Senior Editor Polly Sparling lists her top picks in January 2010
Jan. 30-Sept. 6: Bird is the word at the New York State Museum this year, where a new exhibit displays the paintings of Louis Agassiz Fuertes: 40 original watercolors used as illustrations in the century-old book Birds of New York. Bringing the striking, fine-feathered friends of our region to life, the paintings and the book, which was produced by the museum, set the standard for ornithology texts. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. • Madison Ave., Albany. 518-474-5877.
Jan. 8: Folk-rock enthusiasts who can’t make it to one of Levon Helm’s legendary, often sold-out Midnight Rambles in Woodstock can catch a performance by the Band’s ex-drummer at Tarrytown Music Hall. Helm’s latest album, Electric Dirt (2009) — the highly anticipated follow-up to his Grammy-winning album Dirt Farmer (2007) — received rave reviews from music critics. Even after surviving a bout with throat cancer in the ’90s, Helm’s warm, southern-style vocals still resonate with the same melodic soul. 8 p.m. $68-$95. •13 Main St., Tarrytown. 877-840-0457.
Jan. 9 & 16: Love opera, but can’t make it to the city? This month, stage meets screen as two popular art centers, the Bardavon Opera House and Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC), will be streaming performances through the Met: Live in HD series. On Jan. 9 UPAC features Der Rosenkavalier, an 18th-century romantic comedy starring soprano Renée Fleming as the aristocratic Marschallin. And on Jan. 16, the Bardavon presents the notorious Carmen, Bizet’s racy drama about sex, violence, and liberation, featuring Angela Gheorghiu (left) as the show’s namesake seductress. Both shows begin at 1 p.m. $22, $15 children. • Bardavon Opera House, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie. • Ulster Performing Arts Center, 601 Broadway, Kingston. 845-473-2072.
Jan. 9-10: What better place to enjoy live classical music than in the rich ambiance of a historic church? Closing out their 15th anniversary season, the Kairos: A Consort of Singers choral group teams up with a live chamber orchestra to present Bach’s “Magnificat” — their final cantata performance of the season — and the complex, seldomly performed “Dixit Dominus” by Handel. The performances will be held on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Reformed Church of New Paltz, and on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Vassar College Chapel. $15, $12 students & seniors. • Reformed Church of New Paltz, 92 Huguenot St., New Paltz. • Vassar College Chapel, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie. 845-256-9114.