For many, the name of Igor Stravinsky, the iconic 20th century composer, brings to mind his most well known composition, The Rite of Spring, the powerful, pulsating, pagan-themed ballet that riled up audiences 100 years ago. Stravinsky effectively upended traditional composition, tossing out conventional harmonies and rhythms like liberating a scenic painting from its frame, the colors flying randomly off the canvas. Over the course of his life (1882 – 1971) Stravinsky dramatically altered how music was written, and changed forever how we listen to contemporary music.
Taking a deep, reverent bow to Stravinsky is the 24th annual season of the Bard Music Festival, which is part of SummerScape 2013 at Bard’s glorious Hudson River campus. (July 5 — August 18). “Stravinsky and His World” is a powerhouse of performances beefed up by a varietal trove of masterful offerings: a smörgåsbord of eleven concerts, film, drama, pre-concert lectures, panel discussions and expert commentary. These programs are spaced over two weekends in August entitled “The 20th Century’s Most Celebrated Composer” and “The Classical Heritage.” They include a wide chronological span of music by Stravinsky and by his contemporaries.
Launching the season and celebrating the centenary of The Rite of Spring is A Rite, a new dance-theater piece co-commissioned by SummerScape and conceived, directed, and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, Anne Bogart and Janet Wong. Set to the music of The Rite of Spring, the two performances are on Saturday, July 6th and Sunday, July 7th and will grace the stage at the silvery, Frank Gehry designed Fisher Center, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Stravinsky unleashed a new language of sound, inspiring not only generations of composers and choreographers, but also writers and artists. Bard’s all encompassing ode to Stravinsky will include the opera Oresteia by Stravinsky’s compatriot Sergey Taneyev (1856 – 1915). This production at the Fisher Center is the first time this towering work will be staged in its entirety outside of Russia since its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1895. The five performances will take place on July 26, 28, 31, August 2, 4 and will feature the festival’s resident American Symphony Orchestra with music director Leon Botstein. Botstein leads concert performances of three of Stravinsky’s own operatic works: Mavra (August 11), and a pairing of Oedipus Rex and Perséphone (August 18).
Another first for “Stravinsky and His World” is the world première of The Master and Margarita (1937) after the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, Stravinsky’s contemporary. Bulgakov’s satirical vision of the Soviet Union under Stalin was so acute that the novel was suppressed until 1967. The internationally renowned Hungarian film and theater director János Szasz will apply his opulent theatrical vision to this new stage adaptation of Bulgakov’s beloved novel, now justly regarded as one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century. The play will be presented in ten performances between July 11 and 21.
“Between Traditions: Stravinsky’s Legacy and Russian Émigré Cinema,” Bard’s film festival, highlights the composer’s substantial influence on 20th century cinema in two overlapping parts: a retrospective of Russian émigré filmmaking and a series of films directly influenced by the composer’s work. Opening the film festival on July 12 in the Ottaway Film Center is The Red Shoes (1948). Some of the silent films are being shown for the first time in the United States. The second phase of the festival begins with one of the defining films of the 1920’s, Marcel L’Herbier’s L’inhumaine (1924), which includes a scene depicting the famous riot in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées at the première of Le Sacre du Printemps. Other films that reflect Stravinsky’s work are by such known directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette. The film festival ends with Orpheus, La Belle Noiseuse and Three Homerics on August 3rd.
In the Bard tradition of astute academia, “Stravinsky and His World”, offers three thought-provoking panel discussions and a series of informative pre-concert talks (free to ticket holders). The last of these will be presented by this year’s Bard Scholar-in-Residence, Tamara Levitz, Professor of Musicology at UCLA.
This season, A World of Delight dwells within the Bard Spiegeltent and runs throughout Summerscape 2013, from July 5 – August 18. It’s the perfect place to kick back after an absorbing performance and soak up the atmosphere of Bard’s authentic Belgian “mirror tent” and its line up of live music, cabaret artists, and spectacular circus acts, including many old favorites. This season also features a new house band to enjoy with plenty of excellent food and drink.
For more information on SummerScape 2013, The Bard Music Festival
and “Stravinsky and His World” click here. SummerScape
For Bard SummerScape ticket information call the Fisher Center box office: 845 – 758-7900