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Bard SummerScape 2009 Opens Thursday, July 9

N.Y. – The resonance of ancient myths and centuries-old historical events
in our own times is a recurrent theme of the seventh annual Bard SummerScape festival, which once again features a rich tapestry of opera, theater, dance, music, film,
and cabaret, keyed to the theme
of the Bard Music Festival and
presented in the acoustically superb Richard B. Fisher Center for the
Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River
campus.  The seven-week festival
opens on Thursday, July 9 with Lucinda Childs’s Dance, to music by Philip
and a film by Sol LeWitt, and closes on August 23 with the final concert of
the 20th annual Bard Music Festival,whichfocuses thisyearon
Wagner and His World”.  Other SummerScape highlights include Meyerbeer’s
grand opera Les Huguenots; the Oresteia trilogy of Aeschylus; a special performance of Mendelssohn’s St.
; a film
festival focusing on “Politics, Theater, and Wagner”; and the return of Bard’s beloved Spiegeltent for the full seven weeks.

A significant dance performance has opened SummerScape each
year since 2006.  This year, the
Lucinda Childs Dance Company opens the festival with a gala performance of Ms.
Childs’s highly acclaimed 1979 creation, Dance, to Philip Glass’s score of a
film by Sol LeWitt (July 9—12).
Thanks to Bard’s re-commissioning of Dance, LeWitt’s film has
been newly restored for the festival. As writer Susan Sontag has observed, “Childs’s
work is about love of dance …Dance for Childs is the art of euphoria.”

stimulating” (Los Angeles Times) Bard Music Festival provides the creative inspiration for SummerScape,
presenting “Wagner and
His World
” – a far-reaching and
illuminating program of orchestral, chamber, and choral concerts, as well as
lectures, films, and symposia, devoted to exploring the life and times of a
composer who remains as controversial as he is revered.  The two weekends of the Bard Music
Festival will take place on August14—16 and August 21—23.

The American
Symphony Orchestra
, under its music
director, Leon Botstein, is in
residence at Bard throughout SummerScape, performing opera, concerts, and an
oratorio.  Of major importance is
the programming of concert excerpts from every one of Richard Wagner’s operas,
from Die Feen (1834)to Parsifal (1882).

annual fully-staged opera will be Giacomo Meyerbeer’s grandly scaled Les Huguenots, its four performances directed
by Thaddeus Strassberger, designed by Eugenio Recuenco, with costumes by Mattie
Ullrich.  Mr. Botstein will conduct
the American Symphony Orchestra. 
The five-act opera, composed in 1836 for the Paris Opéra, requires seven
superb singers and a large cast to recreate the historic 16th-century
massacre of French Protestants and a hopeless love story, in full-blown 19th-century
Romantic style (July 31,
August 2
, 5,&

In theater, Bard will present Aeschylus’s trilogy, Oresteia, in the translation by Ted
.  The three plays – Agamemnon, Choephori, and The Eumenides – will be directed by Gregory
Thompson.  Bard is offering special
prices to those who subscribe to all three plays (July 15—August 2).

A single oratorio performance will be part of SummerScape
2009 – a presentation of Felix Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, given during the bicentennial season of the composer’s
birth.  The 1836 Biblical oratorio
– like its 1846 “sibling,” Elijah
– arguably demonstrates the young composer’s spiritual connection to the Jewish
roots of his prominent Christian-convert family (August 9).  Since Wagner despised Mendelssohn for
his Jewish birth, and yet also admired his work, the inclusion of this Romantic
German oratorio is a significant and striking aspect of “Wagner and His
”.  Another is the festival’s exploration of the conflict
between those who supported and promoted Wagner and his aesthetic, and those
who supported his supposed antipode, Brahms.  The examination of Wagner is a fitting 20th-anniversary
season for the festival, whose inaugural season was dedicated to Brahms.

SummerScape 2009 also includes a film festival, a series of international films relating in numerous ways to the
season’s theme.  This year, “Politics,
Theater, and Wagner
” will include showings
of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, Max Ophuls’s Lola Montès, and Visconti’s Ludwig – all rarities in the era of DVD and movies
on-demand.  Screenings are on
Thursdays and Sundays, and tickets are only $8 (July 16—August 20).

Finally, for a fourth
magnificent summer, the authentic, one-of-a-kind Belgian Spiegeltent returns–
sensationally popular since its introduction at Bard in 2006, the first time
one of these fabulous structures appeared in
Offering food, beverages, and entertainment Thursday through Sunday
throughout SummerScape, the Spiegeltent is the festival’s center for fun and
refreshment.  During weekend days
there are family programs, and in the evening there’s a lineup of cutting-edge
cabaret and musical performances, with post-show dancing and drinks.


SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and
most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or Theater Two 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.  The Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving
as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances.  The Film Festival screenings are at the
Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the
Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.

Special Coach Transportation:

To make a reservation on the round-trip
coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances, call the Box
Office at 845-758-7900.  The fare
is $10 round-trip, and reservations are required.  The coach departs Columbus Circle four hours before
scheduled curtain time to allow for dining in the Spiegeltent or a
pre-performance visit to Bard’s Hessel Museum.

Critical Acclaim:

London’s Times Literary
lauded SummerScape as
“[t]he most intellectually ambitious of America’s summer music festivals.”  The New Yorker called it “one of the major upstate festivals”; Travel
and Leisure
reported, “[At] Bard
SummerScape … Gehry’s acclaimed concert hall provides a spectacular venue for
innovative fare”; Newsday called
SummerScape “brave and brainy”; and the New York Sun observed, “Bard’s [SummerScape] … offers one of the best lineups of the summer for fans of any
arts discipline

List of SummerScape 2009 Highlights

9                     SummerScape
opens with Lucinda Childs’s Dance,
to Philip Glass (through July 12)

11                   Gala
Benefit before and after performance of Lucinda Childs’s Dance

15-Aug 2         Seven
complete performances of the Aeschylus trilogy, Oresteia

16-Aug 20       Film
Festival “Politics, Theater, and Wagner” (ten films)

31                   First
of four performances of Meyerbeer’s opera Les Huguenots (through August 7)

9                 Special
single performance of Mendelssohn’s oratorio St. Paul

14               Annual
Bard Music Opening Night Dinner in the Spiegeltent

14-16         Bard
Music Festival, Weekend One: “Wagner and His World”

21-23         Bard
Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Wagner and His World”

Bard SummerScape Ticket

The Bard SummerScape
Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Advisory Boards
of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and the Bard Music
Festival, and the Friends of the Fisher Center.

For complete programs, tickets
and further information for all SummerScape events call the Fisher Center box
office at 845-758-7900 or visit

#          #          #

– July 2009

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