Bard SummerScape 2011 Explores Life and Times of Jean Sibelius with Seven-Week Arts Festival in New York’s Hudson Valley

July 7 – August 21, 2011 - Includes 22nd Bard Music Festival, “Sibelius and His World”, and New York’s First Staged Production of Richard Strauss’s Opera Die Liebe der Danae

Scandinavia’s rich cultural heritage, and the question of artistic conservatism in the modernist age, will be explored at the eighth annual Bard SummerScape festival, which once again features a sumptuous tapestry of music, opera, theater, dance, film, and cabaret, keyed to the theme of the 22nd annual Bard Music Festival. Presented in the striking Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s bucolic Hudson River campus, the seven-week festival opens on July 7 with the first of four performances by Finland’s Tero Saarinen Company, and closes on August 21 with a party in Bard’s beloved Spiegeltent, which returns for the full seven weeks. This year’s Bard Music Festival explores “Sibelius and His World,” and some of the great Finnish symphonist’s most fascinating contemporaries provide other SummerScape highlights, including New York’s first fully-staged production of Richard Strauss’s 1940 opera Die Liebe der Danae; Noël Coward’s chamber opera, Bitter Sweet (1929); Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama The Wild Duck (1884); and a film festival, “Before and After Bergman: The Best of Nordic Film.”

Dubbed “part boot camp for the brain, part spa for the spirit” (New York Times), the Bard Music Festival provides the creative inspiration for SummerScape, presenting “Sibelius and His World”: a far-reaching and illuminating program of orchestral, choral, and chamber concerts, as well as pre-concert talks, panel discussions, and a symposium, all devoted to examining the life and times of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). The great Finnish composer’s stirring and evocative music drew inspiration from his homeland’s literary and oral traditions and its prodigious natural beauty, remaining defiantly tonal even during modernism’s most radical musical upheavals. The Bard Music Festival offers an intensive introduction to the world of Scandinavian music, from its luminaries to its lesser-known figures, while also contextualizing Sibelius within the wider musical world, alongside composers both conservative and modernist: fellow late-Romantics, Russian contemporaries, other “nationalist” composers, and the later orchestral writers whom Sibelius would influence. With its recognized gift for thematic programming, Bard achieves a depth and breadth of musical and cultural discovery that is truly unique. The two weekends of the Bard Music Festival will take place on August 12-14 and August 19-21.


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