Nicola and Matteo, the two brothers in “The Best of Youth,” start at the same place, as sensitive, ambitious teenagers in a well-to-do Roman family. But over the well-paced six hours of director Marco Tullio Giordana’s film, the brothers, reacting to societal forces, personal circumstances and their own interior makeup, wind up on divergent paths. “The Best of Youth” ties Italian history – the Florence floods of 1967, the leftist terrorists in the ’70s, Sicilian mafiosi – into the story of Nicola and Matteo and their extended network of friends and families. But for a six-hour film, it does a remarkable job of remaining focused on its theme of what draws people toward one another and what drives them away. The film shows in the SummerFilms series at Paepcke Auditorium in two parts, Sunday and Monday, July 10-11.
Classical music can seem so inaccessible for so many reasons. But the power and the glory of a Beethoven symphony, a Bartok quartet or John Adams’ violin concerto cannot be denied, and potential audiences deserve every chance for exposure. The Aspen Music Festival has long been regarded as the most user-friendly of music institutions, with relaxed dress standards, numerous free programs and the lawn outside the tent. With its Day of Music, the Music Festival throws the doors open even wider. On Tuesday, July 12, the free events, all designed for accessibility, include the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra, performing Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” and a chamber music concert saluting the centennial of New York’s Juilliard School.
On the surface, Vincent Cardinal’s “Colorado Catechism” seems a downer, the story of two recovering alcoholics embarking on a romance in the tentative, almost tormenting manner of adolescents. Nonetheless, the play has received scores of productions in the 15 years since Cardinal wrote it as a student dramatist at Yale. Much of that is due to the humor infused in the two-character play. And recovery from addiction is always accompanied by the big, universal issues of life: priorities, sacrifices, strength and communication. Theatre Aspen’s production of “Colorado Catechism,” which opens Thursday, July 14, and runs in dovetail repertoire through Aug. 11, gets a special touch: Cardinal himself, after seeing more than 50 versions of the play, puts himself in the director’s seat for the first time. Also on this week’s Theatre Aspen calendar: The musical revue “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” shows Monday, July 11, and Friday, July 15; the children’s theater piece “The Near-sighted Knight and the Far-sighted Dragon” is set for Friday and Saturday, July 15-16. And the Sunday Series has a reading of local Andrew Kole’s “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” on Sunday, July 10.
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