Big change has arrived at the Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema, and it is a sign that mass marketing does not serve all the public, and the growing need to reflect the tastes of a broader section of the Berkshire’s populace. While most of America is going for mass entertainment, the Little Cinema has opted to specialize, and serve the needs of the intelligent, informed and worldly in its film options.Coming on the heels of its 60th anniversary season, the “little art house of the Berkshires” is entering the next generation of its history with major programming upgrades. These includes a greater selection of films, more showings, the introduction of high definition broadcasts of cultural performances, and the transition to a fully year-round season. Opening Day for the new Little Cinema is this Friday, May 20, with matinee and evening screenings.
Next up As part of Little Cinema’s recently expanded programming, is a newly imagined production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, from Teatro alla Scala in Milan, which will be shown Sunday at 2pm and Tuesday at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 each ($20 for museum members). The running time is 164 minutes plus one intermission, and it is sung in German with English subtitles. Little Cinema shows independent films, plus opera and ballet performances, year-round. Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South Street (Rt. 7) in downtown Pittsfield. For more info, call 413.443.7171 or visit berkshiremuseum.org. Little Cinema is sponsored by Pittsfield Cooperative Bank.
From the Queen of the Night’s pyrotechnic high notes to Papageno’s chirpy birdsongs, The Magic Flute is one of Mozart’s most charming and engaging operas. This celebrated production by artist William Kentridge joyfully bursts onto the stage of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy – and onto the big screen.
Conductor: Roland Böer
Director: William Kentridge
Scenic design: William Kentridge and Sabine Theunissen
Costume design: Greta Goiris
Lighting design: Jennifer Tipton
Video editor: Catherine Meyburgh
Sarastro Günther Groissböck
Tamino Saimir Pirgu
Speaker/ First Priest Detlef Roth
Second Priest Roman Sadnik
Queen of the Night Albina Shagimuratova
Pamina Genia Kühmeier
First Lady Aga Mikolaj
Second Lady Heike Groetzinger
Third Lady Maria Radner
Papagena Ailish Tynan
Papageno Alex Esposito
Monostatos Peter Bronder
First armored man Roman Sadnik
Second armored man Simon Lim
Earlier the cinema wasted no time in showing its new direction, the opening week featured the fascinating film Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about the eccentric and wonderful New York Times social/fashion photographer, as well as a mini-Mozart opera festival with Cosi Fan Tutte from The Royal Opera Covent Garden in London. This is followed by and The Magic Flute from Teatro alla Scala in Milan. A wide array of fine arts programming will follow including lots more opera as well as ballet and dance.
Limited in the past to the summer season, Little Cinema—including the finest in newly released independent cinema as well as high definition broadcasts of exceptional live performances—will now serve the community all year round. The one weekly matinee of old has been expanded to a daily offering at 2 p.m., with one title generally occupying the matinee slot and a different selection shown in the evenings at 8 p.m., plus the Monday matinee. (On rare occasions the schedule is subject to special museum programming; there will be no screenings on May 28 due to Wine Jewels of the World: The Wine Auction at Berkshire Museum, no screenings on May 21 due to a private event, and there will be no matinee screening on June 4 due to the opening of Geckos: Tails to Toepads.)
Fully digital, high definition screenings are also joining the traditional 35mm film screenings.
“In an age when truly great, independent-minded film has fewer and fewer outlets, movie buffs—myself included—have long known Little Cinema as a jewel in the local film scene. Given the consistently high level of programming, many of our patrons consider it a weekly appointment. Now they might make it a twice-a-week appointment! We are delighted to be able to offer two different films each week, plus high definition broadcasts of exceptional opera and ballet performances. We know there is a year-round appetite for this type of programming, and we are delighted to be able to provide it.” – Interim Executive Director Maria Mingalone
An equipment upgrade, including a new high-definition digital projector and enhanced online connectivity, will now allow Little Cinema to screen not one but two carefully chosen, independent film titles each week; this exciting upgrade gets underway on May 20 with a 2 p.m. matinee of Bill Cunningham New York and an 8 p.m. showing of Win Win. Little Cinema is also inaugurating a biweekly series of high definition, digital broadcasts of world class opera and ballet performances, culled from some of the finest performance venues in Europe.
This series begins with the broadcast of two cherished favorites by Mozart: Così fan tutte, from the Royal Opera House in London on May 29 at 2 p.m. and May 31 at 7:30 p.m., and The Magic Flute in a newly conceived production at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, on June 12 at 2 p.m. and June 14 at 7:30 p.m. (Opera and ballet performances continue on a biweekly basis, with matinees on Sunday and evening showings on Tuesday.)
Admission to films at Little Cinema are $8 each for evening showings and $7 for matinees ($6 for any showing for Berkshire Museum members). Tickets to the newly added, high definition broadcasts of opera performances are $25 ($20 for members). Tickets for ballet broadcasts are $20 ($15 for members). Tickets for films are available at the door; tickets for opera and ballet broadcasts are available in advance. Berkshire Museum is located in downtown Pittsfield at 39 South Street (Route 7); schedule updates can be found at www.berkshiremuseum.org. Call 413.443.7171 for more info, advance tickets to opera or ballet broadcasts, or to receive the monthly calendar.
Little Cinema Schedule
Upcoming Little Cinema film screenings include:
Bill Cunningham New York (5/20 at 2 p.m., 5/22 at 2 p.m., 5/24 at 2 p.m., 5/25 at 2 p.m., 5/26 at 2 p.m.)
Win Win (5/20 at 8 p.m., 5/22 at 8 p.m., 5/23 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., 5/24 at 8 p.m., 5/25 at 8 p.m., 5/26 at 8 p.m.)
Of Gods and Men (5/27 at 2 p.m., 6/1 at 2 p.m., 6/2 at 2 p.m.)
In a Better World (5/27 at 8 p.m., 5/29 at 8 p.m., 5/30 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., 5/31 at 2 p.m., 6/1 at 8 p.m., 6/2 at 8 p.m.)
Potiche (6/3 at 2 p.m., 6/5 at 2 p.m., 6/7 at 2 p.m., 6/8 at 2 p.m., 6/9 at 2 p.m.
Double Hour (6/3 at 8 p.m., 6/4 at 8 p.m., 6/5 at 8 p.m., 6/6 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., 6/7 at 8 p.m., 6/8 at 8 p.m., 6/9 at 8 p.m.)
The Princess of Montpensier (6/10 at 2 p.m., 6/11 at 2 p.m., 6/15 at 2 p.m., 6/16 at 2 p.m.)
Meeks Cutoff (6/10 at 8 p.m., 6/11 at 8 p.m., 6/12 at 8 p.m., 6/13 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., 6/14 at 2 p.m., 6/15 at 8 p.m., 6/16 at 8 p.m.,) I Am (6/17 at 2 p.m., 6/18 at 2 p.m., 6/19 at 2 p.m., 6/21 at 2 p.m., 6/22 at 2 p.m., 6/23 at 2 p.m.)
Double feature of Invisible Wings and Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child on 7/16 at 2 p.m.
New Opera and Ballet Schedules
Upcoming high definition, digital broadcasts of opera include:
Così fan tutte (from the Royal Opera House in London) on 5/29 at 2 p.m. and 5/ 31 at 7:30 p.m.
The Magic Flute (at Teatro alla Scala in Milan) on 6/12 at 2 p.m. and 6/14 at 7:30 p.m
The Barber of Seville (from Teatro Regio di Parma in Parma, Italy) on 6/26 at 2 p.m. and 6/28 at 7:30 p.m.
About the Berkshire Museum
Berkshire Museum is the first public museum in Berkshire County, established by Zenas Crane in 1903 as a museum of Art and Natural History. The Museum is located at 39 South Street on Route 7 in Downtown Pittsfield. MC Escher: Seeing the Unseen is open and on view through May 22. Collectors’ Choice: Selections from the Jane and Jay Braus Collection opens May 21 and is on view through October 11. Roberto Juarez: Mural Paintings, 2000-2010 opens June 11 and is on view through September 25. Little Cinema opens May 20 and is open year-round. Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, Aquarium & Touch Tank, Alexander Calder Gallery, and other exhibits are ongoing.