Seven-Week Festival Opens on July 8, Exploring Life and Times of Alban Berg Through Music, Opera, Theater, Dance, Film, and the Spiegeltent, All in New York’s Hudson Valley
SummerScape 2010 Includes 21st Season of World-Renowned Bard Music Festival, “Berg and His World”, and First Staged Production in North America of Franz Schreker’s Haunting 1910 Opera, The Distant Sound
“Seven weeks of cultural delight.” – International Herald Tribune
“One of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals.” – Wall Street Journal
Modernism and its roots in Vienna’s dazzling turn-of-the-20th-century culture will be explored at the eighth annual Bard SummerScape festival, which once again features a rich tapestry of music, opera, theater, dance, film, and cabaret, keyed to the theme of the 21st annual Bard Music Festival. Presented in the acoustically superb Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River campus, the seven-week festival opens on July 8 with the first of four performances by the Trisha Brown Dance Company, and closes on August 22 with a party in Bard’s beloved Spiegeltent, which returns for the full seven weeks. This year’s Bard Music Festival explores “Berg and His World”, and some of the Austrian composer’s most gifted and thought-provoking contemporaries provide other SummerScape highlights, which include: North America’s first fully-staged production of Franz Schreker’s 1910 opera The Distant Sound (Der ferne Klang); Oscar Straus’s operetta The Chocolate Soldier; Judgment Day, by playwright Ödön von Horváth; and “The Best of G. W. Pabst,” a film festival juxtaposing German expressionism with American film noir.
The “uniquely stimulating” (Los Angeles Times) Bard Music Festival provides the creative inspiration for SummerScape, presenting “Berg and His World”: a far-reaching and illuminating program of orchestral, choral, and chamber concerts, as well as preconcert talks, a panel discussion, a symposium, and special events, all devoted to examining the life and times of Alban Berg (1885-1935). Berg’s deeply expressive music builds on the rich Viennese tradition beginning with Mozart, extending through Schubert to Mahler, and to his own teacher, Schoenberg. By taking in the full spectrum of musical innovation in the first decades of the 20th century, not merely considering Berg’s music within the narrower confines of the Second Viennese School, this year’s Bard Music Festival brings to life one of music’s – and European culture’s – richest and most exciting and periods. The two weekends of the Bard Music Festival will take place on August 13—15 and August 20—22 (see further details below).
The American Symphony Orchestra, under its music director, Leon Botstein, is in residence at Bard throughout SummerScape, performing opera, concerts, and a special oratorio presentation. Bard’s annual opera will be the first fully-staged U.S. production of The Distant Sound (Der ferne Klang, 1910), by Berg’s compatriot Franz Schreker. Returning to helm the opera’s four performances (July 30, August 1, 4, & 6) is visionary director Thaddeus Strassberger, who also directed last season’s resounding success, Meyerbeer’s grand opera Les Huguenots. This summer, Bard also presents Oscar Straus’s operetta The Chocolate Soldier (1908). This charming chamber opera’s nine performances (August 5—15) are directed by Will Pomerantz and conducted by James Bagwell.
In theater, Bard will present Judgment Day, 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 will be presented in ten performances between July 14 and 25, directed by Caitriona McLaughlin.
A significant dance performance has opened SummerScape each year since 2005. This year, the Trisha Brown Dance Company will launch the festival on July 8 with two of Ms. Brown’s famous Robert Rauschenberg collaborations, one of her latest dances, and a duet from her 1996 piece, Twelve Ton Rose, which is set to music by Berg’s colleague Anton Webern (four performances, July 8—11).
SummerScape’s annual offerings also include a film festival, a series of international films tapping into the season’s theme. This year’s festival, “The Best of G. W. Pabst”, presents examples both of the great German expressionist director’s work and of the American film noir classics he influenced. Screenings are on Thursdays and Sundays, and tickets are only $8 (July 15—August 19).
Imported from Europe for its fifth SummerScape season, Bard’s authentic and sensationally popular Spiegeltent is a handmade pavilion decorated with mirrors, centered on a theater-in-the-round that doubles as a dance floor. Offering food, beverages, and entertainment on Thursdays through Sundays throughout SummerScape, the mirrored tent is the festival’s center for fun and refreshments. During weekend days the glittering “tent of dreams” hosts family programs, and in the evening there’s a lineup of cutting-edge cabaret and musical performances, with post-show dancing and drinks (July 9—August 22).