Bard SummerScape Festival Begins July 4

Classic Arts Features   Bard SummerScape Festival Begins July 4
The annual summer series in scenic Annandale-on-Hudson celebrates the start of its 2008 season with the much anticipated world premiere of Prokofiev's original version of his Romeo & Juliet ballet.

The Mark Morris Dance Group will be the first to present the new "happy ending," incorporating recently discovered material by the Russian composer who premiered the work in the 1930s and died in 1953.

Festival press notes explain the significance of this premiere: "When conductor and ASO Music Director Leon Botstein gives the downbeat for Bard SummerScape's opening night on July 4, 2008, the audience will embark on an experience the composer Sergey Prokofiev himself never had: that of watching the original version of his Romeo and Juliet ballet, as unearthed in Russia by scholar Simon Morrison, played by the American Symphony Orchestra, choreographed by Mark Morris, and performed by the Mark Morris Dance Group."

The eclectic festival will further offer a variety of events and productions spanning such diverse art forms as dance, opera, drama, musical theatre, symphony and even circus.

A few highlights of what SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival - dubbed "Prokofiev and His World" - will serve up during the first month alone:

  • Acclaimed stage and screen actor Peter Dinklage will take on the title role in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, directed by Erica Schmidt. The first of 13 performances is on July 9.
  • July 25 marks the first performance of an opera double-bill featuring two lesser-known works by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. The 1926 King Roger tells the tale of "a 12th-century Sicilian monarch who finds his authority challenged by a mysterious shepherd who preaches a gospel of erotic abandon." The 2nd half of the bill consists of the 1931 "pastoral dance" Harnasie, the story of a peasant bride who falls in love with the outlaw leader of a band of lusty mountain bandits.
  • George and Ira Gershwin's 1931 political satire Of Thee I Sing, a Broadway cult hit not seen on the Great White Way since the Truman Administration, will begin a nine-performance run August 1.
  • The Bard's famous Spiegeltent will offer a host of events including: Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Trapze (one of his lost ballets, choreographed by Christopher Williams), Radio Archaeology, Wau Wau Sisters, 08/08 New Albion Festival, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and much more.
  • As always the Spiegeltent will double as a favorite spot for festivalgoers to enjoy a meal, cocktails, cabaret performance or late-night DJ dancing.

Full information on the festival may be found at:

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