Arts Beat: Town Hall Theater hosts live broadcast of ‘Madama Butterfly’

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” will be broadcast live from The Metropolitan Opera at Town Hall Theater on Saturday, at 1 p.m.
The title character of “Madama Butterfly” — a young Japanese geisha who clings to the belief that her arrangement with a visiting American naval officer is a loving and permanent marriage — is one of the defining roles in opera. The story triggers ideas about cultural and sexual imperialism for people far removed from the opera house. The lyric beauty of Puccini’s score, especially the music for the thoroughly believable lead role, has made “Butterfly” timeless.
Anthony Minghella’s breathtaking production has thrilled audiences ever since its premiere in 2006. Kristine Opolais reprises her acclaimed portrayal of the title role, opposite Roberto Alagna as Pinkerton, the naval officer who breaks Butterfly’s heart. Ana María Martínez, Latonia Moore, Roberto De Biasio and Gwyn Hughes Jones star in a second set of performances. Karel Mark Chichon conducts.
Tickets are $24/$10 and may be purchased at townhalltheater.org, by calling 382-9222 or in person at the THT box office Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. There will be a free pre-show talk in the Byers Studio at 12:15 p.m. courtesy of the Opera Company of Middlebury. Refreshments will be provided.
The Ripton Community Coffee House, a nonprofit community concert series, welcomes Harpeth Rising at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Ripton Community House in Ripton.
Harpeth Rising is three women: Jordana Greenberg (violin, vocals), Rebecca Reed-Lunn (banjo, vocals) and Maria Di Meglio (cello, vocals). Unapologetic genre-benders, they fuse folk, newgrass, rock and classical into a sound that is organically unique.
Hallmarks of their music include expansive three-part harmonies, consummate musicianship and a deft yet soulful lyrical perspective. Harpeth Rising’s roots run deep — from their varied ancestry across Eastern Europe to the musical hotbed of the mid-South they now call home, they weave together ancient and modern ideas, creating a sound that is both familiar and impossible to categorize.
Harpeth Rising’s latest album, “Shifted,” debuted at No. 1 on the Folk DJ Charts in August 2015. The album’s opening track, “I Am Eve (I Am the Reason),” also debuted as the No. 1 song on the same chart. FATEA Magazine has called the album “truly resplendent.”
As always, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with an open-mike set, followed by the featured performers. Open-mike performers are encouraged to call in advance and reserve one of the four open-mike slots.
Admission to the coffeehouse is $3 for kids (12 and under), $10 general admission and $15 generous admission. The economically challenged may pay what they can afford. The coffeehouse is held on the first Saturday of each month, except August. For more information, contact Richard Ruane or Andrea Chesman at 388-9782.
Brandon Music is excited to bring back brothers Sam and Zack DuPont, this time with some of their friends. The Vermont-made folk-Americana duo performs on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Their lush finger-style guitar work is complimented by elegant prose and a vocal blend that could only be matched by blood relation. Since 2013, the brothers have managed to play over 400 shows, covering 50,000 tour miles throughout the U.S. Versatile songwriting modes, blood harmonies and fingerstyle guitar arrangements have opened doors to support a wide variety of national acts including Grace Potter, Sturgill Simpson, Bahamas, Jerry Douglas, Langhorne Slim and many more.
“Together the DuPont Brothers resonate at just the right frequency. There were moments that honestly gave me chills,” says Dan Bolles in Seven Days.
Tickets are $20. A pre-concert dinner is also available for $20. Reservations are recommended for the show and required for dinner. Venue is BYOB. Call 247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information.
Before Amy Poehler became famous on “Saturday Night Live,” she honed her skills in an improvisational theater group that she founded: The Upright Citizens Brigade. The company, which now ranks with Second City in Chicago as a training ground for America’s funniest talent, comes to Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater on Friday at 8 p.m.
Upright Citizens Brigade performs a night of provocative sketch comedy and absurd, invented-in-the-spot improv. This year’s cast is handpicked from the best improv comedians in the country.
“It’s going to be a side-splitting night of comedy and it’s on April Fool’s Day, too. What perfect timing,” says THT Operations Manager Haley Rice. “This group is full of funny folk who will undoubtedly supply a night of hilarity, on the spot and off the cuff. It’s the perfect date night, too.”
The opening act will be Middlebury College’s own improv group, Middlebrow. 
Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at townhalltheater.org, by calling 382-9222 or in person at the THT box office Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
A new exhibit of works by Judith Reilly, “The Girl with the Purple Hair: A Retrospective,” opens on Friday at the Compass Music and Arts Center in Brandon.
The exhibit presents Reilly’s work as she has seen it develop through each chapter and side road of her career. An opening reception will be held on Friday from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Reilly’s work has been shown in national and international exhibitions as well as in government offices. Her quilts have received awards in several competitions internationally and across the U.S. Articles about the artist and images of her work have been published in books and magazines. She maintains a gallery in her home in Brandon.
The exhibit, which runs through May 30, is free. Compass Music and Arts Center is located at Park Village, 333 Jones Drive, Brandon. For more information, visit cmacvt.org.
The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival continues its 2016 Winter Screening Series at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury with “What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy” at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Best described as a poignant, thought-provoking account of friendship and the toll of inherited guilt, the film explores the relationship between two men, each of whom are the children of high-ranking Nazi officials and who possess starkly contrasting attitudes toward their fathers. “What Our Fathers Did” offers its viewers a deeper understanding of the legacy of profound injustice.
Tickets for the 2016 MNFF Winter Screening Series at Town Hall Theater are $12 for each film. Tickets are available through the THT box office online, townhalltheater.org, on the phone 382-9222, or in person, either in advance, Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., or the night of the screening.
There will be three live musical performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury.
Join Two Brothers Friday at 6 p.m. for the Starline Rhythm Boys. These cool cats play an authentic mix of rockabilly and country that’ll make you feel like you’re in a Texas juke joint. Two Brothers is pleased to have them back for a special dinner-hour performance. Reservations and walk-ins are welcome. The entry fee is $3.
Then at 9 p.m. on Friday, Two Brothers presents Let’s Be Leonard, a five-piece rock-and-roll jam act out of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. With three-plus hours of original music under their belts, every show promises something different. There is a $3 cover.
Finally, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Twist of Fate takes to the tavern’s stage for the first time. This Vergennes-based band is sure to provide you with the rock fix you’re searching for. There is a $3 cover. For more information, call 388-0002.
The Mud Season Music Series continues on Friday at Lincoln Peak Vineyard with a performance by Caleb Elder and Brett Hughes, at 7:30 p.m.
Elder and Hughes play bluegrass duets, old-time fiddle tunes, and some of Hughes’ originals in that same down-home style. Elder, a wizard on the fiddle, has played in many local bands including the Cleary Brothers Band, Michael Chorney’s Magic City and Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown Orchestra. Hughes is an in-demand musical collaborator in Vermont and beyond, and a writer of beautiful (and some haunting) songs. He is a master of the heartbroken harmony and the honkytonk throw-down.
Admission is free. Doors open at 7 p.m. A selection of Vermont cheeses will be available. Wine is sold by the glass. More information is at lincolnpeakvineyard.com.

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