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Bard SummerScape continues with Bitter Sweet and Bard Music Festival

The 2011 Bard SummerScape festival continues this week with more performances of its triumphant new production of Richard Strauss’s opera Die Liebe der Danae (Aug 3, 5 and 7) and the opening of its new production of Noël Coward’s Bitter Sweet (August 4 – 14).  Soon after, the 22nd annual Bard Music Festival opens with the first of two weekends exploring “Sibelius and His World”.  Weekend One, “Imagining Finland”, takes place from August 12 – 14, beginning with a Friday night concert by Leon Botstein and the resident American Symphony Orchestra that will feature Sibelius’s rousing patriotic anthem Finlandia and Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5.  The Saturday evening concert with the same forces features the Finnish composer’s rarely heard choral symphony, Kullervo.
Bard SummerScape’s production of Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae is the first fully-staged New York production of the composer’s penultimate opera. With set designs by the renowned Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and Mimi Lien, the opera stars soprano Meagan Miller and is directed by dynamic young opera and theater director Kevin Newbury; Miller and Newbury both made their SummerScape debuts when the opera opened last Friday to great acclaim.  The New York Times called it a “beautiful performance… directed with imagination and emotional nuance by Kevin Newbury… Exhilarating and moving, ‘Danae’ has found its moment.”  Musical America noted, “‘Die Liebe der Danae’ is much too good an opera to continue a life of semi-obscurity, and we need to see it more often. With luck, Bard’s thoughtful production will inspire others to follow suit.” “According to Parterre Box, “It was a special event, a discovery. … We haven’t heard the last of this opera,” and WQX-Aria joined the list of the opera’s fans: “Die Liebe der Danae refutes comparisons and historical context and, like its hero in Midas, demands to be loved for its spirit and soul.”
Receiving its first fully-staged production since its original run in 1929, Noël Coward’s Bitter Sweet opens at the Bard SummerScape festival for nine performances from August 4 – 14.   This new version of Bitter Sweet, commissioned by Bard SummerScape and re-imagined by its director, Michael Gieleta, scales down the original work and focuses on the dramatic texture of the story.  The cast, led by the eminent Welsh actress Siân Phillips, celebrates this example of the dramatic range that early music theatre was capable of, and vividly brings to life one of Coward’s early masterpieces. 
The world-renowned Bard Music Festival returns on August 12 – 14 with the first of two event-filled weekends exploring “Sibelius and His World”. Described by the New York Times as “part boot camp for the brain, part spa for the spirit,” the Bard Music Festival features concerts, panel discussions, pre-concert talks and films that examine the music and world of a composer and his contemporaries. The Wall Street Journal has observed that the Bard Music Festival “has long been one of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals and frequently is one of the most musically satisfying.”
Up next at Bard SummerScape:
Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Die Liebe der Danae (The Love of Danae, 1940)
Libretto: Joseph Gregor
American Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Set design by Rafael Viñoly
Danae: Meagan Miller
Jupiter: Carsten Wittmoser
Merkur: Jud Perry
Pollux: Dennis Petersen
Xanthe: Sarah Jane McMahon
Midas: Roger Honeywell
Semele: Aurora Perry
Europa: Camille Zamora
Alkmene: Jamie Van Eyck
Leda: Rebecca Ringle
Sosnoff Theater
Remaining performances:
Wednesday, August 3 at 3pm
Friday, August 5 at 7 pm
Sunday, August 7 at 3 pm
Tickets: $30, $60, $70, $90
Noël Coward (1899-1973): Bitter Sweet (1929)
Libretto: Noël Coward
Conducted by James Bagwell
Directed by Michael Gieleta
Arranged by Jack Parton
Theater Two
August 4, 6, and 11 at 8 pm
August 5, 10, 12, 13, and 14 at 3 pm
August 7 at 7 pm
Tickets: $55
Cast (in order of appearance)
Lady Shayne:  Siân Phillips
Dolly:  Marianne Rendon
Vincent: Joel Johnstone
Henry:  Brian Maxsween
Sarah/Sari: Sarah Miller
Carl: William Ferguson
Lord Shayne:  Ryan Speakman
Hugh/Tranisch:  Justin Randolph
Sir Arthur/Captain Lutte:  Joshua Jeremiah
Mrs. Millick:  Claire Simard
Manon:  Amanda Squitieri
Herr Schlick:  David Schnell
Opera Talk with James Bagwell
August 7 at 5 pm
Free and open to the public
Bard Music Festival – Weekend One:
“Sibelius and His World: Imagining Finland”
August 12–14
Bard Music Festival – Weekend Two:
“Sibelius and His World: Sibelius – Conservative or Modernist?”  
August 19–21
Bard SummerScape ticket information
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 tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit
All program information is subject to change.

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