Press Room

Renowned architect Rafael Viñoly returns to Bard SummerScape

World-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly returns to Bard SummerScape for the Festival’s – and New York’s – first fully-staged production of Richard Strauss’s opera, Die Liebe der Danae, for five performances beginning July 29 and running through August 7.   Part of the festival’s 2011 exploration of “Sibelius and His World,” Die Liebe der Danae will feature in the title role soprano Meagan Miller (a grand finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions), with Leon Botstein conducting the American Symphony Orchestra and stage direction by Kevin Newbury.  Viñoly has designed the sets for this new production – his second for Bard SummerScape – and the first since his much-lauded creations for the 2004 presentation of Shostakovich’s The Nose, a production called “top-flight” by the Wall Street Journal.
Classical music and opera have been a love and a passion for Viñoly his entire life.  Born in Uruguay in 1944 (and a New York resident since 1979), Viñoly grew up in a family with a strong connection to music:  his father was a director for the National Opera in Uruguay, and Viñoly himself studied piano from an early age.  Even now he owns a number of pianos, and he continues to play regularly. But in his late teens he chose to pursue a career in architecture instead of music.  Viñoly reflects:
“I have always been interested in opera.  At a certain point, though, you have to make choices, some of which you come to regret!  But music has remained an important part of my life in general, and I’m grateful that I have been able to find a way to use what I know about architecture to create musical spaces.”
In addition to his two opera productions for Bard SummerScape, Viñoly designed the sets for Chicago Opera Theater’s 2007 production of Claudio Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses.  He was unfamiliar with Richard Strauss’s Danae when Bard first approached him about it, but the opportunity to work there again with Leon Botstein appealed to him immensely.  Viñoly explains:
“One of the fabulous characteristics of Leon’s work is that he’s always finding new – or new-old material – and unpublished or less-performed pieces.  Amazingly, Strauss’s rarely performed Danae is one of them.”
He noted further:
“It’s a wonderful environment there at Bard.  I love the collaborative process, especially when I am working with such a talented set designer as Mimi Lien.  Working on an opera is so different from the work we do as architects, which is limited by various requirements and a complex set of restrictions.  Working in the theater gives you the freedom for the creation of magic.  It is really quite extraordinary.  It’s very different from what architects do, but there are some obvious connections.  I enjoy it enormously and will always find time to do it.”
Viñoly describes his tastes in opera as “very eclectic,” noting, “I love good music, and am not restricted to any kind, or period.  If pushed to name favorite operas and composers I’d like to work with, I could say that I have always wanted to do Gluck, Wagner and Berg.  Working in opera is such a wonderful opportunity for me to get deeply engaged in this extraordinary music that means so much to me.”
About Rafael Viñoly
Born in Uruguay and raised in Argentina, Rafael Viñoly has been practicing architecture for over 45 years. As principal of Rafael Viñoly Architects PC (founded in 1983 in New York), he has completed many critically and publicly-praised buildings throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.  He has also practiced in Africa and in the Middle East.  Viñoly is known as an architect of imagination and rigor with a proven capacity to create beloved civic, cultural, and institutional spaces.  He teaches widely and founded a training and research program within the firm. 
Among Viñoly’s most significant projects are the Tokyo International Forum; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia; the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia; the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh; and Curve – a performing arts centre in Leicester, United Kingdom.  He recently completed the Master Plan for the Abu Dhabi Campus for New York University in the United Arab Emirates and the Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay.  He is currently working on the Battersea Power Station Master Plan and the 20 Fenchurch Street Tower in London; the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston; the New Stanford Hospital in California; as well as a wide range of commercial, academic and civic schemes around the world. 

Opera and operetta at SummerScape 2011
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 Mimi Lien and 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: TBA
Sosnoff Theater
July 29 and August 5 at 7 pm
July 31, and August 3 and 7 at 3 pm
Tickets: $30, $60, $70, $90
Opera Talk with Leon Botstein
July 31 at 1 pm
Free and open to the public
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 7 at 7 pm
August 5, 10, 12, 13, and 14 at 3 pm
Tickets: $55
Opera Talk with James Bagwell
August 7 at 5 pm
Free and open to the public
Bard SummerScape ticket information
For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit

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