Tuesday 20 February 2024

From Harald en Italie to Le prophète in New York: 2024 Bard Summerscape focuses on Berlioz and his world

Fisher Center at Bard College (Photo: Peter Aaron '68/Esto)
Fisher Center at Bard College (Photo: Peter Aaron '68/Esto) 

The Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in the Hudson Valley, New York City, presents an annual Summerscape festival and this year there are eight weeks of opera, theatre, dance and a music festival from 20 June to 18 August 2024. The theme of the music festival is Berlioz and His World. Alongside wide-ranging concerts of music by Berlioz and his contemporaries, there is a rare staging of Meyerbeer's Le prophète (26 July to 4 August) directed by Christian Räth, with the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein and featuring Robert Watson (Siegmund in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production of Die Walküre at the Staatsoper, Berlin) in the title role plus Jennifer Feinstein as Fidès. 

Meyerbeer's Le prophète featured at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918 as a vehicle for Enrico Caruso, and returned in 1977 with James McCracken and Marilyn Horne, since then I am not sure whether the opera has had a performance in the USA.

In concert there is a chance to hear not only Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique but the far rarer Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie: monodrame lyrique, plus songs, the Te Deum, selections from Les TroyensLe mort d’OphélieHarold en Italie and La damnation de Faust, alongside music by Reicha, Weber, Le Sueur, Spontini, Thomas, Gluck, Auber, Meyerbeer, Rossini, Liszt, Wagner, Saint-Saens, Bizet, Faure, Viardot, Farrenc, Bertin, Grandval, Cherubini, Paganini, Halevy, Adam, Strauss, Ernst, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Hiller, Gottschalk, Raff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Varese and Messiaen.

Full details from the Fisher Center website.

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