October is here, and an Aladdin's cave of arts and entertainment opportunities spread themselves before the dazzled Critical Eye.
The 2012-13 seasons of performances in Western New York are either already in full swing or on the very precipice of beginning. In past years, the stacks of printed brochures and press kits used to pile up so high they sometimes toppled over. Now nearly all the organizations send their information by email.
The savings, in both money and trees, is obviously great, although the danger is that my electronic mailbox contains well over 500 announcements -they're blinking in at a rate something more than 40 such announcements per day. To my surprise, they even arrive on Sundays.
The beautiful 1891 Fredonia Opera House is one of the many local arts presenters who are beginning their 2012-13 season of exhibits and performances.
Readers have a wide variety of interests, so my selection of which announcements we print is certain to please some folks and to dismay others, but if we waited until everyone is happy, we'd never go to print again, so here is a genuine attempt to offer as many as we can jam in, in as diverse a selection as possible. I hope it helps to make the coming arts season as rich as imagination can grasp.
The 1891 Fredonia Opera House has a wide variety of offerings.
Friday at 8 p.m., lovers of Scottish folk music will want to catch North Sea Gas, which is the name of a Scottish-based folk band which has been performing together for more than 30 years now. Tickets are $15 and $13.
Oct. 19 at 8 p.m., be amazed by the Amazing Kreskin, who claims to read minds and to move physical objects through only the effort of his brain. Tickets are $30 and $28.
Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., see a high definition screening of British director Danny Boyle's production of '' Frankenstein,'' from the stage of the National Theatre of London, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch. Tickets are $15 and $10.
On Nov. 9 at 8 p.m., lovers of the music of the big-band era will want to hear The Music of Benny Goodman, with the Ortner-Robert Trio. Tickets are $15 and $13.
Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., the Opera House makes its annual holiday gift to the community, with a showing of Frank Capra's classic film ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. There is no charge.
In addition, locally opera-starved audiences may share golden hours with the audiences of New York City, as the productions of the Metropolitan Opera House are broadcast live and in high definition. All are on Saturday afternoons, although starting times vary according to the lengths of the individual operas. Tickets are $20, $18 and $15.
Options are these:
Oct. 13, ''L'Elisir D'Amore,'' by Donizetti.
Oct. 27, ''Otello'' by Verdi.
Nov. 10, ''The Tempest'' by Ades.
Dec. 1, ''La Clemenza di Tito,'' by Mozart.
Dec. 8, ''Un Ballo in Maschera'' by Verdi.
Dec. 15, ''Aida'' by Verdi.
Jan. 5, ''Les Troyens'' by Berlioz.
Finally, the opera house presents its regular series of films on most Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7, $6.50 and $5.
For more information or to purchase tickets, phone 679-1891 or visit their website at www.fredopera.org.
Rosch Recital Hall, on the campus of the State University of New York at Fredonia, will be home to the following concerts, which are free of charge and open to the public:
Today at 4 p.m., hear the ANA Ensemble.
Monday at 4 p.m., hear guest clarinettist Andrea Cheeseman.
Tuesday at 8 p.m., hear the Fredonia Wind Quintet.
Violist David Rose performs on Oct. 16 at 8 p.m.
Classical guitarist Craig Einhorn performs Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
The Buffalo and Erie Historical Society will offer an exhibition of the artworks of the late Charles Rohrbach, opening Wednesday and running through Jan. 6, 2013.
There will be an opening exhibit on Wednesday, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. There is no admission charge. For information about the exhibition, or about any of the many lectures, performances, concerts, and other events at the Society, phone them at 873-8944, ext. 301, or visit their website at www.buffalohistory.org.
Chautauqua Institution has released the names of the four literary selections for 2013, of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. The author or someone representing the author will speak on each of the selections, during the 2013 summer season.
The choices are ''What Money Can't Buy'' by Michael J. Sandel, ''The Story of Edgar Sawtelle'' by David Wroblewski, ''Paris: A Love Story,'' by Kati Marton, and ''Immortal Bird,'' by Doron Weber.
''The King's New Court Jester'' is the name of the latest production of ''A Canterbury Feast,'' a medieval style banquet with entertainment, at Erie's Station Dinner Theater, at 4940 Peach St., in Erie. There is one performance, tomorrow, then a new series begins Nov. 2-10.
The performers from the show double as your waiters and waitresses, and interact loudly and often with the members of the audience, as you eat a hearty menu in the manner you would have eaten it during the middle ages. Think "finger food."
Tickets include food and entertainment, and are $35 for the general public, $29 for those age 65 and older and for active members of the U.S. Military, and $23 for those between ages 6 and 11. Purchase them by phoning 814-864-2022 or via their website at canterburyfeast.com.
Shea's Performing Arts Center announces the professional touring company of the Broadway musical ''Jekyll and Hyde,'' which will play in Buffalo, Oct. 30 through Nov. 4. Performing the leading dual roles will be Constantine Maroulis, who has recently completed a three-year run in the Broadway musical ''Rock of Ages.''
Tickets are already on sale. Purchase them at www.sheas.org or by phone at 800-745-3000, or at Ticketmaster outlets. They range in price from $32.50 to $67.50.
The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is approaching the end of their 2012 season of performances. The last scheduled performance will be Oct. 28.
The festival's headliner production of ''Ragtime'' will have its final performance on Oct. 14, barring unexpected extensions. Remember, Oct. 12 is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
Niagara University's excellent theater program has announced their new season of performances:
Oct. 18-22, see "The Rimers of Eldrich," by Lanford Wilson. The play has mature themes and is not for children.
Nov. 8-18, Neil Simon's first farce, "Rumors" will be played. It is also labeled as not for children.
Dec. 6-16, see the satirical, award-winning musical "Urinetown," by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman.
Jan. 8-26, see the university's annual short play festival, in which short works are presented in groups of three, throughout the dates of the running time.
Feb. 14-17, cross the university's campus to the Castellani Art Gallery for performances of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," by Steve Martin.
Feb. 22-24, see a student-directed production of the play "Time Stands Still," by Donald Margulies.
March 21-26, see Moliere's classic "The Learned Ladies," also known by its French title, "Les Femmes Savantes."
April 18-28, enjoy "Into the Woods," by Stephen Sondheim.
Tickets to all straight plays are $8. Tickets to musical shows are $12. There are reduced prices for children. For tickets or information, phone 286-8685 or go their website at theatreniagara.edu. The university is located in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
A few summers past, audiences at Chautauqua Theater Company would have seen actor Seth Numrich on the stage of the Bratton Family Theater, as he was part of the conservatory company there.
This week, Numrich is opening at New York City's Lincoln Center Theater in a major role in "Golden Boy," the play by Clifford Odets about a young man torn between a career as a concert violinist and one as a champion boxer. He comes to the production from a leading role in the award winning "War Horse."
The production opens Nov. 8 and runs through Jan. 20.
The University of Buffalo's Zodiaque Dance Company begins the countdown to their 40th anniversary of performing, with a production running Oct. 17-21 in the Drama Theater, in the Center for the Arts on the university's North Campus.
Tickets are $20 for the general public, and $10 for students and senior citizens. Purchase them in person at the Center for the Arts box office, or by phone at 888-223-6000. The center has a website at www.ubcfa.org. For information about the performance, phone 645-2787.
Oct. 22, the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba performs in the Mainstage Theater, with internationally celebrated piano soloist Ignacio ''Nachito'' Herrera. The performance will include music by Gershwin, Beethoven and Lecuona. Tickets are $37 and $47. Students and children may purchase for $20.
Oct. 24, the public is invited to attend a farewell performance by singer Glenn Campbell at 7:30 p.m. in the Mainstage Theater. Tickets range in price from $47 to $67.
Also at the Center for the Arts, spend an evening with author, comic book creator and comedian Kevin Smith, on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $37.50. The same contact information can be used for all four performances.
Theatre 20, a new company, created in Toronto by Canadian actors and theatrical professionals, will open their season with a production of "Bloodless: The Trial of Burke and Hare." The musical show is based on the real-life, 19th century trial of a pair of ghouls, who sold corpses to medical schools in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Preview performances will be given Oct. 9-11, then the production runs from Oct. 12-28. Performances are recommended for ages 12 and older.
Tickets range in price from $49 to $69. Tickets purchased through phone or computer are subject to a service charge of $7.50 per ticket, plus $3.50 per order.
To purchase, phone 800-462-3333 or go to www.mirvish,com/shows.bloodless.
The company performs at the Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St., in downtown Toronto.
Buffalo's splendid Albright-Knox Art Gallery is currently showing "Decade: Contemporary Collection, 2002-12."
The show features works of art by internationally respected artists which have been added to the gallery's collection during the past 10 years.
Oct. 26-27, there will be a long list of conversations, events and performances, relating to the works in the exhibit. Many of the artists will be present during that weekend.
Works from the gallery's permanent collection will be on display in addition to the special exhibit.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first Friday of each month, closing time is delayed until 10 p.m.
Admission is $12 for the general public, $8 for senior citizens and students, $5 for children between ages 6 and 12, and free for those younger than 6.
The Albright-Knox Gallery is located at 1285 Delaware Ave., in Buffalo. For additional information, phone 882-8700 or visit their website at www.albrightknox.org.
Road Less Travelled Productions presents their annual New Play Workshop Festival. Newly written plays by Western New York authors will be directed by company professionals and read from the stage by actors. Conversations with the playwrights, performing artists and the audience give the writers a sense of how their work has been received.
Admission to all workshops is free and open to the public. Coffee is served. All workshops begin at 7 p.m.
Monday, hear ''God Rocks,'' by Thomas Scrivani. The play envisions a deity with a colorful sense of humor.
Nov. 12, hear ''The Olive Garden,'' by Michael Votta. It is an examination of politics in the academic world.
Nov. 19, they'll present ''Him Who Isn't There,'' an examination of two brothers with an ailing father. It's the work of Darryl Schneider.
Nov. 26, hear ''ReMembering Andy,'' by Susan Fenster, which follows artist Andy Warhol into the afterlife and imagines the conflict between his self-image and his reputation.
Dec. 3, ''Flowers in the Desert'' by Donna Hoke, imagines a couple who have divorced, but who are toying with the idea of getting back together.
At a date TBA, the play ''Tommy Wills'' by company founder Jon Elston, envisions the struggles of a successful televangelist, who finds himself questioning the grim, remorseless God he has made a very good living by projecting at people.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 New Play workshops. Go to the company's website at www.roadlesstravelledproductions.org for additional information.
The company performs in one of the theaters in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, in the Downtown Buffalo Theater District. For reference, the center is directly across Main Street from Shea's Performing Arts Center.
Lovers of Flamenco have two separate opportunities to see women who celebrated as among the greatest dancers of the passionate, Spanish dance style, of all time.
The SONY Centre for the Performing Arts, at 1 Front St., in downtown Toronto presents a performance by Rafaela Carrasco on Oct. 20. Her performance is part of the annual Toronto Flamenco Festival, which this year runs from Oct. 14-20.
March 30 of 2013, enjoy the performance of Maria Pages.
For details about the flamenco festival, see their website at www.TorontoFlamencoFestival.com.
For information about the SONY Centre performances, phone 855-872-7669 or see their website at www.sonycentre.ca.
Area native Karen Volpe, who began lighting up the stage of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown at the tender age of 9, and went on to headline a number of mainstage performances at the State University of New York at Fredonia, will be returning to our area for a brief period in November.
Catch her one-woman show, titled ''The 12 Dates of Christmas,'' at the Fredonia Campus Center, Nov. 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. Nightowls can go to the Saturday performance, and then follow her to the Witch Kitch Restaurant, in Sinclairville, to hear her join up with her brothers to sing their father's favorite country songs in a cabaret-style performance she calls ''Dinner and a Fancy Dress.''
Volpe is currently headlining a production of the musical ''Little Shop of Horrors'' in Los Angeles, where one critic referred to her as ''The Divine Volpe,'' and describes her as ''a showstopper of remarkable versatility.''
I don't have ticket prices or contact information, yet, but if I receive it, you'll be among the first to know. Meanwhile, suspect if you contact the two sites of her coming performances, they'll have more information that I do.
That's all the space I have for now. We'll keep the information flowing, in coming weeks, to the best of our ability.