CV Arts Preview

Burlington Choral Society, directed by Richard Riley, sings of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, April 13 in Burlington and April 14 in Montpelier.

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Burlington Choral Society

MONTPELIER – In two performances of its spring program, the Burlington Choral Society presents music for Lent and Easter that moves from tragic to festive.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at College Street Congregational Church in Burlington, and at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, the BCS features English composer Bob Chilcott’s new setting of the St. John Passion. It spans an enormous expressive range in telling the story of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion, according to St. John’s gospel. This will be its first Vermont performance.

The chorus plays the crowd with its raucous outbursts in the Passion narrative, but its main role is singing the simple, melodic meditations and lyrical hymns that Chilcott weaves into the story.

The story continues with Renaissance composer John Taverner’s ethereal Dum Transisset Sabbatum, which describes sunrise on the Sunday after the Crucifixion. The concert ends with Pietro Mascagni’s exultant Easter hymn from his opera “Cavalleria Rusticana.”

Artistic Director Richard Riley leads the chorus and guest artists, tenor Adam Hall (John the Evangelist), bass-baritone Matt Sullivan (Jesus), baritone David Neiweem (Pontius Pilate) and soprano Chayah Lichtig. Jenny Bower performs on organ, with Elizabeth Reid, viola; Perri Morris, cello; Jason Whitcomb and a second trumpeter to be announced; Joy Worland, horn; Lori Salimando-Porter, trombone; and William Keck, tuba.

Riley says, “We’re calling this concert ‘Sunset, Sunrise’ because we’ll take our audience on a dramatic musical passage from darkness to light.”

Prices are $25, $20 for students; call the Flynn Regional Box Office, 802-863-5966, or go online to

Bread & Puppet returns

BARRE – The bewildering, beguiling, and downright funny implications of diagonality will spring to life when the internationally acclaimed Bread & Puppet Theater returns for its annual performance at Barre’s Old Labor Hall, at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 14, with “Diagonal Man: Theory and Praxis.”

Featuring song, dance, magic, and stunning cardboard and papier-maché puppets, “Diagonal Man,” according to Bread and Puppet, “presents the diagonal as a potent and promising opposition to the dominating verticality of our culture.” Modern Westerners experience verticality everywhere: in the architecture of cities, in ladders of success, and in “the incessant wakefulness required of us, postponing the horizontal pleasures of sleep.”

“Puppeteers,” the theater adds, “long ago realized that the most aesthetically radical movements for puppets are diagonals, because these movements cannot be sustained by human actors or dancers for more than a moment.”

Founded in 1963 on New York City’s Lower East Side, Bread & Puppet has become a Vermont institution since moving to Goddard College in Plainfield and then to Glover, in the early 1970s. In keeping with tradition, the performance will be followed by Bread and Puppet’s famous free sourdough rye bread with aioli butter and the Old Labor Hall’s delicious soup.

Admission is $10-$25 by sliding scale (no one will be turned away for lack of funds) at the door. For information, call 802-479-5600, or email

Fraser & Haas

EAST MONTPELIER – At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, The Old Meeting House will again present renowned folk duo Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas to central Vermont audiences.

The musical partnership between fiddler Fraser and California cellist Haas spans the full spectrum between intimate chamber music and ecstatic dance energy. Over the last 18 years of creating a buzz at festivals and concert halls across the world, they have set the standard for fiddle and cello in traditional music. They continue to win audiences internationally with their virtuosic playing, their near-telepathic understanding and the joyful spontaneity and sheer physical presence of their music.

Tickets are $25, $20 in advance, $50 for a family of four; go online to The Old Meeting House is located at 1620 Center Road.

The Seldom Scene

RANDOLPH – The Seldom Scene have been a revered fixture on the bluegrass music circuit for well over 40 years. Pioneers of a progressive bluegrass sound that has drawn both longtime fans and passionate new audiences to the music, The Seldom Scene returns to Vermont for a concert at the Chandler Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 12.

High-spirited performances by The Seldom Scene feature a mix of bluegrass-inflected country, rock and pop hits, spanning the spectrum from the music of The Beatles and The Band to songs penned by such great song crafters as J.J. Cale, Gordon Lightfoot, and the Everly Brothers. They stir up a heady musical stew at each and every show, tossing in a range of traditional bluegrass favorites along with a host of ‘grass-flavored contemporary songs.

Today’s Seldom Scene features Dudley Connell (guitar, vocals), Lou Reid (mandolin, vocals), Ronnie Simpkins (bass, vocals), Fred Travers (dobro, vocals), and Ron Stewart (banjo, fiddle).

For tickets or information, call 802-728-6464 or go online to

Handel’s ‘Semele’

HANOVER, N.H. – A delicious new production of “Handel’s sexiest opera” makes its American premiere at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, as part of a seven-venue tour that takes it to Paris, London and other U.S. and U.K. locations, including New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“Semele” will be performed by renowned early-music orchestra English Concert, led by Artistic Director Harry Bicket, with vocal soloists from the top ranks of Baroque music and the ample choral parts sung by New York’s Grammy-nominated Clarion Choir, directed by Steven Fox, Dartmouth class of 2000.

Dubbed “Handel’s sexiest opera” by renowned early-music conductor John Gardiner, “Semele” tells a tale of Greek gods, goddesses, lust and revenge. The story unfurls with irresistible theatricality and color in a stream of easy-flowing melodies, dazzling coloratura and risqué language (the libretto was drawn from a 1706 work by Restoration playwright William Congreve, based on one of the more salacious passages of Ovid’s Metamorphoses).

Tickets are $40-$70, $20 for 18 and younger; call 603-646-2422, or go online to

Call for art

RANDOLPH – This Chandler Gallery’s annual open-call community exhibit features artists who respond to the universal creative impulse using various methods of artistic expressions. The open-ended theme “Eye-Catching” can be interpreted representationally or symbolically: What makes you really look?

Area artists with diverse backgrounds and levels of experience are invited to submit their 2-D and 3-D art in all media: drawing, painting, printing, illustration, photography, digital art, sculpture, video, mixed media, and decorative art (textiles and material, glass, wood, metal, ceramics, mosaic, paper or other techniques).

For details, go online to

Networking ‘mashup’

ESSEX JUNCTION – Chittenden County artists and members of the creative sector are invited to a Vermont Creative Network “mashup” event highlighting opportunities to work together for improvement of the creative sector in the region, 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 11, at Darkroom Gallery, 12 Main St.

Presented by the Chittenden County Zone of the Vermont Creative Network and hosted by Kristin Humbargar, founder of the Essex Hub co-working spaces, the free mashup brings together local hospitality and lightning presentations, including the reveal of an upcoming statewide creative sector strategic planning initiative facilitated by the Vermont Creative Network.

Lightning round speakers include Wendy Knight, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism; Amy Cunningham, deputy director of the Vermont Arts Council; Jane Adams; and Ken Signorello, founder and director of Darkroom Gallery.

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