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Rogovy Report 12/17/21

The cultural highlights for our region this weekend include jazz, Baroque, progressive folk, circus-dance, rock ‘n’ roll … plus a whole lot more.

World-renowned guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, who has established himself as a prime interpreter of the so-called Great American Songbook, will expand his musical palette when he performs at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday at 8 p.m., playing new standards, with a repertoire that includes Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, and The Beatles. (December 18)

Speaking of jazz standards, Russian-born jazz vocalist Svetlana brings her traditional approach, which has taken her recordings to the top of the jazz charts, to The Foundry in West Stockbridge, Mass., on Saturday at 7:30. (December 18)

Elizabeth Ziman, who performs under the band name Elizabeth and the Catapult, is a dazzling performer who writes disarmingly catchy and sophisticated pop tunes that in another era would be instant Top 10 hits. Elizabeth has it all going on: the gift of a natural ease onstage, an easy rapport with an audience, and a range from solo piano ballads through R&B-infused, guitar-based hard-rocking full-band dance numbers. Elizabeth returns to her favorite Berkshire haunt, the Egremont Barn in South Egremont, Mass., tonight at 7:30. (Friday, December 17)

Elizabeth Ziman
Seth Caplan
Elizabeth Ziman

The Aston Magna Chamber Players present a live holiday concert, “Handel & Bach: Music for a Winter Solstice,” featuring works by George Frideric Handel and J.S. Bach, at Hudson Hall next Tuesday, December 21 at 7 p.m., and at St. James Place in Great Barrington on Wednesday, December 22 at 7 p.m.

French circus-dance troupe Compagnie Libertivore – profiled in the New York Times earlier this week -- makes its American debut at PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., next Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a program written and choreographed by company founder Fanny Soriano, known for her trademark merging of dance and acrobatics called Nouveau cirque, which blends concept and choreography into a poetic exploration of the natural world in a hypnotic, dance-like flow. (December 21-22)

The Juno award-winning string quartet The Fretless brings its sophisticated take on traditional folk music to the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont on Saturday at 2 p.m. Within what appears to be a simple and classical construct — two fiddles, a viola, and a cello — The Fretless has created a sound that is distinctly rich, multi-layered, and uniquely percussive, deconstructing and transforming the usual rhythmic, harmonic and structured arrangements of fiddle styles around the world. (December 18)

The Hudson Valley Philharmonic presents its annual performance of Handel’s Messiah on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie. Christine Howlett will be on the podium to conduct the orchestra and guest vocalists from Cappella Festiva, for a total of 100 instrumentalists and singers on the Bardavon stage. (December 18)

The impossible to categorize roots-rock group the Mavericks bring their unique blend of country, Tex-Mex, and rockabilly to UPAC in Kingston, N.Y., on Saturday at 8 p.m. (December 18)

And The Elephant in the Room, an autobiographical musical from writer/actor/musician Melanie Greenberg, concludes its run at the Apple Tree Inn in Lenox, Mass., tonight (Friday, December 17).

Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com