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Bard Music Festival Turns to Italy with In-Depth Survey of Music by Giacomo Puccini and His Compatriots (Aug 5–14) as Centerpiece of 2016 Bard SummerScape Festival

Giacomo Puccini (photo: Library of Congress)

Giacomo Puccini (photo: Library of Congress)

The summer’s most stimulating music festival.” Los Angeles Times

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. – This summer, for the first time since its founding, the Bard Music Festival turns its focus to Italy, with a two-week, in-depth exploration of “Giacomo Puccini and His World.” In eleven themed concert programs, complemented by pre-concert lectures, panel discussions, a special event, and expert commentary, Bard examines Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), the most popular and successful – yet, paradoxically, all too often critically underrated – opera composer of all time. Opening a window onto Italy’s outstanding musical heritage, Weekend One explores Puccini and Italian Musical Culture (August 5–7), and Weekend Two looks Beyond Verismo (August 12–14). Enriched by a wealth of compositions from Puccini’s predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, all events take place in the striking Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s glorious Hudson River campus. As in previous seasons, the 27th annual Bard Music Festival is set not only to provide the creative inspiration for Bard SummerScape 2016, but also to prove itself once again “a highlight of the musical year” (Wall Street Journal).

The Puccini paradox
One of the most successful opera composers in history, Puccini created three of the most iconic and enduringly popular operas of all time – La bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca – as well as Manon Lescaut, La fanciulla del West, and Turandot, all of which remain staples of the repertory. Yet the very features of his composition that have done most to ensure this mass appeal have also been the source of controversy: there has been a prevailing suspicion that his sensual lyricism, masterly orchestral colors, and soaring climaxes must signify a bourgeois sentimentality that, while entertaining, was incompatible with modernity, and could never compare to Verdi or Wagner for artistic depth. After Puccini’s death, such doubts blossomed into a tradition of critical snobbery marked by condescension and neglect. In the words of conductor Vittorio Gui, founder of Italy’s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Puccini was both “the most beloved and the most despised” of all composers.

At the heart of this so-called Puccini problem rests the shifting place of music in the 20th century. The Tuscan composer rose to fame at a time when opera struggled to maintain its preeminence as a cultural and political instrument. Furthermore, his popularity coincided with the emergence of new nationalisms, World War I, the fall of European imperialism, and the rise of communism and fascism. Though he succeeded where others failed, this was ascribed to declining standards of taste. It is only recently that the critical tide has turned, with current scholarship recognizing Puccini’s keen dramatic sensibility, expert motivic writing, and painstaking compositional process. As the New York Review of Books notes, “Studies in Puccini’s life and art have flourished …, but much else remains to be done.

“Giacomo Puccini and His World”
Drawing on recent scholarship, the Bard Music Festival’s signature thematic programming, multidisciplinary approach, and emphasis on context and reception history provide the perfect platform for a reexamination of the Puccini paradox. Through the prism of his life and career, the festival investigates more than a century of Italian music and culture in close-up: politics from Garibaldi to Mussolini, arts and letters from Manzoni to D’Annunzio, and music from Palestrina to Berio. Eleven concert programs spaced over the two weekends address such themes as the role of politics in Italian opera; the search for a successor to Verdi; Italy’s glorious choral tradition; and Italian Futurism, popular culture and technology.

As well as a broad sampling of Puccini’s own music, including his early opera Le Villi and less familiar orchestral and chamber works, music by many of his countrymen will be heard. These include his immediate predecessors, such as Alfredo Catalani and Arrigo Boito; his primary teacher, Amilcare Ponchielli; his rival opera composers, Ermanno Wolf–Ferrari, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni, and Ferruccio Busoni among them; other contemporaries, like Giuseppe Martucci; members of the generazione dell’ottanta (“generation of 1880”), such as Alfredo Casella, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Franco Alfano, Ildebrando Pizzetti, and Ottorino Respighi; and such influential 20th-century composers as Goffredo Petrassi, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Luciano Berio. A number of operas will be featured, both complete and excerpted, including Massenet’s La Navarraise, Boito’s Nerone, and Catalani’s Loreley. The festival will conclude with a pairing of the final act of Puccini’s Turandot, as posthumously completed by Berio, with Busoni’s setting of the same tale.

Now in his 23rd year as music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, festival co-founder and co-artistic director Leon Botstein – “one of the most remarkable figures in the worlds of arts and culture” (THIRTEEN/WNET) – will lead the ensemble in all three of its Bard Music Festival appearances. This year’s festival also introduces The Orchestra Now (TŌN); currently in its inaugural season, this unique graduate training orchestra – designed to help a new generation of musicians break down barriers between modern audiences and great orchestral music of past and present – will perform in three programs, one of them under Botstein’s leadership. As in previous seasons, choral works will feature the Bard Festival Chorale directed by James Bagwell, and this year’s vocal and chamber programs boast an impressive roster of guest artists. These include 2015 Grammy nominee Talise Trevigne, who may also be seen in the title role of Iris, SummerScape 2016’s mainstage opera production, and baritone Louis Otey, star of last season’s hit revival of The Wreckers.

Weekend One: Puccini and Italian Musical Culture (August 5–7)

Caricature of post-Risorgimento Italy

Caricature of post-Risorgimento Italy

Bard’s festival launches with Program One, “Opera, Politics, and the Italian.Through operatic excerpts and more, this concert examines the ways Italians perceived their newly unified homeland in the comparatively peaceful half-century between the Risorgimento and the First World War. Explicitly addressing key moments in the nation’s history, Boito’s incomplete and rarely staged opera Nerone depicts the plight of Christians under Nero’s rule, while Saverio Mercadante’s orchestral Hymn to Garibaldi celebrates the great general’s victory. Unlike Verdi – an emblematic figure of the unification movement, whose “Va, pensiero” from Nabucco served as a patriotic anthem – Puccini took little interest in politics. Nonetheless, in commemorating the older composer’s death, his diminutive Requiem follows in a politically redolent lineage; Verdi’s own Requiem honors the passing of nationalist novelist Alessandro Manzoni, whose magnum opus was the inspiration for Ponchielli’s opera I promessi sposi. Ponchielli’s students included both Puccini and Mascagni (composer of SummerScape 2016’s mainstage opera production, Iris), whose Cavalleria rusticana celebrates Italy in ways that Puccini was often charged with failing to do. Yet the Tuscan composer identified closely with his homeland, and even in adapting the French Manon Lescaut, it was important to him that – unlike Jules Massenet, who approached their shared source material as a Frenchman – he himself could “feel it as an Italian, with desperate passion.”

Opera dominated Italy’s musical culture in the 19th century. As Verdi put it: “Our music differs from German music. Their symphonies can live in halls, their chamber music can live in the home. Our music, I say, lives mainly in the theater.” However, as Program Two, “Sons of Bach, Sons of Palestrina,” investigates, Italian composers drew inspiration from their Northern neighbors too. Puccini’s grandfather Domenico composed principally for piano, and Busoni is well known for his virtuosic Bach keyboard transcriptions. Verdi, Ponchielli, Puccini, and Wolf-Ferrari are among the many opera composers who also dabbled in chamber music, lieder, and other traditionally Austro-German forms, resulting in such gems as Puccini’s elegiac, dark-hued quartet movement, Crisantemi, melodies from which he would later repurpose in Manon Lescaut. And as Verdi’s influence began to wane, Casella, Respighi, and other members of the generazione dell’ottanta eschewed opera for instrumental writing, setting a new agenda for Italian music in the 20th century.

The apogee of the Austro-German tradition was the symphony, and Program Three, “The Symphonic and the Operatic – the American Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the Bard Music Festival season – looks at two Italian responses to that genre. Among Puccini’s close contemporaries, Martucci was the leading Italian orchestral composer, earning himself the nickname “Italian Brahms,” and his First Piano Concerto bears the influence of such German orchestral masters as Schumann and Mendelssohn. Puccini’s own Capriccio sinfonico, written just five years earlier for his graduation from the Milan Conservatory, caused a sensation at its premiere, convincing national daily La Perseveranza that he “unquestionably possesse[d] the rare essentials of a symphonic composer.” Even that first review, however, also noted the theatrical potential that would find expression in such mature work as Il tabarro, the high-octane first “panel” of Il trittico, Puccini’s late triptych of one-act operas.

It was after walking 20 miles to see a performance of Aida as a teenager that Puccini first recognized opera as his calling, and the figure of Verdi would continue to loom large throughout his career. The older composer was widely considered the supreme master of Italian opera, and for some his death signaled the genre’s decline. For most, though, it was a question of who from the younger generation would inherit his crown, and although that honor was soon ceded to Puccini, at first he was thought to have many rivals. In Program Four, “The Search for a Successor: Opera after Verdi,” Bard presents selected arias and ensembles from operas by Puccini and his contemporaries Leoncavallo, of Pagliacci fame; Italo Montemezzi, who synthesized Italian lyricism with Wagnerian orchestrations and Debussian instrumental color; Francesco Cilea and Umberto Giordano, respective composers of repertory mainstays Adriana Lecouvreur and Andrea Chénier; Alberto Franchetti, a Jewish nobleman known as the “Meyerbeer of modern Italy”; Riccardo Zandonai, composer of Francesca da Rimini; and Brazilian-born Antônio Carlos Gomes, the only non-European to succeed in the golden age of Italian opera.

Although Puccini would prove to be the foremost exponent of verismo, a genre rooted in the Italian literary movement of that name, his first opera was far from naturalistic. Instead, Le Villi draws on the same Central European legend as Adolphe Adam’s ballet Giselle, like which it depicts the Willis, or vengeful spirits of jilted girls. Composed for a one-act opera competition, Le Villi did not receive so much as an honorable mention, and yet as the New York Times noted after a rare 2006 concert performance, “With its elusive chromatic harmony and wayward lyricism, … the opera wins you over.” Despite originating in Italy, verismo was never an exclusively Italian trend. Gustave Charpentier’s Louise is a French contribution to the style, as is Massenet’s short two-act La Navarraise. Set against a backdrop of Spain’s Third Carlist War and often programmed alongside Cavalleria rusticana, Massenet’s opera came to be styled “Calvélleria Española,” and proved especially popular. In Program Five, “Realism and Fantasy: New Directions in Opera,” Bard concludes the festival’s opening weekend with a double-bill of rarities, presenting semi-staged revivals of both Le Villi and La Navarraise.
Weekend Two: Beyond Verismo (August 12–14)

Instruments built by Luigi Russolo

Instruments built by Luigi Russolo

The festival’s second weekend opens with Program Six, “Futurism, Popular Culture, and Technology, a concert featuring The Orchestra Now, among others. Glorifying modernity in an attempt to liberate Italy from the weight of her past, the Italian Futurist movement saw the rise of composers including Francesco Pratella, Franco Casavola, and Luigi Russolo. Their music spanned a wide stylistic range, Pratella’s betraying little sign of the radical views he espoused in print, while Russolo’s – and the custom devices on which he performed it – introduced a truly original new aesthetic that brought everyday noises into the concert hall. The program will also include Puccini’s Scossa elettrica, written for a celebration of scientist Alessandro Volta; his favorite jazz tune, Dumbell, by Zez Confrey; and selected popular songs of the day. To conclude the concert, Bard presents a rare screening of the silent film Rapsodia Satanica, a female spin on the Faust legend from Nino Oxilia, accompanied by a live performance of its original score, which marks the only film music by Pratella’s teacher, Mascagni.

As Program Seven, “Reinventing the Past” discovers, the vogue for unearthing music of bygone eras – spearheaded by Mendelssohn’s Bach revival – found expression in Italy too. Straddling past and present, the vocal writing in Puccini’s student composition Salve Regina anticipates his opera arias (indeed, he reused the hymn in Le Villi), while its organ accompaniment pays homage to Italy’s glorious liturgical tradition. Alessandro Parisotti’s anthology Arie antiche is primarily composed of Romanticized arrangements of 17th- and 18th-century song, but also includes “Se tu m’ami,” which – while attributed to Baroque master Giovanni Pergolesi – appears to be his own original work. The musicologist behind the first complete edition of Claudio Monteverdi’s oeuvre was Malipiero, who drew on the sophisticated polyphony of Italy’s madrigal tradition in his own Third String Quartet. Another scholar of Italy’s musical past was Respighi, who published editions of works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello, and who based the first orchestral suite of his own Ancient Airs and Dances on lute pieces by Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo, and other composers of the Italian Renaissance. Similarly, the fifth of Casella’s 11 Pezzi infantili is specified as an homage to the five-finger exercises of Classical pedagogue Muzio Clementi, while Luigi Dallapiccola’s fascination with the Baroque inspired Tartiniana No. 1, a violin concerto based on the music of Giuseppe Tartini.

In his prominent resistance to Fascism, Arturo Toscanini was rare among Italian musicians. As Program Eight, “Music and Fascism in Italy” reveals, most composers of the time took a more pragmatic approach, prioritizing career advancement over the need to take a stand. Thus, while never active in politics, Puccini met Mussolini several times, and did not return the honorary party membership card he received. His patriotic Hymn to Rome, written to celebrate Italy’s victories in the First World War, was posthumously renamed Hymn to Il Duce and co-opted for use in Fascist ceremonies and street parades. More directly complicit was Casella; notwithstanding the Jewish origins of both his first and second wives, his problematic relationship with Fascism is well documented, and he publicly denounced the music of other Italian composers as “the product of international Judaism.” It was he who inspired Dallapiccola’s Partita for Orchestra, but unlike the older composer, Dallapiccola’s own politics traced a complex path from Fascism to resistance. Similarly, Petrassi, considered by many the patriarch of modern Italian music, accepted the directorship of the Teatro La Fenice under Mussolini, but found ways to use his position subversively, programming works by Jews and hiring musicians opposed to the regime.

Given the long dominance of the Roman Catholic Church, it should come as little surprise that Italy’s choral tradition is so rich. Anchored by the Bard Festival Chorale, Program Nine, “Italian Choral Music since Palestrina,” offers a generous sampling of four centuries of music. Italy enjoyed a flowering of sacred choral writing in the Renaissance, when the works of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, appointed maestro di cappella by the Pope, included an awe-inspiring 105 masses, 68 offertories, 35 magnificats, and more than 300 motets. Even those better known for their madrigals, like Orazio Vecchi and Luca Marenzio, also wrote significant numbers of motets and masses. Highlighted by the works of Carlo Gesualdo, Vivaldi, and Monteverdi, whose 1610 Vespers remains one of the crowning glories of the choral literature, this golden age continued into the Baroque. Monteverdi was also one of the founding fathers of Italian opera, and in his hands the stylistic boundaries between the genres became blurred. This trend reached its peak in the works of Verdi, whose choral output includes settings of the Te Deum and Stabat Mater, as well as his searingly operatic Requiem. Puccini himself, despite descending from four generations of professional church musicians, wrote remarkably little for choir, but his Messa di Gloria shows a similar synthesis of the liturgical and operatic. By contrast, Pizzetti’s Requiem – scored for unaccompanied voices and featuring neo-Renaissance polyphony – reflects the 20th-century’s newfound fascination with early music.

The post-Romantic language of Puccini’s final works anticipated something of the stylistic developments to come. Program Ten, “After Puccini,” offers a snapshot of Italian composition in the decades after his death, including the piano book Dallapiccola wrote for his daughter; one of the chamber works that Dallapiccola’s student Berio composed for his wife, mezzo Cathy Berberian; excerpts from a song cycle with guitar accompaniment by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who, though Jewish, studied with Pizzetti and Casella; and the solo-piano adaptation made by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Menotti, on themes from his first English-language opera, The Old Maid and the Thief. Rounding out Bard’s final chamber program is an account of Alfano’s haunting Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello by Elmira Darvarova, Sam Magill, and Blair McMillen, whose world-premiere recording of the misleadingly named trio has been credited with “razor-edged accuracy, passion, and insight” (Fanfare).

Puccini had the highest of hopes for his final opera, which was far removed in its musical language and subject matter from the world of verismo. When he met his untimely end after surgery for throat cancer, he had completed all but the opera’s closing scene. At Toscanini’s recommendation, Alfano was commissioned to compose it, and although many would find his posthumous completion both musically and dramatically disappointing, it is in this form that Turandot endures. Only very recently did a viable alternative emerge, when Berio (whose completion of Schubert’s tenth symphony was heard at Bard two years ago) made his own attempt. The Guardian pronounced this “the ending [Turandot] deserves,” and the New Yorker agreed:

“Berio’s effort is far more satisfying than Alfano’s, not only because it is beautifully crafted but because it honors the fact of Puccini’s death; the new material begins with a shivery sequence of polytonal chords, suggesting a spirit gliding away, while also recalling the harsh sonorities with which the opera began. This version ought to replace Alfano’s at the Met and elsewhere.”

It is not known whether Puccini knew Busoni’s operatic adaptation of the Turandot fable. This was completed seven years before his own, in comparison with which the New York Times describes it as “cool and analytical,” yet “distinctive, challenging and true.” Program Eleven, “The Turandot Project,” pairs the two, juxtaposing the final act of Puccini’s opera, as rendered by Berio, with Busoni’s setting of the same story. Returning to helm both semi-staged productions is R. B. Schlather – praised by the New York Times for his “intriguing, inventive directorial vision” – who previously collaborated on celebrated SummerScape stagings of The Wreckers, Euryanthe, and Die Liebe der Danae. With original designs by Paul Tate dePoo III, named “2015 Young Designer to Watch” by Live Design magazine, the two productions share a stellar cast that includes soprano Melody Moore, who makes her Carnegie Hall recital debut this spring, and baritone Steven LaBrie, a top prize-winner at the 2016 George London Foundation Awards. Anchored by Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra, it is Bard’s back-to-back presentations of these two contrasting takes on the same epic tale that draw the Bard Music Festival – and indeed, the entire seven weeks of Bard SummerScape – to a truly electrifying close.

Supplementary events and forthcoming publication
Besides the eleven concert programs, there will be a special event presenting New York-based ensemble Contemporaneous in “Spaghetti Western,” a program of music by Americans living in Italy and by Italians whose music has permeated U.S. culture, which explores the ways that – since Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West – Italian and American music have travelled together through film.

Three free panel discussions – “Puccini: The Man and the Reputation,” Defining the Italian: The Role of Music, and “Artists, Intellectuals, and Mussolini” – will be supplemented by seven informative pre-concert talks, free to ticket-holders, to illuminate each program’s themes. Programs One, Four, Six, and Nine will instead be presented with expert commentary during the performances by Maestro Botstein, scholar-in-residence Emanuele Senici, Georgetown University’s Anna Celenza, and Choral Director James Bagwell, respectively.

Since the founding of the Bard Music Festival with 1990’s “Brahms and His World,” the Princeton University Press has published a companion volume of new scholarship and interpretation each season, with essays and translated documents relating to the featured composer and his milieu. Scholars-in-Residence Arman Schwartz, whose publications include the award-winning “Rough Music: Tosca and Verismo Reconsidered,” and Emanuele Senici, co-editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal and author of Landscape and Gender in Italian Opera: The Alpine Virgin from Bellini to Puccini, are the editors of the forthcoming 2016 volume, Giacomo Puccini and His World.

Acclaim for the Bard Music Festival
The New York Times observes, “The Bard Music Festival has managed more than its fair share of ambitious feats in its immersive annual examinations of classical music’s major composers.” Since its inception, Botstein and the festival have infused the standard concert repertory with a host of important rediscoveries. As the New Yorker’s Alex Ross puts it, “Bard SummerScape and Bard Music Festival always unearth piles of buried treasure.” And while the Bard Music Festival’s pioneering approach to thematic programming has sometimes been emulated, “Nothing quite compares to the fascinating summer programs popping out of Leon Botstein’s brain” (Bloomberg News).

Last year, the festival turned for the first time to Latin America, with an exploration of Mexico’s “Carlos Chávez and His World” that impressed the New York Times with its array of “invariably delightful surprises.” As New York Arts elaborated:

“The vast majority of the music was new to me, and I found most of it very appealing. Furthermore, the festival … opened up a vast perspective of the rich and ancient culture south of the United States. One came away with a deeper understanding of where the heart of the Western Hemisphere lies.”

Dubbed “part boot camp for the brain, part spa for the spirit” (New York Times), the Bard Music Festival consistently impresses critics worldwide. NPR named it “one of the ‘10 Can’t-Miss Classical Music Festivals,” and on his blog, Boston Globe journalist Steve Smith confessed:

“For an unrepentant music geek like me, the Bard Music Festival is simply irresistible: a fabulous wealth of music by a major composer from the classical tradition, surrounded and contextualized with works by forebears, peers, colleagues, friends, enemies, students, followers – you name it.”

The New York Times reports that “performers engaged by Bard invariably seem energized by the prospect of extending beyond canonical routine, and by an audience that comes prepared with open ears and open minds” for the “two-weekend musicological intensive doubling as a sumptuous smorgasbord of concerts.” As the Wall Street Journal’s Barrymore Laurence Scherer observes:

“The Bard Music Festival … no longer needs an introduction. Under the provocative guidance of the conductor-scholar Leon Botstein, it has long been one of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals and frequently is one of the most musically satisfying. Each year, through discussions by major scholars and illustrative concerts often programmed to overflowing, Bard audiences have investigated the oeuvre of a major composer in the context of the society, politics, literature, art, and music of his times.”

Getting to the Bard Music Festival: NYC round-trip bus transportation
Round-trip bus service is provided exclusively to ticket-holders for the performances marked with an asterisk below. A reservation is required, and may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900. The round-trip fare is $40, and the bus departs from Lincoln Center at the times indicated:

Program 1: Friday, August 5 at 7:30pm (dinner at 5:30pm)                                       3:30pm
Program 5: Sunday, August 7 at 4:30pm (preconcert talk at 3:30pm)                 12:30pm
Program 11: Sunday, August 14 at 4:30pm (preconcert talk at 3:30pm)            12:30pm

Further details are available at

Bard’s sensationally popular European Spiegeltent will be open for lunch and dinner throughout “Puccini and His World,” besides playing host to the Bard Music Festival Opening Night Dinner (August 5), the special “Spaghetti Western” event (August 11), and cabaret performances by Mary Testa and Michael Starobin (August 5), Rufus Wainwright (August 6), Stew and Heidi Rodewald (August 12), and returning host, emcee, and guest curator Mx. Justin Vivian Bond (August 13).

Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Puccini and His World”

WEEKEND ONE: Puccini and Italian Musical Culture

Friday, August 5
2016 Bard Music Festival Opening Night Dinner
5:30 pm
Tickets include a pre-performance dinner in the Spiegeltent and a premium seat for the evening’s concert. To purchase opening night dinner tickets, contact the Box Office at 845-758-7900 or [email protected]. The Spiegeltent will be closed for regular dining on the evening of the dinner.

Program One
Opera, Politics, and the Italian
Sosnoff Theater
7:30 pm Performance with commentary by Leon Botstein; with Melody Moore, soprano; Russell Thomas, tenor; Paul Whelan, bass-baritone; Bard Festival Chorale & James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein; and others

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Requiem (1905)
Intermezzo and Act IV of Manon Lescaut (1893)
Saverio Mercadante (1795–1870)
Hymn to Garibaldi (1861)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)
“Va pensiero” from Nabucco (1841)
Amilcare Ponchielli (1834–86)
Overture from I promessi sposi (1856; rev. 1872)
Arrigo Boito (1842–1918)
Excerpt from Nerone (1877–1918)
Alfredo Catalani (1854–93)
Excerpt from Loreley (1890)
Pietro Mascagni (1863–1945)
Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana (1890)
Tickets: $25–$75

Saturday, August 6
Panel One
Puccini: The Man and the Reputation
Olin Hall
10 am–noon
Christopher H. Gibbs, moderator; Arthur Groos; and others
This panel discussion with renowned scholars will include a short question and answer period.
Free and open to the public

Program Two
Sons of Bach, Sons of Palestrina
Olin Hall
1 pm Pre-concert Talk: David Rosen
1:30 pm Performance: Daedalus Quartet; Cecilia Violetta López, soprano; Anna Polonsky, piano; Brian Zeger, piano; and others

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Crisantemi (1890)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)/Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)
From Ten Chorale Preludes (1898)
Domenico Puccini (1772–1815)
Piano Sonata No. 17 in A Major (n.d.)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)
String Quartet in E minor (1873)
Amilcare Ponchielli (1834–86)
Il Convegno (c.1856)
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876–1948)
Quattro rispetti, for soprano and piano, Op. 11 (1902)
Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936)
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 35 (1902)
Alfredo Casella (1883–1947)
From A la manière de . . ., Op. 17 (1911–13)
Tickets: $40

 Program Three
The Symphonic and the Operatic
Sosnoff Theater
7 pm Pre-concert Talk
8 pm Performance: Kelly Kaduce, soprano; Michael Wade Lee, tenor; Louis Otey, baritone; Levi Hernandez, baritone; Orion Weiss, piano; members of the Bard Festival Chorale & James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director; and others

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Il tabarro (1916)
Capriccio sinfonico (1883)
Giuseppe Martucci (1856–1909)
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 40 (1878)
Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 7
Panel TWO
Defining the Italian: The Role of Music
Olin Hall
10 am–noon
Emanuele Senici, moderator; Linda Hutcheon; Michael Hutcheon; Michael Kaye
This panel discussion with renowned scholars will include a short question and answer period.
Free and open to the public

Program Four
The Search for a Successor: Opera after Verdi
Olin Hall
1 pm Performance with Commentary by Emanuele Senici; with Aubrey Allicock, bass-baritone; Theo Lebow, tenor; Cecilia Violetta López, soprano; Steven LaBrie, baritone; Erika Switzer, piano; and others

Arias and ensembles from operas by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836–96), Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857–1919), Alberto Franchetti (1860–1942), Francesco Cilea (1866–1950), Umberto Giordano (1867–1948), Italo Montemezzi (1875–1952), and Riccardo Zandonai (1883–1944)
Tickets: $40

Program Five*
Realism and Fantasy: New Directions in Opera
Sosnoff Theater
3:30 pm Pre-concert Talk: Arman Schwartz
4:30 pm Performance: Sean Panikkar, tenor; Nora Sourouzian, mezzo-soprano; Talise Trevigne, soprano; Paul Whelan, bass-baritone; Bard Festival Chorale & James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein; and others; directed by Mary Birnbaum; designed by Grace Laubacher; lighting design by Anshuman Bhatia

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Le Villi (1884)
Jules Massenet (1842–1912)
La Navarraise (1894)
Tickets: $25–$75


Thursday, August 11
Spaghetti Western
8 pm Performance: Contemporaneous
A program of crosscurrents, with music by Americans living in Italy and Italians whose music has permeated U.S. culture. From David Lang to Ennio Morricone, discover how Italian and American music have travelled together through film—dating all the way back to Puccini’s Girl from the Golden West.
Tickets: $15–$40

WEEKEND TWO: Beyond Verismo
Friday, August 12
Program SIX
Futurism, Popular Culture, and Technology
Sosnoff Theater
8 pm Performance with commentary by Anna Celenza; with The Orchestra Now, conducted by James Bagwell; Blair McMillen, piano; and others

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Scossa elettrica (1899)
Francesco Balilla Pratella (1880–1955)
Excerpt from La guerra (1913)
Alfredo Casella (1883–1947)
Excerpt from Cinque pezzi (1920)
Works by Luigi Russolo (1885–1947), Franco Casavola (1891–1955), Silvio Mix (1900–1927), Zez Confrey (1895–1971), and others.
With a showing of Rapsodia Satanica (1915), a film by Nino Oxilia, with music by Pietro Mascagni (1863–1945) performed live
Tickets: $25–$60

Saturday, August 13
Artists, Intellectuals, and Mussolini
Olin Hall
10 am–noon
Joseph Luzzi, moderator; Victoria de Grazia; Ben Earle; Benjamin Martin
This panel discussion with renowned scholars will include a short question and answer period.
Free and open to the public

Program SEVEN
Reinventing the Past
Olin Hall
1 pm Pre-concert Talk: Byron Adams
1:30 pm Performance: Rieko Aizawa, piano; Daedalus Quartet; César Delgado, tenor; Theo Lebow, tenor; Jesse Mills, violin; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Zachary Schwartzman; and others

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Salve Regina (before 1880)
Ed. & arr. Alessandro Parisotti (1853–1913)
Selections from Arie antiche
Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643), ed. Malipiero
Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936)
From Quattro liriche (1920); Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1 (1920)
Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882–1973)
String Quartet No. 3 “Cantari alla madrigalesca” (1931)
Alfredo Casella (1883–1947)
From 11 Pezzi infantili, Op. 35
Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–75)
Tartiniana 1 (1951)
Tickets: $40

Program EIGHT
Music and Fascism in Italy
Sosnoff Theater
7 pm Pre-concert Talk: Ben Earle
8 pm Performance: Marnie Breckenridge, soprano; Bard Festival Chorale & James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Hymn to Rome (1919)
Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880–1968)
Sinfonia del fuoco (1914)
Alfredo Casella (1883–1947)
Elegia eroica, 29 (1916)
Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–75)
Partita for Orchestra (1930–32)
Goffredo Petrassi (1904–2003)
Magnificat (1939–40)
Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 14
Program NINE
Italian Choral Music since Palestrina
Olin Hall
10 am: Performance with commentary by James Bagwell; with Bard Festival Chorale & James Bagwell, choral director; Alexander Bonus, organ; Bard Festival Chamber Players

Works by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–94), Orazio Vecchi (1550–1605), Luca Marenzio (1553–99), Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643), Carlo Gesualdo (1566–1613), Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), and Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880–1968)
Tickets: $40

Program TEN
After Puccini
Olin Hall
1 pm Preconcert Talk: Richard Wilson
1:30 pm Performance: Teresa Buchholz, mezzo-soprano; Elmira Darvarova, violin; Sam Magill, cello; Blair McMillen, piano; Anna Polonsky, piano; Bard Festival Chamber Players

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Pezzo per pianoforte (n.d.)
Franco Alfano (1875–1954)
Concerto for piano, violin, and cello (1933)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968)
From The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra, Op. 207 (1966)
Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–75)
Musical Notebook of Annalibera (1952)
Gian Carlo Menotti (1911–2007)
Ricercare and Toccata on a theme from The Old Maid and the Thief (1951)
Luciano Berio (1925–2003)
Chamber Music (1953)
Tickets: $40

Program ELEVEN*
The Turandot Project
Sosnoff Theater
3:30 pm Pre-concert Talk: Christopher H. Gibbs
4:30 pm Performance: Melody Moore, soprano; Russell Thomas, tenor; Richard Cox, tenor; Aubrey Allicock, bass-baritone; Kendra Broom, mezzo-soprano; Matthew Burns, bass-baritone; Elizabeth Byrne, soprano; Steven LaBrie, baritone; Cecilia Violetta López, soprano; Marc Molomot, tenor; Nathan Stark, bass; Paul Whelan, bass-baritone; Bard Festival Chorale & James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director; and others; directed by R. B. Schlather; designed by Paul Tate dePoo III; lighting design by JAX Messenger

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)/Luciano Berio (1925–2003)
Act 3 from Turandot (1924/2001)
Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)
Turandot (1917)
Tickets: $25–$75

Bard SummerScape ticket information
Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now 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 start at $25.

Special offers:

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

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

Opera Series: save 30% on Iris and both BMF concert operas

Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount and concierge service to assist with dining and lodging reservations.

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

All program information is subject to change.

The 2016 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.

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© 21C Media Group, April 2016

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