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Bard SummerScape 2018 Is “A Spectacular Venue for Innovative Fare”

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. – Bard SummerScape has secured its place on the list of America’s “must-attend” cultural destinations. Nestled in New York’s idyllic Hudson River Valley on the pastoral campus of Bard College, SummerScape 2018 presents “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World”: a celebration not only of the seminal yet underappreciated Russian Romantic composer, but also of milestone anniversaries for both Leonard Bernstein and T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, through seven weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film, cabaret, and more (June 28–Aug 19). Offering an ideal day trip for metro-area New Yorkers and a perfect weekend destination for travelers seeking cultural offerings beyond the nearby Berkshires, SummerScape has been hailed by the International Herald Tribune as “seven weeks of cultural delight.” At its thematic core is the Bard Music Festival, which the Los Angeles Times calls “the summer’s most stimulating music festival.” Time Out New York recognizes Bard as one of “New York’s 20 coolest out-of-town spots,” and the New York Post declares, “It’s hard not to find something to like, and it’s even harder to beat the setting: the gleaming, Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Performing Arts Center in bucolic Annandale-on-Hudson.

It is in and around the striking Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center that SummerScape’s offerings take place. Time Out New York finds that “the experience of entering the Fisher Center and encountering something totally new is unforgettable and enriching.” Travel and Leisure calls the Fisher Center “a spectacular venue for innovative fare,” while Anne Midgette, naming it one of the “world’s best concert halls” in Dwell magazine, explains:

“Its main theater is that rarest of birds, a mid-sized concert hall (900 seats), more appropriate for so many performances than the great 2,500-seat barns that we usually see. The acoustic is great … and the setting is gorgeous: the building sits on the green lawn like a lake or a piece of sky landed from above, captured in Gehry’s silvery curves.”

As Bloomberg News realizes, Bard SummerScape offers “the smartest mix of events within driving distance of New York.”

The Fisher Center is located at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, on the east bank of the Hudson River in the picturesque Hudson Valley, about 90 miles north of New York City and 220 miles southwest of Boston. It is surrounded by numerous Hudson Valley estates, such as Montgomery Place, Clermont, Olana, Mills Mansion, the Vanderbilt Mansion, and the Roosevelt Home and Museum, all of which are open to the public. Among other nearby attractions are the Culinary Institute of America, Cary Arboretum, Innisfree Garden, country auctions, wineries, pick-your-own vegetable and fruit farms, nature sanctuaries, and historic river ports. Special events during the Bard Music Festival include daily riverboat excursions and tours of the Hudson River houses. Click here to see video highlights from Bard SummerScape 2017.

Highlights of Bard SummerScape 2018:

  • The 29th BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL presents “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World,” an illuminating series of chamber, vocal, choral, and orchestral concerts – as well as pre-concert talks and panel discussions – devoted to examining the life and times of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908). Featuring the composer’s own music alongside that of his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, twelve concert programs address such themes as music under Tsarist autocracy, the legacy of Pushkin, nationalism and exoticism, and the folk traditions of the Russian Empire. Shedding new light on Russian Romanticism by way of a composer known by a mere handful of works in the West, despite the pivotal part he played in shaping Russian musical style, the music festival provides the inspiration for other SummerScape highlights (Aug 10–12; 17–19).
  • OPERA: This year’s opera presentation is a rare new American production of The Demon, a grand opera by Rimsky-Korsakov’s compatriot and contemporary Anton Rubinstein. Conceived expressly for SummerScape 2018, Bard’s original staging is by European Opera Prize-winner Thaddeus Strassberger. Golden Mask-nominated soprano Olga Tolkmit and award-winning baritone Efim Zavalny head an all-Russian cast, and, as in previous years, the performances will be anchored by Leon Botstein, the Bard Festival Chorale, and the American Symphony Orchestra (July 27–Aug 5).
  • DANCE: Bard is thrilled to present the world premiere of Four Quartets, an interdisciplinary new commission from choreographer Pam Tanowitz, composer Kaija Saariaho, and visual artist Brice Marden. This marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of the iconic S. Eliot poem cycle from which it takes its name, and the performance will feature eight members of the Pam Tanowitz Dance company, electronica combined with live music from Brooklyn orchestral collective The Knights, and a complete narration of Eliot’s poems by Tony-nominated actress Kathleen Chalfant (July 6–8).
  • THEATER: Bard presents a dark new take on Leonard Bernstein’s rarely performed gem Peter Pan, newly commissioned from Olivier Award-winning director Christopher Alden to honor the composer’s centennial. Alden’s psychologically gripping new treatment reveals the darker side of J.M. Barrie’s childhood fantasy, with original choreography by Jack Ferver, set to Bernstein’s joyous, shimmering score (June 28–July 22; reviewing press invited to attend beginning July 5).
  • FILM: This year’s series, “Rimsky-Korsakov and the Poetry of Cinema,” explores the rich and varied cinematic legacy of the composer and his compatriots Glinka, Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, and Mussorgsky, who – through their use of Russian nationalism, exoticism, and folk music – have long represented a source of inspiration for filmmakers worldwide (July 26–Aug 19).
  • PLUS: Back for a 13th magnificent summer, Bard’s one-of-a-kind Belgian Spiegeltent offers an intimate venue for food, beverages, cutting-edge cabaret, live jazz, and the chance to relax with festival artists. This season’s festivities will be hosted by returning Spiegeltent favorite and Tony nominee Justin Vivian Bond, hailed as “the greatest cabaret artist of this generation” (New Yorker).

Click here to download high-resolution photos.


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 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.

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© 21C Media Group, March 2018

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