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Eighth Annual Bard SummerScape Festival opens today

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The Trisha Brown Dance Company kicks off the eighth annual Bard SummerScape festival today, Thursday, July 8 at 8 pm, with the trailblazing choreographer’s most recent piece, L’Amour au théâtre (2009); two of her legendary Rauschenberg collaborations, Foray Forêt (1990) and You can see us (1995); and a duet from her 1996 piece, Twelve Ton Rose, which is set to music by Anton Webern. This performance and the company’s three subsequent SummerScape appearances (on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10, both also at 8 pm, and on Sunday, July 11 at 3 pm) form a highlight of the company’s 40th anniversary season.

As in previous years, SummerScape 2010 is keyed to the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year celebrates “Berg and His World.”  Over two weekends in August (Aug 13 – 15 and Aug 20 – 22), this “uniquely stimulating” (Los Angeles Times) and famously in-depth festival explores of the life and music of a single composer and his contemporaries with pre-concert lectures, panel discussions, expert commentaries, and a symposium.  The New York Times has called the Bard Music Festival, “Part boot camp for the brain, part spa for the spirit”.

Modernism and its roots in Vienna’s dazzling turn of the 20th century will be further illuminated by SummerScape’s other offerings in music, opera, theater, film, and cabaret. Other highlights of the seven-week festival include

  • North America’s first fully-staged production of Franz Schreker’s 1910 opera The Distant Sound (Der ferne Klang), sung in German with English subtitles. The Distant Sound is directed by Thaddeus Strassberger, whose production of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots at Bard last summer was a sensation (the Financial Times gave it five stars out of five calling it “a thriller from beginning to end.”). Leon Botstein, who led the “landmark” (Musical America) concert performance of the opera with the American Symphony Orchestra a few seasons ago, will once again conduct the orchestra in its summer home (four performances, July 30, Aug 1, 4, & 6).
  • Oscar Straus’s operetta The Chocolate Soldier, based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man, will be conducted by James Bagwell, Bard Music Festival’s Director of Choruses since 2003, who inspired glowing praise when he led SummerScape 2005’s production of Copland’s The Tender Land.  Opening on August 5 (the first of nine performances, Aug 5–15), the new production will be sung in English.  
  • Judgment Day (“Der jüngste Tag”), a gripping 1937 drama by Austro-Hungarian Ödön von Horváth, one of the most talented playwrights of his generation.  A runaway hit of last fall’s theater season in London, Judgment Day implicitly investigates the roots of Nazism among Austria-Hungary’s ordinary working people.  The new production from acclaimed young Irish director Caitriona McLaughlin, translated from the German by Academy Award-winner Christopher Hampton, will be presented in ten performances between July 14 and 25.
  • The Best of G. W. Pabst,” a film festival juxtaposing German expressionism with American film noir (15 films, July 15Aug 19).

A chronological list of these events follows below.

Many SummerScape events are presented in the acoustically superb Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River campus. Travel and Leisure has observed, “[At] Bard Summerscape…Frank Gehry’s acclaimed concert hall provides a spectacular venue for innovative fare.”

SummerScape 2010’s opening weekend also features the season’s first presentation of evening cabaret in Bard’s authentic, one-of-a-kind Belgian “tent of mirrors,” or Spiegeltent.  New York-based singer-songwriter and pianist extraordinaire Our Lady J, who wowed Spiegeltent audiences last summer, returns with her visionary, post-religious gospel music. “Our Lady J knows how to rock the house,” declares the Village Voice; as celebrity blogger Perez Hilton confirms, she is one “fierce diva!” (Friday, July 9 at 8:30 pm) 

Chronological list of SummerScape 2010 highlights

  • July 8–11   SummerScape opens with Trisha Brown Dance Company
  • July 10   Gala benefit before performance by Trisha Brown Dance Company
  • July 14–25   Ten performances of Ödön von Horváth’s drama Judgment Day
  • July 15–Aug 19   Film Festival “The Best of G. W. Pabst” (15 films)
  • July 30–Aug 6   Four performances of Schreker’s opera The Distant Sound (Der ferne Klang)
  • August 5–15   Nine performances of Oscar Straus’s operetta The Chocolate Soldier
  • August 13   Annual Bard Music Festival opening-night dinner in the Spiegeltent
  • August 13–15   Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Berg and His World: Berg and Vienna”
  • August 20–22   Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Berg and His World: Berg the European”

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 

Bard SummerScape:

Bard Music Festival:

Tickets: [email protected]; or by phone at 845-758-7900

Updates: Bard’s “e-members” get all the news in regular updates.  Click here to sign up.

All program information is subject to change.

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©21C Media Group, July 2010 

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