Bolshoi in the Boonies
One of the joys of travel is the opportunity to see some great cultural performances. From plays in London's West End to the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, these are the sorts of events you are likely to remember for a long time.
I have found that performances of the Bolshoi, the Kirov Opera (now known as the Mariinsky,) various operas and concerts in Berlin and New York, and plays on Broadway or in the West End are among my fondest travel souvenirs.
This summer you don't need to travel as far as Russia to see the Bolshoi--at the end of July the company will be dancing Don Quixote at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (www.spac.org) in upstate New York. Tickets start as low as $32, and lawn tickets as low as $15.
These outdoor music festivals are a great opportunity to see some wonderful performers at cut prices.
The experience of being outdoors usually adds to the pleasure. Tanglewood (www.bso.org) in western Massachusetts is another very famous summer music festival which features both classical and popular choices. Near Montreal, the Festival de Lanaudiere (www.lanaudiere.org) is held in a glade of trees that lends a special enchantment to songs such as "In Fernem Land" sung by Ben Heppner, which I heard some years ago.
Friends have recommended the summer opera festival called Glimmerglass (www.glimmerglass.org) in Cooperstown, NY, a town which is far better known for its Baseball Hall of Fame (www.baseballhall.org.) If you time your visit right, you can enjoy both these attractions.
Both the Saratoga and Lanaudiere festivals open tonight.