The latest show from the British director and South African puppeteers of Broadway’s award-winning “War Horse,” a premiere of a chamber opera based on a Chekhov short story, performance by Aaron Neville and the Kronos Quartet and talks by Rosanne Cash and Spike Lee are just a few of the events for the 18th annual International Festival for Arts & Ideas.
The festival will be held June 15 to 29 at indoor and outdoor venues throughout New Haven, kicking off its first night with a free concert on the New Haven Green by a Grammy-winning soul and R&B vocalist, Aaron Neville.
That same night the profile of the annual Governor’s Arts Awards will be raised with this year’s recipients being recognized on the outdoor stage.
Other free Green shows will be on Sunday, June 16 with Tucson-based country-Latin band Calexico and its opening act, Afro-Peruvian singer-songwriter Susana Baca.
On the following weekend, the Kronos Quartet, with special guest Wu Man will perform. The 40-year-old ensemble will be introducing on the June 22 concert its newest member: cellist Sunny Jungin Yang.
On June 23, the Chicago-based multi-ethnic party band Funkadesi will play on the Green. On the festival’s last night June 29 Ethiopia’s Debo Band with Fendika will perform.
The festival will also feature 14 lectures and conversations, dozens of free walking, bike, exhibition and food tours, as well as family events from noon to the evening on the Green.
More than 80 percent of the festival events are free. Tickets go on sale to the public April 16 at www.artidea.org and through the Shubert Theater box office. Tickets are on sale to festival members now. Packages are being created for visitors from around the state and beyond, says festival director Mary Lou Aleskie, some of them tapping into the national and international spotlight on the Yale Art Gallery expansion.
Beginning June 15 and running through June 23 will be the Bristol Old Vic/Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa’s production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the University Theatre. Tom Morris, who directed “War Horse” will stage the new adaptation and his first collaboration with the puppeteers since “War Horse.”
The show, now playing in England, will stop off first in late May at the Spoleto Festival USA in South Carolina. The New Haven festival run is the only New York-area engagement of the show.
Other theater events will be “Freewheelers,” “a spectacle of song, movement and storytelling” by the New Haven-based site-specific Broken Umbrella Theatre (June 15 to 29) The work centers on the 1866 New Haven patent of the bicycle and the opening that year of the corset factory. The show will be held at the former Horowitz Brothers department store, 760 Chapel St.
Composer Martin Bresnick, librettist and poet J.D. McClatchy and director David Chambers collaborate on a new chamber opera, “My Friend’s Story,” based on the short story by Anton Chekhov, “Terror.” The show will play June 19 to 20 at the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St.
“Stuck Elevator,” the “comic-rap-scrap metal musical,” now playing at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, will be 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, plays June 20 to 29 at Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II. The show centers on the real-life experience of a Chinese restaurant delivery man trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours.
“The Quiet Volume,” by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells is am intimate, and highly unusual one-hour performance “about books, reading the communal experience of the library. Two audience members at a time beginning each half hour will particpate side by side, sitting at tables and wearing headphones, in the Reading Room at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Participants will take cues both written and whispered in their ears. The run is June 18 to 28.
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 June 15 and 16 at various times at the Off Broadway Theater.
Throughout the run of the festival David Dimitri of “L’homme Cirque” will present his one-man circus act on the New Haven Green.
Canada’s Les 7 Doigts de la main (7 Fingers), which presented “Traces” at Hartford’s Bushnell in 2011 and staged the circus acts for Broadway’s “Pippin,” will present “Sequence 8” at the Shubert Theater on June 27 to 29.
Leading the category of dance, Compagnie Kafig returns with 11 Brazilian dancers for two works -- “Correria” and “Agwa” -- June 21 and 22 at the Shubert Theater.
Also Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, who specializes in the traditional South Indian dance form of Kuchipudi will present the U.S. premiere the solo work, “Akasha” at the Co-Op High School June 26 to 28.
Other musical highlights include: Jazzman Christian McBride & Inside Straight (including New Haven native Christian Sands in the acoustic quintet) June 20 at Sprague Hall; Yale Choral Artists June 21 at the Church of St. Mary; Italy’s Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino on June 24 at University Theatre; and at the Marsh Botanical Gardens, John Luther Adams’ “songbirdsongs” will be performed by the new music ensemble Le Train Bleu.