What a beautiful night for a play in Congress Park! The Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s production of “the Scottish play” is a winner. Just three more days to catch Macbeth, his lady, Banquo and those awesome creepy witches!
Last fall, the Criterion Cinemas opened on Railroad Place in downtown Saratoga Springs. The theater shows current films, as well as older classics and genre films on weekend mornings and late nights. Located just steps and blocks away from favorite eateries, the theater is a great place to spend some time, especially on a “dark Tuesday” during the racing season.
The New York City Ballet opened their week long summer residency at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Tuesday, July 8. We were in the audience for “Balanchine’s Journey,” four lovely and varied ballets spanning the great choreographer’s career, concluding with the jaunty and romantic music of Gershwin and “Who Cares?” There’s something very special about seeing ballet performed in an open air theater. It’s as if, lacking walls, an expansiveness pervades even the most disciplined of the dancers’ movements. A steady rain fell throughout most of the performance, only adding to the wild, delicious feel of seeing and hearing great dance and music, basically in the woods!
The closing night ballet gala was themed “A Tribute to Great Britain.” The SPAC lawn welcomed the usual tents, candelabra and picnic spreads, with the addition this year of Union Jacks everywhere! There were even a couple of London phone booths and quite a few patrons in go go boots and hip, Sixties, British togs.
Two ballets by British choreographers, Christopher Wheelden and Liam Scarlett, were on the program, which concluded with Balanchine’s colorful, UK tribute, “Union Jack.” Wheelden’s “After the Rain” pas de deux, heart stoppingly beautiful, as it is, was given even more emotionality as it marked Wendy Whelan’s final performance on the SPAC stage before her retirement this fall. Whelan, ever gracious and down to earth, spoke briefly to the audience before the curtain opened on the night. She was treated to a lengthy standing ovation then, and also at the conclusion of her performance, when she was presented with an enormous bouquet of flowers and a huge standing floral arrangement.
Following Union Jack, fireworks exploded the sky to invite all to celebrate late into the night with live music, dancing and more merriment. The 49th New York City Ballet summer season at Saratoga was compact but glowing. With the 50th season once again expanding to two weeks next year, we’re looking forward to even more elegance, tradition, and all around fine entertainment!
In keeping with Saratoga’s celebrated Main Street reputation, the Fourth of July finds locals and visitors enjoying a wide variety of patriotic revelry. The fun lasts all day with a parade on Broadway, live music, and programs in Congress Park which culminate with a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a grand fireworks display at nightfall.
After watching the parade and taking a spin on the carousel, we drove 20 minutes southeast to Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater. Last fall, we’d climbed to the top of the battle memorial, located just outside Schuylerville. To celebrate the Fourth, we wandered around the visitors center looking through displays and artifacts of “the turning point of the Revolution.” The knowledgable park staff were more than happy to answer questions, as were numerous reenactors, engaged in musket demonstrations and canon firings.
The grounds are lovely — rolling hills and forests beside the Hudson River. The visitors center is open year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.