Plan getaways around arts festivals

09:51 PM, Jun 08, 2013

Romeo and Juliet is being staged at the Stratford Festival. (David Hou)/


Written By | Staff reports

If you’re willing to take a day or weekend trip, there are plenty of arts festivals and venues within a few hours of Rochester by car.

Follow Rochester City Ballet and Bill Evans Dance to Jacob’s Pillow, the longest-running international dance festival in the nation, on a historic spread in Becket, Mass., in the Berkshires. RCB performs July 19 and Bill Evans on Aug. 22.

Jacob’s Pillow is near the famed Tanglewood arts center, summer home to the Boston Symphony with a full schedule of events throughout the center.

Closer to home, ArtPark in Lewiston, near Niagara Falls, is celebrating its 40th year with several events, including an anniversary concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on July 25, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on June 24, and the Sound of Music from July 11 to 19. Other concert series this summer include shows by REO Speedwagon and Chicago.

The Shaw Festival is through Nov. 3 at Niagara-on-the-Lake, not too far over the Canadian border in Ontario. This year, some critics are questioning whether it is paying enough tribute to George Bernard Shaw’s plays but still recommending it for the quality of its shows. The nod to Shaw is his Major Barbara. Another is a rewrite of Shaw’s Geneva by John Murrell called Peace in Our Time: A Comedy. The big-ticket show this year is Guys and Dolls. Among the other offerings are Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan and Brian Friel’s Faith Healer.

A farther drive into Ontario will take you to the Stratford Festival, which celebrates Shakespeare. Through Oct. 20, the schedule includes the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Othello and Measure for Measure. On the non-Shakespeare playbill are Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Fiddler on the Roof.

In the other direction is the Glimmerglass Festival near Cooperstown, which features opera and American classics. The theme this year is American Romantics, and the schedule includes The Flying Dutchman, Camelot and King for a Day. Special concerts are also planned for the festival, which begins July 6 and runs through Aug. 24, including a Wagner Celebration on Aug. 11. Fenimore Museum and Hyde House in Cooperstown have complementary American Romantics exhibits, Fenimore on Hudson Valley artists and Hyde on American authors such as James Fenimore Cooper and Emily Dickinson.