Space Cases

Skipping staid stages for unexpected performance venues

Photo: Diana Hunt

On May 5, savor sweet sounds and suds when Aeronaut Brewing Company and WCRB Classical Radio Boston team up for the premiere of Boston-based composer Mary Bichner’s Senses of Summer, as performed by the brewery’s orchestra-in-residence, Phoenix. Billed as the first-ever classical piece commissioned by a brewery, the event is the finale of Aeronaut’s “classical-ish” music series, Pindrop Sessions, which transposes its taproom into a bootleg concert venue. Also on draft is a performance of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 featuring soprano Margot Rood, a menu from the Tasting Counter inspired by Bichner’s musical mashup of sound-to-color synesthesia and a showcase of the new Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPA.

14 Tyler St., Somerville (617-987-4236)

Illustration: James Schuette

Without a venue the past few years to call its own, the nomadic Boston Lyric Opera reimagines spots across the city as experiential settings. On May 5-12, catch the East Coast premiere—including a newly commissioned orchestration—of The Handmaid’s Tale, Poul Ruders’ opera that’s based on Margaret Atwood’s harrowing 1985 novel about a woman who rails against a totalitarian regime. In a collision of fiction and reality, the company stages the work—set in Boston and Cambridge—at Harvard’s Ray Lavietes Pavilion. Blessed be the fruit of BLO’s labor: A 72-hour build during which a team of 200 will transform the gymnasium into a detention camp using 3,500 square feet of faux cement brick, 500 feet of barbed wire and more than 4,000 pounds of lighting.

11 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston (617-542-4912)

Photo: Corinne Elicone

Giving a whole new meaning to graveyard shift, Patrick Gabridge has been digging into the history and landscape of the nation’s first rural cemetery for the past two years as Mount Auburn Cemetery’s first playwright-in-residence. The final resting place of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and other historic icons sprawls a lush 175 acres through Cambridge and Watertown and inspires 10 new short plays by Gabridge. Separated into two sets of five thematically linked works, the scripts will be brought to life and fully staged at the National Historic Landmark. The Nature Plays premiere on June 1-9, focusing on the environment—from the grandeur of Auburn Lake to stories of the naturalists buried on the grounds.

580 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge (617-547-7105)

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