The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include virtual theater, Iraqi jazz, a site-specific sound installation, a piano recital and a whole lot more.
The Williamstown Theatre Festival has finally released the first production of its 2020 season on Audible. Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” starring Emmy, Grammy, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois, is now available to stream via Audible; more plays will be released in upcoming weeks.
MASS MoCA in North Adams continues its Auditory After Hours series giving visitors
a chance to engage with art while listening to a bespoke experience curated by cutting-edge musicians on Saturday night at 7, 7:30, and 8, when the LA-based experimental hip-hop trio Clipping dives into its archive to create a darkly atmospheric gallery soundtrack with material from an abandoned audiobook score. Entitled “The Depths,” this new chapter is intended to immerse the listener in a cold, Atlantean soundscape during their nocturnal spelunking of the galleries. Upcoming artists in the series include Sylvan Esso and Kaki King.
On Saturday at 5 p.m., Clarion Concerts presents composer, jazz trumpeter, vocalist and santur player Amir ElSaffar in a concert streaming on the group’s website. ElSaffar, an Iraqi-American called "one of the most promising figures in jazz today" by the Chicago Tribune, will draw upon his father's roots in Iraq, and perform a collection of sacred maqams on santur in collaboration with Hamid al-Saadi, the singer said to be the greatest living exponent of maqam, and an ensemble including Dena ElSaffar on joza, Tim Moore on percussion, and George Ziadeh on oud. The concert will be pre-recorded at the Stissing Center in Pine Plains, NY, and the stream will go live on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Simon’s Rock College music faculty member Aaron Likness performs a program of modern American music on Sunday at 3 p.m. Likness performs a unique piano recital of works including Charles Ives’s monumental Piano Sonata no. 2, “Concord, 1840-1860,” the composer’s homage to Transcendentalism. Also on the program are John Wesley Work III’s “Scuppernong: Three Pieces for Country Folk, 1950,” and Simon's Rock faculty member Larry Wallach’s Mood no. 1. The performance will take place live at the Kellogg Music Center, with limited in-person viewing open to Simon's Rock community members only. Everyone else, including you, is invited to follow the concert live on Zoom.
Next Wednesday, December 9 at 5 p.m., composer Phil Kline’s experimental soundscape “Unsilent Night,” written specifically to be heard outdoors in the month of December, will resound throughout the grounds of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate, in Lenox, Mass. The free event takes the form of a promenade in which the audience becomes the performer. If you’ve never participated in “Unsilent Night,” it’s a musical experience unlike any other.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com
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