Arts Beat for April 17: Tchaikovsky opera to be shown at Town Hall Theater

Deborah Warner stages a moving production of “Eugene Onegin” at the Metropolitan Opera, to be broadcast live at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Tchaikovsky’s many moods — tender, grand, melancholy — are all given free rein in “Eugene Onegin.” The opera is based on Pushkin’s iconic verse novel, which re-imagines the Byronic romantic anti-hero as the definitive bored Russian aristocrat caught between convention and ennui. Tchaikovsky, similarly, took Western European operatic forms and transformed them into an authentic and undeniably Russian work.
At the core of the opera is the young girl Tatiana, who grows from a sentimental adolescent into a complete woman in one of the operatic stage’s most convincing character developments.
Anna Netrebko dazzles as Tatiana, and Mariusz Kwiecien and Peter Mattei share the title role. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Lenski, and Robin Ticciati conducts.
Tickets are $24 / $10 for students, and may be purchased at, over the phone at 382-9222 or in person at the THT box office (daily except Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.). A free talk about the opera will be given in the studio on the lower level before the broadcast at 12:15 p.m. (45 minutes before the start time) by Douglas Anderson.
Town Hall Theater and Middlebury Underground present Haitian band Lakou Mizik at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at THT.
Lakou Mizik is a multigenerational collective of Haitian musicians formed in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. The group includes elder legends and rising young talents, united in a mission to honor the healing spirit of their collective culture and communicate a message of pride, strength and hope to their countrymen and the world.
The Guardian calls Lakou Mizik’s first album “a joyous, glad-to-be-alive affair, packed with voices, chants and call-and-response songs, their origins in church choir and street carnival.”
Lakou Mizik’s performance at Town Hall Theater will also include Middlebury’s own Jazz/Latin/Fusion band, Mogani.
Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at, by phone at 382-9222, in person at the THT box office or at the door if available.
The 2016-2017 Hirschfield International Film Series continues on Saturday at Middlebury College with the 2015 UAE/Qatar/Jordan/UK film “Theeb,” directed by Naji Abu Nowar.
The year is 1916. While war rages in the Ottoman Empire, Hussein raises his younger brother Theeb (“Wolf”) in a traditional Bedouin community that is isolated by the vast, unforgiving desert. The brothers’ quiet existence is suddenly interrupted when a British Army officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a water well located along the old pilgrimage route to Mecca. So as not to dishonor his recently deceased father, Hussein agrees to lead them on the long and treacherous journey. The young, mischievous Theeb secretly chases after his brother, but the group soon find themselves trapped amidst threatening terrain riddled with Ottoman mercenaries, Arab revolutionaries, and outcast Bedouin raiders.
The film, in Arabic with English subtitles, will be shown at 3 and again at 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on College Street. It’s free. Some of the films in this series may be inappropriate for children.
Jeremiah McLane and Timothy Cummings will perform at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
McLane and Cummings are an energetic Vermont-based duo who share music deeply rooted in the traditional dance repertoire of Northern Europe and North America. Wielding accordions and bagpipes — and often whistles and piano — they create a beguiling blend which utterly subverts the common stereotypes of their Old World instruments. McLane and Cummings draw from a broad repertoire that includes bourrées from Central France, gavottes from Brittany in Northwestern France, dance tunes from the Scottish Lowland & Border region, and compelling original compositions reflecting North American influences.
Concert tickets are $20. A pre-concert dinner is available for $25. Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB. Call 247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon.
Area favorites Deb Brisson and the Hay Burners will bring their tuneful blend of original songs — including some new material — and favorite covers to a night of live local music with an open dance floor at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater on Friday, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Led by Brisson’s expressive vocals, the Hay Burners are veteran performers whose repertoire ranges from Rock and R&B to Blues and Alt Country, with a CD of original material, “Heart-Shaped Stone,” to their credit. Brisson’s vocals are influenced by Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow, but are all her own.
The evening will feature the twin guitar mastery of Mark Pelletier on Telecaster and Clint Bierman on Gibson, with Brisson on rhythm guitar, Pete Ryan on bass, John Wallace on drums and Doug Wilhelm on congas, harmonica and percussion.
Tickets are $15, and may be purchased at, over the phone at 382-9222 or in person at the THT box office.
Town Hall Theater will broadcast the National Theatre’s production of Tom Stoppard’s early masterpiece, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig star in the brilliantly funny situation comedy, broadcast live from The Old Vic theatre in London. David Leveaux’s new production marks the 50th anniversary of the play that made a young Tom Stoppard’s name overnight.
Against the backdrop of “Hamlet,” two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, take center stage. As the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of Shakespeare’s iconic drama, they become increasingly out of their depth as their version of the story unfolds.
Tickets are $17 / $10 for students, and may be purchased at, over the phone at 382-9222 or in person at the THT box office.
The Vermont Choral Union celebrates 50 years of singing timeless classical a cappella music with a special concert on Friday, at 7:30 p.m., in Robison Hall at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
Directed by Jeff Rehbach, the Choral Union’s 36 singers take flight with soaring a cappella selections from Renaissance times to the present. The program, titled “Wings of Song,” highlights works drawn from five decades of Vermont Choral Union repertoire.
The centerpiece of the program features a dazzling choral suite composed by award-winning composer and Middlebury College graduate Christina Whitten Thomas. She scores the work for eight-part choir and flute, set to poetry by three Vermont writers, including Addison County’s own Jay Parini.
Tickets $12 general admission, available in advance at the college box office,, or at the door. For more information, call Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355 or see
There will be two live musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the 51 Main Blues Jam continues. Dennis Willmott from Left Eye Jump will provide lead guitar, bass and drums and he will back you up or take a break and let you play. All musicians and blues fans are welcome. Everyone will get a chance to play.
Then, at 8 p.m. on Friday, the Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble take to the stage. The college’s swingin’ big band makes its annual spring appearance at 51 Main. The joint is always jumpin’ when the band is in town. Their music is sure to keep fingers snapping and toes tapping. All ages, no cover. For additional information visit or phone 388-8209.
There will be two live performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern located at 86 Main St. 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/no cover charge.
Then, on Friday, the tavern presents Toast for an encore performance at 9 p.m. Toast are local heroes. They’ve been playing Rock ’n’ Roll all their lives, and it’s always a party, so bring your friends. There is a $3 cover charge. For more information, call Two Brothers at 388-0002.
There will be a performance of African music by the Middlebury African Music and Dance Ensemble, Damascus Kafumbe, director, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in Robison Hall at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
This concert showcases the diversity and richness of African music beyond drumming-based practices and highlights the dynamic nature of these traditions. The performance also captures communal-based and interactive processes that serve as the backbone of many African societies. The concert is free, and the public is welcome.
There will be a performance, “The Creative Composer,” by Natasha Koval Paden, at 4 p.m. on Sunday in Robison Hall at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. This will be a recital of selected 19th century pieces, featuring Ferruccio Busoni’s extraordinary piano transcription of Bach’s “Chaconne” for solo violin, and Franz Liszt’s richly creative keyboard rendition of Mendelssohn’s orchestral “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It’s free, and the public is welcome.

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