It is the most elegant, scholarly, and fun arts festival in America, organized under the big umbrella of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.
SummerScape 2012 will run for seven glorious weeks from July 6 to August 19. And if there’s not enough opera, music, theater, dance, film or cabaret for the visitor, it’s only a short drive over to the Berkshires and Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow and four world class theatre companies. And there is experimental theatre, music and dance there, too, with the Berkshire Fringe Festival, at the Daniels Arts Center in Great Barrington. Their schedule which kicks off July 23, 2012 will be announced in June. We will post it as soon as details are announced. Maybe even before. Stay tuned.
The 2012 Music Festival celebrates French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, whose remarkable career shaped not only the history of music, but also the ways in which that history was transmitted and communicated to the public. The two weeks of concerts and surrounding events are many and of such depth we have devoted a separate preview and schedule of concerts here.
To our way of thinking, the top event of 2012 is The King in Spite of Himself, an opéra-comique about a reluctant ruler by Saint-Saëns’s contemporary Emmanuel Chabrier.
Or maybe it is this really unusual French dance company that seamlessly blends the baroque and the contemporary. No, wait, it is a production of Molière’s hilarious comedy The Imaginary Invalid. Which to choose. Oh, and don’t forget the unusual and provocative film festival, and the lively cabaret and eclectic musical acts of the Spiegeltent. Ultimately, Bard SummerScape is a festival like no other and deserves your consideration as you plan your summer cultural itinerary.
Our more detailed rundown follows.
THE KING IN SPITE OF HIMSELF
(LE ROI MALGRÉ LUI)
Friday, July 27, 7 pm
Sunday, July 29, 3 pm
Wednesday, August 1, 3 pm
Friday, August 3, 7 pm
Sunday, August 5, 3 pm
Tickets: $30, 60, 70, 90
Call 845-758-7948 for information about premium seating with special benefits, including reserved parking.
The Opera Talk for The King in Spite of Himself will take place at 1 pm on Sunday, July 29 in Sosnoff Theater. Free and open to the public.
Music by Emmanuel Chabrier
Sung in French, with English supertitles
American Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Thaddeus Strassberger
Set Design by Kevin Knight
Costumes by Mattie Ullrich
Lighting by Simon Corder
A coproduction with the Wexford Festival Opera.
“From the wondrous opening fanfare for brass and winds, with its wayward phrase structure and playful hints of medieval harmony, the score is glorious.”—Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
It’s always been lonely at the top, but has any monarch been lonelier than Henri de Valois? In Emmanuel Chabrier’s witty comic opera, this hapless 16th-century French noble has been chosen by the Poles to be their king, although various factions are already plotting against him. Moreover, poor Henri is repelled by the weather, the food, and the fashion, and pines for his milieu in Anjou. Farce ensues when he tries to eschew the crown, but fate is sometimes easier to reluctantly accept than to escape.
A contemporary of Camille Saint-Saëns, the subject of this year’s Bard Music Festival, Chabrier composed two highly regarded orchestral works, España and Joyeuse marche, as well as operas, songs, and piano music. Of The King in Spite of Himself, Maurice Ravel declared that its opening bars forever changed the course of French harmony; indeed, Ravel confessed to having been influenced more by Chabrier than any other composer. This production of The King in Spite of Himself, the first staged revival of Chabrier’s 1887 version, is directed by Thaddeus Strassberger, who also directed Bard SummerScape’s acclaimed productions of Les Huguenots (2009) and The Distant Sound (2010).
Special support for this program is provided by Emily H. Fisher and John Alexander. Opera Talks are presented in memory of Sylvia Redlick Green.
COMPAGNIE FÊTES GALANTES
LET MY JOY REMAIN (QUE MA JOIE DEMEURE)
Friday, July 6, 8 pm
Saturday, July 7, 8 pm
Sunday, July 8, 3 pm
Tickets: $25, 40, 45, 55
Choreography by Béatrice Massin
Light, sparkling, full of soft bubbles that are about to burst at any time. The end of the show has to be read as a breath of pleasure in the right respect of Bach’s spirit and musicality.—Le Monde
Founded in 1993 by Béatrice Massin, Compagnie fêtes galantes elaborates on the many aspects of baroque dance, wedding them to contemporary choreography. By avoiding any attempt at reconstitution, fêtes galantes brings forward, in our time, a kind of baroque dancing that engages and appeals to a contemporary sensibility.
Massin was drawn to baroque dance by the music of the period, which she describes as being full of “movement, energy, and vitality.” Accordingly, Let My Joy Remain, the work that she and her dancers are presenting on this program, is built from phrases that come together in canons and fugues, subjects and counter-subjects, and danced to the music of J. S. Bach.
Running time for the program is approximately 60 minutes.
THE IMAGINARY INVALID BY MOLIÈRE
LE MALADE IMAGINAIRE
Friday, July 13, 8 pm
Saturday, July 14, 3 and 8 pm
Sunday, July 15, 3 pm
Wednesday, July 18, 3 pm
Thursday, July 19, 8 pm
Friday, July 20, 8 pm
Saturday, July 21, 3 and 8 pm
Sunday, July 22, 3 pm
Directed by Erica Schmidt
Costumes by Andrea Lauer
Set Design by Laura Jellinek
Lighting by David Weiner
“Hypocrisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtue.”— Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, who wrote and achieved immortality as Molière, made his dramatic debut in a converted tennis court and went on to direct and perform in his own comedies under the patronage of King Louis XIV. In such satirical romps as The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and The Miser, his nimble way of skewering the rich, powerful, and pretentious, as well as hypocrites of every stripe and persuasion, both delighted and outraged the audiences of his day, and the plays have lost none of their freshness and bite more than three centuries later.
The Imaginary Invalid—Molière’s final play—elicits comedy from the phantom agonies of Argan, a housebound hypochondriac who schemes to marry his daughter to a doctor. (In more than a touch of irony, the playwright, while acting in the title role, suffered a hemorrhage and died a few hours later.) Erica Schmidt, who directed three previous SummerScape offerings—The Tender Land, The Sorcerer, and Uncle Vanya—leads a spirited cast in this production.
This performance has been underwritten by the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation.
BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL
SAINT-SAËNS AND HIS WORLD
The career of Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) spanned the course of French music from Gounod to Ravel, and his prodigious and stylistically varied output helps to define our understanding of the classical, the romantic, and the modern in music. Over the course of two weekends, the 23rd Bard Music Festival will explore the life and times of the French composer, with performances of many of his masterworks—including his Third Symphony—and works by his contemporaries.
August 10–12 and August 17–19
A separate story and complete calendar of events for this extensive music festival can be found here.
FILM FESTIVAL: FRANCE AND THE COLONIAL IMAGINATION
All films are screened at the Ottaway Film Center
Thursdays and Sundays, July 12–August 12, 7 pm
The SummerScape 2012 film festival offers 10 highly celebrated films, made on an international scale across several decades, which offer marvelously diverse perspectives on how French colonialism and its aftermath have been cinematically depicted by major artists. The three films from the classic sound era of the 1930s and ’40s—Morocco, Pépé le Moko, and Casablanca—present unabashedly romantic visions of North Africa under the height of French domination, when Europeans (especially males) thought of the region as an exotic place to go into hiding. All three works have indelibly stamped themselves into the popular imagination, perhaps most memorably by way of their charismatic stars. In stark contrast, the works of Resnais and Pontecorvo—Muriel and The Battle of Algiers, respectively—represent the politically charged and aesthetically innovative period of the 1960s that was much troubled by the violent means of holding on to empire. In the same decade, the Senegalese novelist Ousmane Sembane returned to his native country and realized that his French-language stories could only be read by the elite. Turning to filmmaking to reach a wider audience, he became arguably the most important figure in the founding of an African cinema. His films Xala and Camp de Thiaroye portray both colonial and postcolonial West Africa from an indigenous point of view.
The series also contains three films by distinguished directors who are very much still active on the contemporary scene. Michael Haneke, of Austria, has made a number of films designed to get under the skin of the audience in a rather infamously irritating manner and to leave it with no easy answers to complex sociopolitical issues. Among other possible readings, Caché can be interpreted as a kind of allegorical study of a contemporary society repressing the memory of its imperialist past. Claire Denis, who was raised in colonial Africa because of a father who was a civil servant, takes a similarly probing approach to social issues in a way that often rethinks the borderlines between European and non-European identity. Though the films that she has set in Africa derive from the actual landscape and a lived experience, the radical aestheticism of a work like Beau Travail gives it a dreamlike, erotic power to the extent that a kind of neoromanticism is evoked.
Finally, when it comes to the French empire, it would have been a mistake to leave out Indochina. Rithy Panh is a native Cambodian whose family suffered horribly under the Khmer Rouge. He escaped to Thailand and then made his way to Paris, where he eventually studied filmmaking. He returned to Cambodia in the 1990s to make a series of acclaimed films. Though highly regarded, The Sea Wall was unfortunately never distributed in the United States. Significantly enough, as if to underscore the complexity of perspectives in this film series, it is based on a novel by Marguerite Duras, the widely read French author, who herself had been born and raised in Indochina until the age of 17.
Bard SummerScape is pleased to present all titles on 35mm film (whenever possible).
July 12 Morocco
July 15 Muriel
July 19 The Battle of Algiers
July 22 Xala
July 26 Pépé le Moko
July 29 The Sea Wall
August 2 Camp de Thiaroye
August 5 Beau travail
August 9 Casablanca
August 12 Caché
SPIEGELTENT FUN FOR EVERYONE!
Once again, Bard’s glittering “Mirror Tent” is the stage for a rich array of performers, from dauntless acrobats to bawdy cabaret acts to musicians without boundaries. Before and after performances, enjoy light fare, meals, and drinks selected from the Hudson Valley’s farms, dairies, wineries, and breweries. As a place to meet friends, bring the kids, or relax between shows, the Spiegeltent is hard to top.
Nik Quaife returns to SummerScape 2012 as Spiegel Maestro.
Join our e-mail list—Fisher Center e-members are first in line for ticket discounts and special offers.
Saturday, July 14 at 5:30 pm
2012 SUMMERSCAPE GALA BENEFIT
A festive dinner in the Spiegeltent precedes the performance ofThe Imaginary Invalid in Theater Two. After the show, the celebration moves back to the Spiegeltent for a postperformance party with the cast and special guests. Benefit tickets include dinner, premium seats for The Imaginary Invalid performance, the post-performance party in the Spiegeltent, and the reward of supporting the Fisher Center.For further information or to reserve your tickets, contact the Box Office at 845-758-7900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: The Spiegeltent will be closed for regular dining on the evening of the Gala.
Fridays and Saturdays
July 6 – August 18
Fun cabaret, circus, comedy, crooning, and more.
Tickets: $25 (21+ only)
|July 6||Fishtank Ensemble|
|July 7||Martha Wainwright|
|July 13||Les Chauds Lapins|
|July 14||Jean Brassard|
|July 20||Wau Wau Sisters|
|July 21||Wau Wau Sisters|
|July 27||Weimar NYC|
|July 28||Weimar NYC|
|August 3||Mandingo Ambassadors|
|August 4||Jackie Hoffman|
|August 10||Bindlestiff Family Cirkus|
|August 11||Bindlestiff Family Cirkus|
|August 17||Two Man Gentleman Band|
|August 18||Le Chat Lunatique|
Fridays and Saturdays
July 6 – August 18, 10:30 pm – 1 am
July 14 and August 10, 11 pm – 1 am
Tickets: $7 (pay at the door; waived for SummerScape ticket holders; 21+ only)SpiegelClub offers a late-night bar and dance floor with New York City and local Hudson Valley DJs spinning a variety of tunes on a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. It’s an exhilarating summer setting where audiences and artists gather under the disco ball to enjoy a range of dance music from pop to hip-hop, funk, and jazz, as well as the occasional theme night (swing, 80s, and more). Drinks and snacks are available throughout the evening.
Fridays with resident DJ Jordan Matthews
Saturdays with a rotating roster of guest DJs
SUMMERSCAPE CLOSING PARTY
Sunday, August 19
July 6 – August 19
DINE AT THE SPIEGELTENT
Lunch: Saturdays and Sundays, 1–3 pm
Dinner: Thursday through Sundays, 5:30–8 pmEnjoy classic summer fare—burgers and brats from the grill, fresh salads, gourmet ice cream, and handcrafted beers and wines from the Hudson Valley region. Dine indoors or alfresco in the lovely garden. Reservations recommended for dining inside: call the Box Office at 845-758-7900.
Please note: On Sunday, August 12 and Sunday, August 19, dining will be available at the Spiegeltent from 1 to 8 pm (outdoor dining only from 3:30 to 5 pm on August 12). The Spiegeltent will be closed for dinner on July 14 and August 10.
Sunday, August 19 at 8:30 pm
SUMMERSCAPE CLOSING NIGHT: FREE DANCE PARTY!
Free admission for all! Celebrate the close of an amazing season with us—dance to music under the tent, or under the stars in the lovely SpiegelGarden. Drinks and food will be available for purchase.
Ticket Information for SummerScape 2012
Ticket and Subscription Information, Discounts, Policies and Ordering is available now on the Bard Website (fishercenter.bard.edu/tickets).