverse blend of cultural backgrounds to create a fresh take on traditional Mexican music to PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., on Saturday at 8 p.m.

YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music is emphasizing the “new” in its title this year with a lineup comprised almost entirely of performers new to Yidstock audiences, including David Krakauer, one of the world’s great klezmer clarinetists and bandleaders, and Beyond the Pale, Canada’s premiere Jewish-roots music outfit. Also making their Yidstock debuts this summer during the seventh annual YIDSTOCK, taking place at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., today through Sunday, are Yiddish art singer Heather Klein with Joshua Horowitz; vocalist Anthony Mordechai Zvi Russell; and Ladino-fusion vocalist Sarah Aroeste - who happens to call the Berkshires home -- in a specially commissioned program exploring the Yiddish-Ladino connection.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com