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Arts in New England

New England’s 35 can’t-miss arts events of the season

Globe critics and writers pick highly anticipated shows in theater, music, and more.

David Smith, “Circle IV,” 1962.Clark Art Institute


By Sebastian Smee

Olafur Eliasson

Visit the Hall Art Foundation, a new museum in pastoral Reading, Vermont, for a survey of works by the Danish-Icelandic artist, who puts air quotes around nature even as he makes you wonder at it afresh. Includes works on paper, optical devices, sculptures, photos, and a major new outdoor installation, Waterfall, constructed with scaffolding and pumps.

> May 3-November 30

212-256-0057; hallartfoundation.org

“Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take”

This survey at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art looks at the 25-year career of the New York-based installation artist, who has said that when he started out he wanted to sit between Yoko Ono and Richard Tuttle on the bus of art history. Hodges makes poetic, fragile works in a variety of media, from colored cloth to pencil, gold leaf and ink. It’s conceptual art with a human face.


> June 4-September 1

617-478-3100; icaboston.org

A Grand Opening

A long-term, multiphase renovation and building project at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown culminates July 4 with a full-scale relaunch. The Clark’s great, Impressionist-heavy collection will be back on display after a world tour. A new building designed by Tadao Ando will complement a vastly improved campus, with everything from new dining options to longer walking trails.

> 413-458-2303; clarkart.edu

“The Unknown Hopper”

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge presents a comprehensive survey of the great American realist Edward Hopper’s little-known 20-year career as a producer of cover and story illustrations for periodicals such as Country Gentleman, Scribner’s Magazine, and Hotel Management. Hopper followed the example of painter mentors such as Robert Henri, who also dabbled in commercial work.

> June 7-October 26

413-298-4100; nrm.org

Thomas Moran, "Fiercely the red sun descending/Burned his way along the heavens,” 1875-1876. North Carolina State Art Society/Thomas Moran, "Fiercely the red

“Turner & the Sea”

J.M.W. Turner’s vision of the sea as a stage fit for stirring drama gets extended treatment in this show organized by the National Maritime Museum in London. And what a stage! Streaming skies, indigo cloud banks suffused with orange light, and luminous fog drifts — the great painter gives us the full treatment in what promises to be a memorable show at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum.


>May 31-September 1

866-745-1876; pem.org



By Sarah Rodman

Boston Calling

In just its second year, this biannual festival has become a must-attend event for lovers of all things contemporary pop and indie rock. The spring lineup at City Hall Plaza includes well-known names like The Decemberists and Jack Johnson, as well as newer artists such as Bastille and Kurt Vile.

> May 23-25

800-745-3000; bostoncalling.com

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, and Guests

Three generations of undeniably great country music makers — rising star Musgraves, bluegrass-roots virtuosos Krauss and Union Station, and bona fide legend Nelson — gather at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on June 17 for what should be one serious hootenanny.

> 800-745-3000; livenation.com

New Orleans funkateer Trombone Shorty.

Green River Festival

Head west for this annual festival held on the grounds of Greenfield Community College. The list of artists includes New Orleans funkateer Trombone Shorty, infectious indie popsters Lucius, and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band. > July 12-13

877-987-6487; greenriverfestival.com

Newport Folk Festival

The Folk Festival, like its jazz sibling in August, always offers an embarrassment of riches. The folk fest, held at Fort Adams State Park, boasts a lineup that includes soul great Mavis Staples, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and newly reunited Nickel Creek.


> July 25-27

800-745-3000; newportfolk.org

Boston Summer Arts Weekend

For the third year in a row the Globe, WGBH, and Citizens Bank are hosting a free fiesta in Copley Square. The diverse slate of performers announced thus far includes legendary jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, rockers Los Lobos, flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook, and classical music from the Handel and Haydn Society.

> July 26-27




By Don Aucoin

The Granite State

The Peterborough Players in New Hampshire stage the world premiere of a comedy by Charles Morey about a reclusive novelist who wins a lucrative literary prize and is promptly beset by ex-wives and other complications.

> July 23-August 3

603-924-7585; peterboroughplayers.org

Andrea Martin

Host-pianist Seth Rudetsky has proven adept at coaxing backstage stories out of big-name guests, between songs, in his “Broadway @ the Art House’’ series. Here’s hoping that at the Art House in Provincetown he can get Martin to reveal the secret of how, in her mid-60s, she was able to belt out “No Time at All’’ in Pippin while swinging on a trapeze.

> June 28-29

800-838-3006; ptownarthouse.com

I am a Camera

A production of a seldom-seen early-1950s drama (later musicalized as Cabaret) is being presented as a tribute to the late Julie Harris by the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, which named its stage after her. Harris won the first of her six Tonys for her Broadway portrayal of the avid young nightclub singer Sally Bowles.


> June 26-July 19

508-349-9428; what.org

The Visit

Song-and-dance legend Chita Rivera stars in a Williamstown Theatre Festival production of the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Terrence McNally musical about a wealthy woman who returns to her downtrodden hometown with an offer of financial salvation. But there’s a condition that has dire implications for her ex-lover, played by Roger Rees.

> July 31-August 17

413-597-3400; wtfestival.org

Astro Boy and the God of Comics

Animation, video, puppetry, and rapid-fire sketching will combine for the New England premiere of Natsu Onoda Power’s romp through the life of Osamu Tezuka, the Japanese creator of Astro Boy, a winsome robot who battled the forces of evil. It’s by Company One Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts.

> July 18-August 16

617-933-8600; companyone.org



By Kate Tuttle

Summer Book Sale

Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut, hosts the 54th annual mother of all library sales, featuring 140,000 books, along with records and CDs, DVDs, and a variety of refreshments. The sale begins at 9 a.m. July 25 and continues until 2 p.m. July 29, with prices falling each day ($5 per bag of books the final day!).

> 203-259-0346; pequotlibrary.org


Come for three days of peace and reading in the Green Mountain State’s idyllic Woodstock Village. The Bookstock Literary Festival, running July 25 through 27, features free readings and panels and a giant book sale. There will be food, music, and kids’ activities as well.


> bookstockvt.org

Nantucket Book Festival

Join local fave Elin Hilderbrand, novelists Ben Fountain and Alice Hoffman, and dozens of other writers for this lively festival between June 20 and 22. Events of note include Saturday’s convivial “Authors in Bars” drop-in meet-ups (drinks are on you) and a ticketed Sunday brunch with mega best-selling author Jodi Picoult.

> 508-919-6230; nantucketbookfestival.org

Eric Carle. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff/file

Eric Carle

On May 24, author and illustrator Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many other children’s classics, will be signing books at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst.

> 413-658-1100; carlemuseum.org

Margaret Atwood

Harvard University’s 22d ARTS FIRST Festival, a four-day celebration of student creativity, begins with a literary bang. Versatile, outspoken Canadian author Margaret Atwood will receive the Harvard Arts Medal — an honor previously bestowed upon masters such as John Updike and Yo-Yo Ma — in a ceremony at 4 p.m. on May 1 in Sanders Theatre. Admission is free but tickets are required.

> 617-496-2222; boxoffice.harvard.edu



By Jeremy Eichler

Rockport Chamber Music Festival

Every June, the classical momentum shifts to Cape Ann for this festival, which convenes concerts in the Shalin Liu Performance Center overlooking Sandy Bay. This summer’s program is particularly robust in the string quartet department, with the Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet bringing a meaty Shostakovich-and-Schubert opening-night program on June 6, followed in later weeks by the Shanghai and the Calder quartets among many others.

> Through July 13

978-546-7391; rockportmusic.org

Acis and Galatea

The celebrated choreographer and director Mark Morris has now set his sights on Handel’s great pastoral opera, in its 1788 arrangement by Mozart. This new production arrives at Boston’s Shubert Theatre with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Handel and Haydn Society, and Thomas Cooley and Sherezade Panthaki taking up the title roles.

> May 15-18

866-348-9738; celebrityseries.org

Tanglewood: Koussevitzky Music Shed

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s season opens in the Berkshires July 5 with soprano Renee Fleming in a genre-hopping program. The BSO’s incoming music director Andris Nelsons leads the first of his four concerts on July 11, and Bramwell Tovey conducts a full concert performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide on August 16.

> 617-266-1200; bso.org

Tanglewood: Ozawa Hall

While the Shed hosts the BSO’s populist fare, Ozawa Hall is home to the other Tanglewood: chamber music, visiting orchestras, and adventurous student concerts. The BSO celebrates the 20th anniversary of the hall with a diverse slate of promising programs, including medieval music, Baroque and modern opera, new music, and lots more.

> July 1-August 24

617-266-1200; bso.org

Borromeo String Quartet. eli akerstein/Photo Credit: Eli Akerstein (ple

Complete Bartok String Quartets

Bela Bartok’s iconic set of six string quartets resides at the dark heart of 20th-century chamber music, but these works, with their combustible mixture of Romanticism and folk-inflected Modernism, can test the endurance of any ensemble. In this rare marathon survey, at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, the Borromeo String Quartet traverses the complete cycle in a single evening, starting at 7 on May 14. It’s free.

617-585-1260; necmusic.edu



By Peter Keough

27th Connecticut LGBT Film Festival

Much credit for recent advances in LGBT rights must go to filmmakers such as those showcased in this longstanding, enlightening, and exhilarating festival, which largely takes place at Cinestudio theater on the Trinity College campus in Hartford.

> May 30-June 7

860-586-1136; outfilmct.org

Provincetown International Film Festival

Few artists have enjoyed gazing into the abyss as much as David Cronenberg, this year’s recipient of PIFF’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award. He’s expected to present his new film Maps to the Stars, which would prove a serendipitous counterpart to the must-see The Fault in Our Stars, featuring rising name Shailene Woodley (Divergent).

> June 18-22

508-487-3456; ptownfilmfest.org

The Boston International Children’s Film Festival

Tear the kids away from their iPads and treat them to the best in children’s films at the Museum of Fine Arts, projected, as they should be, on the big screen. Look for France’s cyborg romance Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart, and who could resist a series of shorts titled “Heebie Jeebies: Spooky, Freaky, Bizarre”?

> May 9-25

800-440-6975; mfa.org/programs/film

Maine International Film Festival

This festival screens more than 100 films from around the world and features appearances by 50 or so of the filmmakers. One will be receiving the MIFF Mid-Life Achievement Award, which in the past has been presented to greats such as Thelma Schoonmaker and Terrence Malick.

> July 11-20

207-861-8138; miff.org

Rhode Island School of Design Film/Animation/Video Festival

RISD grads range from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to New Yorker-profiled “video-art visionary” Ryan Trecartin. Chances are that someone who will achieve equal stature is among the 47 seniors whose works are featured in this show. Funny, beautiful, transgressive, and profound, these are the images of the future.

> May 13-18

For tickets, e-mail rpaiva@risd.edu.



By Karen Campbell

Bates Dance Festival

This year’s lively installment, at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, will offer performances by Prometheus Dance (July 11-12), Camille A. Brown & Dancers (July 17 and 19), and David Dorfman Dance (July 25-26). Dorfman’s Come, And Back Again features poetry and live indie, punk, and folk rock.

> 207-786-6381;


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The company makes its 44th Boston appearance with three Ailey/Duke Ellington programs and two nights featuring the Boston premiere of a new commission by firebrand Aszure Barton, along with Wayne McGregor’s Chroma and Bill T. Jones’s luminous D-Man in the Waters (Part I) at Citi Wang Theatre. May 1-4

> 866-348-9738; celebrityseries.org

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.Christopher Duggan/CHRISTOPHER DUGGAN

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

If you can make only one Berkshire visit this summer, make it in the second half of July. You can catch the mini-festival celebrations for the Mark Morris Dance Group (July 23-27) as well as a world premiere show with live music by innovative tap artist Michelle Dorrance and her company (July 16-27).

> 413-243-0745; jacobspillow.org

Le Grand Continental

The Celebrity Series’ 75th anniversary season finale amasses roughly 150 participants for three performances in Boston’s Copley Square of this lively outdoor dance extravaganza created by Montreal-based choreographer Sylvain Emard. It’s line dancing on steroids.

> May 16-18.

617-482-6661; celebrityseries.org

Boston Ballet

The company ends its landmark 50th season at the Boston Opera House with two programs that showcase impressive depth and versatility. Pricked (May 8-18) is highlighted by American premieres by Czech choreographer Petr Zuska and Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman. Jewels (May 22-June 1) revisits Balanchine’s extraordinary three-part ballet evoking traditions from Paris, St. Petersburg, and New York.

> 617-695-6955; bostonballet.org

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