New Haven's International Arts Festival: What's Hot This Year?

"But we remain committed to the free programming that we do," she says. "More than 80 percent of the festival events are free and there's a low price point to many of the ticketed events."

Free On New Haven Green

Opening night of the festival on Saturday, June 15 kicks off with a free concert on the New Haven Green by Grammy-winning soul and R&B vocalist AARON NEVILLE. Prior to the7 p.m. concert at 6:30 p.m. the annual Governor's Arts Awards will be presented to three arts academics: Poet, essayist and playwright Elizabeth Alexander, chairwoman of the African-American studies department at Yale University; saxophonist, composer and bandleader Jimmy Greene, assistant professor of music and assistant coordinator of jazz studies at Western Connecticut State University; artist and academic Olu Oguibe, professor of art and art history and associate director of the Institute of African American Studies at the University of Connecticut.

For all Green concerts there are $10 chair rentals available. Premium seating at a cost is also available. All Green shows start at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, June 16 with Tucson-based country-Latin band CALEXICO and its opening act, Afro-Peruvian singer-songwriter SUSANNA BACA.

On the following weekend, the KRONOS QUARTET with special guest WU MAN will perform on Saturday, June 22. At the concert, the 40-year-old ensemble will be introducing its newest member: cellist Sunny Jungin Yang.

On Sunday, June 23, the Chicago-based FUNKADESI blending Indian music — bhangra, Bollywood and Indian folk — with Afro-Caribbean sounds, will play on the Green.

On the festival's last night, Saturday, June 29, Ethiopia's DEBO BAND with FENDIKA will perform.

There will also be a wide variety of entertainers giving free performances and family-friendly activities during day on the Green. There will also be a pizza fest on June 20, 21, 27 and 28 from noon to 2 p.m.

Theater & Opera

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM runs Saturday, June 15 to Sunday, June 23 at the University Theatre, 222 York St. New Haven. Running time is nearly three hours, recommended for ages 12 and above. Performances are both Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.; both Sundays at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, June 18 at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 19 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $95, reserved seating. Student, youth and senior discounts available. Reserved seating. Tickets at 203-562-5666 or 888-736-2663 (ticket fees) or in person at the Shubert Theater, 247 College St.

FREEWHEELERS runs Saturday, June 15 to Saturday, June 29 at the former Horowitz Brothers department store, 760 Chapel St. The show is "a spectacle of song, movement and storytelling" by the New Haven-based site-specific Broken Umbrella Theatre. The work centers on the 1866 New Haven patent of the bicycle and the opening that year of a corset factory. Tickets are $35 and pay-what-you-wish. The show runs 90 minutes. The show's pre-performance experience begins a half-hour before each show time. Please arrive 10 minutes before the start time. There will be no late seating.

MY FRIEND'S STORY runs Wednesday, June 19 and Thursday, June 20, both at 8 p.m., at the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St. Composer Martin Bresnick, librettist and poet J.D. McClatchy and director David Chambers — New Haveners all — collaborate on a new chamber opera, based on the short story by Chekhov, "Terror." Tickets are $35 and $45. General admission.

STUCK ELEVATOR runs Thursday, June 20 to Saturday, June 29 at Long Wharf Theatre's Stage II, 222 Sargent Drive. The "comic-rap-scrap metal musical," is a co-production with the festival and Long Wharf Theatre. The show, with music by Byron Au Yong, libretto by New Haven native Aaron Jafferis and direction by Chay Yew. The show, starring Francis Jue, centers on the real-life experience of a Chinese restaurant delivery man trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. Running time is 81 minutes. June 20 and 21 at 8 p.m.; June 22 at 2 and 8 p.m.; June 23 sat 2 p.m.; June 25 at 8 p.m.; June 26 at 2 and 8 p.m.; June 27 and 28 at 8 p.m.; June 29 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $45. Reserved seating.

THE QUIET VOLUME runs is Tuesday June 18 to Friday, June 28 at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Reading Room, 121 Wall St. Created by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells, the event is an intimate, and highly unusual one-hour performance "about books, reading, and the communal experience of the library." Two audience members will sit side by side wearing headphones, in the Reading Room at the Beinecke. Each half hour, readers will take cues both written and whispered in their ears. Advanced reservations are required. Tickets are $25. June 18 to 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; June 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; June 25 to 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 5;30 p.m.; June 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATER: There will also be staged readings of two new works in progress from the Yale Institute for Music Theatre: "Mrs. Hughes" and "The Last Queen of Canaan," both on Saturday, June 15. and Sunday, June 16 , 1 and 5 p.m. both days, at the Off Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway (entrance behind Toad's Place on York Street). Running time is approximately two hours. $20 general admission.

L'HOME CIRQUE: Throughout the run of the festival David Dimitri of "L'homme Cirque" will present his one-man circus act on the New Haven Green. He kicks off the run Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16 at 1 and 5 p.m. and follows it at various times throughout the festival. The show runs about one hour. Tickets are $35. General admission. (A select number of tickets for each performance will be avaiklable as a pay-what-you-wish basis, beginning one hour before the show on a first-come, first-served basis, one ticket per person.)

SEQUENCE 8 will run Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 29 at 2 p.m. at the Shubert Theater, 247 College St. Canada's Les 7 Doigts de la main (7 Fingers), which presented "Traces" at Hartford's Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in 2011 and staged the circus acts for the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of musical "Pippin," will present the company's latest work. Running time is 90 minutes. Tickets are $20 to $55. Reserved seating.

Dance

COMPAGNIE KAFIG runs Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, both days at 8 p.m., at the Shubert Theater, 247 College St. The company's 11 dancers presents two works — "Correria" and "Agwa." Running time 90 minutes. Tickets are $20 to $55. Reserved seating.