The summer cultural scene in the greater Berkshire region is in full flower, so whether it’s theater, dance, chamber music, classical, jazz, blues, rock, comedy, visual arts, or what have you – it’s happening. So go out and have fun this weekend. Here are a few ideas of things to do.
I was at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket the other night, where I saw Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group in its program, Moses(es), which plays through Sunday. That’s Moseses, as in the plural of Moses. What Reggie Wilson and his terrific ensemble of dancers, singers and percussionists do is examine the Moses story, as well as the idea of slavery into freedom, from all different facets and angles, in a variety of dance and movement styles and in music ranging from traditional to contemporary African chant, African-American spirituals, and even some Klezmer. It’s vibrant, vital, and entertaining, and as I said, it plays at the Pillow through Sunday.
I’ve been a music critic for nearly 30 years – well, all right, maybe even longer – and I’ve seen my share of blues concerts over that time. I think it’s safe to say that the absolute most memorable one, and still one of my most favorite concerts of all time, period, was when I first saw Buddy Guy, which was probably around 1990 or so. Honestly, to call what he did the blues really did it a disservice. While there’s no doubt that’s what the music is grounded in, Guy approaches blues like Miles Davis approached jazz, or maybe even a better comparison is how Pablo Picasso approaches portraiture. Guy’s singing and playing is all about the angles. You have to see him to believe it. Luckily, you can, tonight at 8 at the Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington. See you there.
If the Buena Vista Social Club is more to your liking, go check out Cuban-American drummer, composer, and bandleader Dafnis Prieto and his globally inspired Quartet when they perform their singular mix of Afro-Cuban jazz at PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., on Saturday night at 8pm.
Or maybe you’re a fan of cabaret. If so, you’re in luck this weekend. KT Sullivan, one of the premier cabaret artists of our time, performs a two-night stand of Broadway and popular classics at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at Barrington Stage on Saturday and Sunday in Pittsfield. Sullivan’s Colored Lights program is a memoir-in-music of how Kathleen Sullivan, from Boggy Depot, Okla., went from performing with her family gospel choir to the top cabaret rooms in world capitals.
Or perhaps chamber music is your thing. The Philadelphia-based Jasper String Quartet will perform works by Haydn, Dvorak, and Shostakovich in the Concerts at Tannery Pond series at the Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y., on Saturday at 8pm. The Jasper will play the Haydn Quartet in C major, Op. 33, No. 3, Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 and Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 13 in G major, Op. 106.
Or maybe you like your music played by a cast of hundreds. If so, this is the weekend to head over to Tanglewood in Lenox, where conductor Andris Nelsons make his first appearance since taking on the role of Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Designate. Tonight, Nelsons conducts the orchestra in an all-Dvorak program, with special guest violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, while tomorrow night he leads the BSO and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in works by Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel, playing that all-time crowd pleaser, Bolero. Also this weekend, the Boston Pops Orchestra and conductor Keith Lockhart make their 2014 Tanglewood debut in an afternoon performance on Sunday, at 2:30 p.m., with special guest Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame, in a program of Broadway show tunes.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com