Arts Beat for Oct. 12: Opera company to stage Purcell’s ‘Dido & Aeneas’ at Town Hall Theater

Bray Wilkins in ‘Dido and Aeneas’
The Opera Company of Middlebury will present one of the glories of English music, “Dido and Aeneas” by Henry Purcell, in three semi-staged concert performances at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury beginning on Friday, at 8 p.m. Repeat performances will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
This will be the first time Opera Company of Middlebury (OCM) stages an English opera and their first Baroque opera as well. “Dido and Aeneas” premiered in 1689 and is generally considered the first great English opera.
“Dido and Aeneas” has a cast solely comprised of OCM alumni. Sara Petrocelli, mezzo-soprano, will sing the role of Dido, Queen of Carthage. Bray Wilkins, tenor, will sing the role of Aeneas, the Trojan Prince. Returning for her third appearance with OCM will be Stephanie Weiss, now based in Berlin, as the Sorceress.
Jeffrey Buettner will conduct the OCM orchestra and the Middlebury College Choir.
There will be a talk about the opera one hour prior to curtain each day at Memorial Baptist Church on South Pleasant Street opposite the Town Hall Theater. In addition, everyone is invited to stay after each performance for a question-and-answer session with the cast and directors. OCM will continue its tradition of champagne on opening night for all ticket holders.
Tickets are $40 for the front two rows, $45 for the orchestra section, and $50 for the balcony, available at, by calling the THT box office Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. 382-9222, or at the door if available.
The Friends of the Vergennes Opera House officially kick off the 2015-2016 season with an amazing evening of soulful blues, lively jazz and mesmerizing musical talent when Downtown Bob Stannard and Those Dangerous Bluesmen take the to the Vergennes Opera House stage along with special guests Dwight Ritcher & Nicole Nelson on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m.
Nelson garnered a four-chair turnaround while a contestant on the TV show “The Voice” a few years back, and together with her partner Dwight Ritcher, they will fill the opera house with impassioned blues and soul.
Bob Stannard, a stellar harmonica players and well-known bluesman, known for his outrageous outfits and high-energy performances, is joined on stage by his talent-packed band, the Dangerous Bluesmen. Their infectious energy and music is hard to resist.
Tickets are  $15, available at Classic Stitching and online at The doors, and cash bar by Bar Antidote, open at 6:30 p.m. For additional information, contact the VOH online at or by calling 877-6737.
Town Hall Theater will continue its mission of providing excellent broadcasts of MET operas live from New York City with “Otello,” beamed live to THT on Saturday, at 1 p.m. There will be a free pre-show talk about “Otello” at 12:15 p.m. in the Byers Studio prior to the broadcast.
Director Bartlett Sher’s new production of Verdi’s masterful “Otello” probes the Moor’s dramatic downfall with an outstanding cast led by Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role, Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona, and Željko Lu?i? as Iago. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.
Often cited as Italian opera’s greatest tragedy, “Otello” is a miraculous union of music and drama, a masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically. Shakespeare’s tale of an outsider, a great hero who can’t control his jealousy, was carefully molded by the librettist Arrigo Boito into a taut and powerful opera text. “Otello” almost wasn’t written: following the success of “Aida” and his setting of the Requiem Mass in the early 1870s, Verdi considered himself retired, and it took Boito and publisher Giulio Ricordi several years to persuade him to take on a major new work.
Tickets are $24 general, $10 students, and may be purchased at, 382-9222, at the THT box office (daily except Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.) and at the door, if available.
When a famous actor takes on the theater’s most famous role, anticipation can be intense. The most talked-about performance in London this season is Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s “Sherlock,” “The Imitation Game,” “Frankenstein”) at the National Theatre in the role of Hamlet.
The excitement has exceeded everyone’s expectations. The entire run of the show sold out minutes after it went on sale, making it the fastest-selling production in London Theatre history.
National Theatre Live will broadcast this eagerly awaited production live at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater at 2 p.m. Thursday, with an encore showing at 7 p.m.
Time Out calls this production of Hamlet “one of the most visually and atmospherically stunning productions I’ve ever seen, of anything, ever.”
Tickets are $17, $10 students and may be purchased at, 382-9222, at the THT box office (daily except Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.) and at the door, if available.
The exciting 2015-2016 Hirschfield International Film Series continues on Saturday at Middlebury College with the 2013 Japanese film, “The Wind Rises,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Academy Award winner Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s greatest animators and directors, draws his final feature with magnificence. The film is inspired by the life of World War II Zero fighter plane designer Jiro Horikoshi, encompassing the great Kanto earthquake of 1923. “Miyazaki is at the peak of his visual craftsmanship here,” says Scott Foundas in Variety.
The film, in Japanese with English subtitles, will be shown at 3 and again at 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on College Stree. It’s free. Some of the films in this series may be inappropriate for children.
There will be a performance, “Until the Golden Tides,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Middlebury College’s dance theater at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.
This is an evening of dance works created and co-curated by Scotty Hardwig (2015-2018 Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance) and Molly Heller (Salt Lake City-based dance artist), who will be in residence this week. For this concert, Hardwig’s new trio work, “Before we mothernaked fall,” explores the poetic processes and expressionist sensibilities of works by Dylan Thomas. Heller will show the East Coast premiere of “This is your Paradise,” a work that challenges and confronts elements of our human existence, such as struggle, resistance, hope and faith; and also a brand new duet.
The performance is free and the public is welcome.
The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Wind Quintet will perform a Halloween Family Concert at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
This hour-long, kid-friendly program starts out with several spooky selections, including “March of the Marionettes” and an abbreviated version of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Then VSO musicians (Anne Janson, flute; Katie Oprea, oboe; Betsy LeBlanc, clarinet; Becky Eldredge, bassoon; and Alan Parshley, French horn) are joined by narrator Peter Hamlin for a dramatic and amusing piece by Maddy Aldis-Evans called “The Witch and the Winds.” Come-in-costume-treats provided. Presented with KidsVT.
Tickets $8 adults, $6 kids and seniors, $24 family pass for four (additional family members $6 each). For additional information, visit or call 443-3168.
There will be two live musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8 p.m. on Friday, the Anthony Santor Jazz Group hits the stage. Considered by many to be the hottest and freshest jazz in town, the Anthony Santor Jazz Group will be playing some very inspired music ranging from hard swinging jazz tunes to selections from the American Song Book and original material.
Then, at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, The Doughboys take to the stage. The Doughboys are a 10-piece ensemble playing a danceable mix of soul music from the 1950s all the way up to today. All ages, no cover. For additional information visit or phone 388-8209.
There will be one live musical performance this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury. Join Two Brothers every Wednesday at 9 p.m. for The Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy, or anything else, alternately hosted by Mark Sikora and Kai Stanley. Come cheer on your friends or let loose on the stage. It’s free to enter and there is no cover charge. For additional information, call 388-0002.
There will be a performance, “Ten Strings,” by Dayve Huckett and Art DeQuasie at 8 p.m. on Friday in Robison Hall (Concert Hall) at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. Affiliate artist Dayve Huckett is joined by bassist Art DeQuasie for a collaborative concert that blends their different musical backgrounds. Enjoy an eclectic mix of old and new music, played with a distinctly casual vibe. It’s free.

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