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Bard SummerScape 2019 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. Held in New York’s idyllic Hudson River Valley on the pastoral campus of Bard College, SummerScape 2019 presents “Korngold and His World” – an intensive examination of the life and times of the Viennese prodigy whose lush Romanticism came to define the quintessential Hollywood sound – in seven weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film, cabaret, and more (June 29–Aug 18). 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 30th anniversary season of 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 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.

Highlights of Bard SummerScape 2019:

The 30th BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL presents “Korngold and His World,” an illuminating series of chamber, vocal, operatic, and orchestral concerts – as well as pre-concert talks and panel discussions – devoted to the life and times of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), the little-known but hugely influential composer who brought the voluptuous Romanticism of fin-de-siècle Vienna to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Contextualizing Korngold’s own music with that of his compatriots and contemporaries, in twelve concert programs addressing such themes as musical conservatism in the Modernist age, the impact of the Third Reich on Jewish musicians in Europe, and the development of music for film, it is the music festival that provides the inspiration for other SummerScape highlights (Aug 9-11; Aug 16-18).

OPERA: Bard is thrilled to present the long overdue American premiere of the work Korngold considered his masterpiece, The Miracle of Heliane (“Das Wunder der Heliane,” 1927). The erotically charged parable of a ruthless despot, his beautiful wife, and a messianic stranger, this grand opera receives a new production from German director Christian Räth. Starring Lithuanian soprano Ausrine Stundyte in her S. debut, the performances will be anchored, as in previous years, by Leon Botstein, the Bard Festival Chorale, and the American Symphony Orchestra (July 26–Aug 4).

DANCE: Choreographer Ronald K. Brown and his company Evidence make their festival debut with the world premiere of Grace and Mercy, a new SummerScape commission featuring a newly conceived, 21st-anniversary, all-live music version of Brown’s 1998 classic, Grace, and a new companion piece, Mercy, with live music from Grammy-nominated rock/soul singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello (July 5-7).

THEATER: SummerScape takes a contemporary look at Hollywood’s Golden Age in Acquanetta (2018), a visual and musical tour-de-force inspired by the eponymous B-movie star with a mysterious past. Drawing on the combined talents of composer and Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon, librettist Deborah Artman, and visionary director – and longtime SummerScape favorite – Daniel Fish, the production will feature Bang on a Can Opera and members of the Choir of Trinity Wall Street (July 11-21).

FILM: This year’s series, “Korngold and the Poetry of Cinema,” explores the history and development of Hollywood’s most ambitious film scores, with especial focus on Korngold’s trailblazing orchestral music for the studio films of the 1930s and ’40s. Works screened include Treasures of the Sierra Madre, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Sea Wolf, King’s Row, and 2001: A Space Odyssey (July 25–Aug 18).

SPIEGELTENT: Back for a 14th 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. Featured artists this summer include John Cameron Mitchell, Justin Vivian Bond, Lisa Fischer, Susanne Bartsch, and Nona Hendryx.

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 Auditorium, 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; 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.

Dining Packages:
Out-of-Town Package:
Save $30 on a mainstage ticket, roundtrip bus from New York City, and three-course meal.
Night Out Package:
Save $20 on a 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 2019 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 2019

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