Berkshires cultural maven Seth Rogovoy takes a look at the coming weekend, with an eye on arts and music.
As the year barrels to an end, there is a bit of a lull in the performing arts schedule in the region. There are, however, still a good number of events happening this weekend to satisfy those who need their cultural fix.
Israeli violinist and international superstar Vadim Gluzman will perform works by Mozart, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev in a duet concert with his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday at 6pm, as part of the Close Encounters with Music chamber series. Gluzman is in the tradition of the great romantic violinists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, while adding a contemporary flair. As one critic said, “Gluzman unleashes an astounding palette of colors from his violin: a golden hive-like droning, finger-snap pizzicatos, and a plunging dive-bomber wail that had me thinking of klezmer — and of Jimi Hendrix calling down fire from heaven in ‘Machine Gun.’”
Speaking of fire from heaven, the 85-voice Berkshire Lyric Chorus will be joined by its youth group, the Blafield Children’s Chorus, in “Making Spirits Bright, a Concert of Christmas Music,” a choral program of some of the most beloved music of the Christmas season, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Park Square in downtown Pittsfield on Saturday at 7:30pm. Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Marjorie Elinor Dix is the featured guest artist in the program, which will include audience sing-alongs of holiday favorites.
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol continues its run this weekend and next at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, in a Berkshire Theatre Group production that mixes theater professionals with community members, including 28 Berkshire County children.
For a different holiday flavor, Kristmess Kook, a variety show hosted by drag queen Musty Chiffon will take place at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday at 9pm. The show will feature a dozen special musical and performing guests, including members of the Replacements, Human Sexual Response, the Zulus, and Rasputina, among others, including Girlgantua and Lady Couture. The show will be followed immediately by a dance party, with music spun by DJs T-Bone and Musty Chiffon.
Also at Helsinki tonight is folk-rock singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson. Best known as the son of British folk-rock legends Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson has carved out his own niche as a singer and songwriter, which is presumably why Elton John chose him as the opening act on one of his tours. Thompson’s work recalls a panoply of forerunners and influences, including Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, and, of course, Richard and Linda Thompson.
And finally, the Voodoo Orchestra North, led by legendary jazz drummer, improviser and composer Bobby Previte and featuring many great upstate New York musicians, continues its residency at Helsinki Hudson, exploring the music of Miles Davis's eternal electric jazz-funk masterpiece, “Bitches Brew,” at Club Helsinki Hudson, on Monday night at 8pm.