August 9, 2018

Opening next Friday, August 17, the second and final weekend of the 29th annual Bard Music Festival – “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World” – investigates the seminal Russian Romantic and those he influenced in Rimsky-Korsakov and His Followers. To launch the weekend, the Virtual Village, an ensemble of musicians and musicologists from Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory, makes its U.S. debut with an exploration of the relationship between Russian folksong and art music, from Beethoven’s Second “Razumovsky” Quartet to Stravinsky’s Petrushka, with commentary from Bard’s Scholar-in-Residence, Marina Frolova-Walker. Other highlights of the weekend include a pair of programs showcasing the leadership of music director and festival co-artistic director Leon Botstein. For the first, he leads the American Symphony Orchestra in a pairing of works by Dargomyzhsky, Borodin, and Lyadov with Rimsky-Korsakov’s own secular cantata From Homer, the suite from his opera The Snow Maiden, and his consummate masterpiece Scheherazade. Designed and directed by Giants Are Small’s Doug Fitch and anchored by the Bard Festival Chorale and graduate training ensemble The Orchestra Now (TŌN), the second offers a rare opportunity to see Rimsky-Korsakov’s tenth opera, The Tsar’s Bride, in the West. With Lyubov Petrova, “a soprano of ravishing, changeable beauty, blazing high notes and magnetic stage presence” (Opera News), heading a stellar cast, the semi-staged production provides a fitting end to Bard’s probing and far-reaching festival. Click here to see Leon Botstein talk about Rimsky-Korsakov.

Further contextualizing the composer, “Domestic Music Making in Russia” presents his seldom-heard one-act opera Mozart and Salieri alongside works first heard at the chamber evenings he and his contemporaries would attend, while “The Russian Choral Traditions” explores the flowering of a cappella liturgical writing that took place among the nation’s late Romantics. Finally, through music by his many illustrious students, “The Spectacular Legacy of Rimsky-Korsakov” celebrates the composer’s remarkable heritage. As Botstein explains:

“Later in his life [Rimsky-Korsakov] became a master of the great tradition, so he merges an appreciation for the Western tradition with an impulse to create an autonomous, independent Russian musical voice. And that led him to be, for a large part of his career, one of the great teachers in all of music history. His pupils include Igor Stravinsky, Ottorino Respighi, Anton Arensky, Sergei Prokofiev, a kind of who’s who of music at the turn of the century.”

As ever, Bard’s programs are enriched by scholarship of the highest caliber. Four of the weekend’s six themed concerts are presented with pre-concert talks by distinguished experts, who include Michael Beckerman, Christopher H. Gibbs, and Richard Wilson. In addition, a free panel discussion on Saturday morning considers “From the Romanovs to the Revolution: Art and Politics in Russia,” with guest speakers to include Marina Frolova-Walker, Richard Taruskin, and Sean McMeekin

As in previous seasons, the weekend’s choral program – hailed as “one of the high points of every Bard Festival” (New York Arts) – features the Bard Festival Chorale directed by James Bagwell. Among the many other notable musicians performing over the course of the weekend are Gerard Schneider, whose “imposing tenor” (Wall Street Journal) “stole the show” (Allegri con Fuoco) in SummerScape 2016’s mainstage production of Iris; award-winning baritone Efim Zavalny, star of this year’s mainstage opera, Demon; Grammy Award-winning violinist Karen Kim; pianists Danny Driver, a Gramophone Award nominee, and Piers Lane, for whom “no praise could be high enough” (Gramophone); and the award-winning Daedalus Quartet, which impressed the New Yorker as “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets.” As New York Arts remarks:

“As always, the Bard Music Festival … is a must. … I have never come away from the festival without gaining a higher opinion of the central composer than I had before.”

*          *          *          *          *

Recent successes at Bard SummerScape 2018

World premiere of Four Quartets by Pam Tanowitz, Kaija Saariaho, and Brice Marden

Profound. … This Bard SummerScape commission will tour London and Los Angeles next year. May it travel the globe.”

Financial Times

“Tanowitz has created dance theater of the highest caliber. … I’m inclined to call this the most sublime new dance since Merce Cunningham’s Biped (1999). … If I am right to think this is the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century, we’re fortunate that Four Quartets will travel to other stages. I long to become more deeply acquainted with the many layers of its stage poetry.”

New York Times

Christopher Alden’s new production of Leonard Bernstein’s musical theater piece Peter Pan

A fascinating exhumation. … Unreservedly applauded are Marsha Ginsberg’s vivid sets, the striking lighting by JAX Messenger and the playing of the young instrumental sextet.”

Financial Times

“Mr. Alden’s bouncy, mournful, occasionally abstract production” makes for “a stranger, sexier version of Peter Pan,” starring “the marvelous actor, writer and cabaret performer Erin Markey, … an actor of sublime mania,” and “the thrilling baritone William Michals.”

New York Times

Thaddeus Strassberger’s rare, new fully staged production of Anton Rubinstein’s grand opera Demon

Demon (1871) is great fun, and the Bard Summerscape production, with its all-Russian cast conducted by Leon Botstein, which opened on Friday, captured its rather mad obsessiveness.”

Wall Street Journal

New York Times Critic’s Pick: “A winner. … Demon holds up very well, especially in the surging, rich performance Mr. Botstein drew from the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard Festival Chorale. … Rubinstein’s music explores the everyday humanity of the story. The demon, a Mephistophelian figure, emerges as a flawed, suffering Romantic hero. And Mr. Strassberger emphasizes this in a … sensitive reading of the opera. … We have Mr. Botstein to thank for this inspiring rescue job.

New York Times

Getting to the Bard Music Festival: New York City Round-Trip Bus Transportation

Round-trip bus service is provided exclusively to ticket-holders for the performances marked with an asterisk below (Programs 9 and 12). The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required; they may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Further details are available at

Complete programs for Weekend Two of the 2017 Bard Music Festival follow.

High-resolution photographs can be downloaded here.


Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World”


WEEKEND TWO: Rimsky-Korsakov and His Followers

Thursday, August 16

Iva Bittová and Sergey Starostin: From Folk to Jazz


8 pm

Czech avant-garde violinist, singer, and composer Iva Bittová and Russian folk and jazz performer and composer Sergey Starostin join forces for an evening of improvisation and of “past perspectives filtered through the now.”


Friday, August 17


Film Showings

LUMA Theater, Fisher Center

12 pm

Mussorgsky (1950)

A film by Grigori Roshal, 120 minutes

Rimsky-Korsakov (1953)

A film by Grigori Roshal, 114 minutes

Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden) (1952)

Animated film by Ivan Ivanov-Vano and Aleksandra Snezhko-Blotskaya, 70 minutes

Free and open to the public



Russian Folk in the Mirror of Art Music

Sosnoff Theater

8 pm Performance with commentary by Marina Frolova-Walker, with the Virtual Village ensemble; Monika Krajewska, mezzo-soprano; Michael Brown, Yelena Kurdina, and Orion Weiss, piano; members of the Daedalus Quartet, with Karen Kim, violin; and others

An exploration of the use of folk materials from the Lvov-Pratsch Collection (1790/1806) in classical music, from Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” Quartets through Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov to Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

Tickets: $25–$60


Saturday, August 18


From the Romanovs to the Revolution: Art and Politics in Russia

Olin Hall

10 am–noon

Marina Frolova-Walker; Sean McMeekin; Richard Taruskin

The panel discussion will include a short question and answer period.

Free and open to the public


Domestic Music Making in Russia

Olin Hall

1 pm Preconcert Talk: Christopher H. Gibbs

1:30 pm Performance: Members of the Daedalus Quartet, with Karen Kim, violin; Danny Driver and Anna Polonsky, piano; Christine Taylor Price, soprano; Gerard Schneider, tenor; Mikhail Svetlov, bass; members of the Bard Festival Chorale and The Orchestra Now, conducted by Zachary Schwartzman

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Mozart and Salieri (1897)


Selections from Les Vendredis by Felix Blumenfeld (1863-1931); Anatoly Lyadov (1855–1914); Nicolay Sokolov (1859–1922); and Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)

Arias and songs by Alexander Borodin (1833-87); Modest Mussorgsky (1839-81); and Mily Balakirev (1837-1910)

César Cui (1835–1918)

From Preludes for piano, Op. 64 (1903)

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Scherzo from Piano Sonata in F-sharp minor (1903-4)

Tickets: $40


The Classical, the National, and the Exotic

Sosnoff Theater

7 pm Preconcert Talk: Michael Beckerman

8 pm Performance: Serena Benedetti, soprano; Katherine Pracht, mezzo-soprano; Rebecca Ringle Kamarei, mezzo-soprano; members of the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Scheherazade, Op. 35 (1888)

The Snow Maiden Suite (1895)

From Homer, Op. 60 (1901)

Alexander Dargomyzhsky (1813-69)

Bolero (1839)

Alexander Borodin (1833-87)

In the Steppes of Central Asia (1880)

Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914)

Eight Russian Folksongs for Orchestra, Op. 58 (1905)

Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 19


The Russian Choral Traditions

Olin Hall

10 am Performance with commentary by James Bagwell; with the Bard Festival Chorale, conducted by James Bagwell

Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

From the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, Op. 41 (1878)

Alexander Gretchaninoff (1862-1956)

From the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, Op. 13, No. 1 (1897)

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

From Vespers (All-Night Vigil), Op. 37 (1915)

Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946)

From Passion Week, Op. 13 (1923-27)

Works by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908); Dimitri Bortniansky (1751-1825); Alexei Lvov (1799-1870); Mily Balakirev (1837-1910); Stepan Smolensky (1848-1909); and Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935)

Tickets: $40


The Spectacular Legacy of Rimsky-Korsakov

Olin Hall

1 pm Preconcert Talk: Richard Wilson

1:30 pm Performance: Nicholas Canellakis, cello; members of the Daedalus Quartet, with Karen Kim, violin; Fei-Fei, Alexey Gugnin, Piers Lane, and Brian Zeger, piano

Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)

Firebird Suite (1910; arr. Guido Agosti)

Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936)

From Cinque pezzi (1906)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Symphony in B minor, for piano four hands (c. 1880)

Lazare Saminsky (1882-1959)

Hebrew Rhapsody for violin and piano, Op. 3, No. 2 (c.1924)

Mikhail Gnesin (1883–1957)

Requiem, Op. 11, for piano quintet (c.1914)

Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953)

From Ten Pieces, Op. 12 (1906-13)

Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977)

From Bagatelles for piano, Op. 5 (1912-18)

Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950)

Cello Sonata No. 2 in A minor (1948)

Tickets: $40


The Tsar’s Bride

Sosnoff Theater

3:30 pm Preconcert Talk: Marina Frolova-Walker

4:30 pm Performance: Lyubov Petrova, soprano; Nadezhda Babintseva, mezzo-soprano; Efim Zavalny, baritone; Andrey Valentiy, bass; Yakov Strizhak, bass; Joel Sorensen, tenor; Gerard Schneider, tenor; Teresa Buchholz, mezzo-soprano, and others; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director; designed and directed by Doug Fitch; lighting design by Anshuman Bhatia; projection design by Brian McSherry; costume design by Moe Schell

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

The Tsar’s Bride (1898)

Tickets: $25–$75

* The Bard SummerScape coach from Manhattan is available for these performances. See further details below.


All programs are subject to change.

Bard SummerScape ticket information

Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are on sale. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit


SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall, and the Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.

New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:

To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at:

Full Schedule:

For a complete schedule of SummerScape and Bard Music Festival events (subject to change), follow the links given below. Updates are posted at the festival web site

Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.

Bard SummerScape:

Bard Music Festival:

Tickets and Subscriptions:; or by phone at 845-758-7900. Tickets to all mainstage events start at $25.

Special offers:

Create Your Own Series: save 25% and enjoy maximum flexibility, by choosing four or more events.

SummerScape Mainstage Package: save 30% and guarantee seats for dance, theater, and opera events.

Out-of-Town Package: save up to 23% on mainstage ticket, roundtrip bus from New York City, and three-course meal.

Night Out Package: save up to 15% on mainstage ticket (selected performances only) and three-course meal.

Updates: Bard’s “e-subscribers” get all the news in regular updates. Click here to sign up, or send an e-mail to [email protected].


All programs are subject to change.

The 2018 SummerScape season is made possible in part through the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, the Board of the Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center members, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, August 2018