Bard SummerScape 2012 Presents Two Performances from the Belle Époque France, 7/27

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Reviving important but neglected operas is one of the ways the Bard SummerScape festival paints a faithfully-nuanced portrait of each past age, and this year's exploration of "Saint-Saëns and His World" is no exception. To enrich its immersion in the music of Belle Époque France, with all its trademark opulence and emotional richness, Bard presents the first staged revival of the original 1887 version of The King in Spite of Himself (Le roi malgré lui) by Saint-Saëns's compatriot and contemporary Emmanuel Chabrier.

The production, starring the Liam Bonner, will receive a contemporary treatment from Thaddeus Strassberger, director of SummerScape's previous hit productions of Les Huguenots and The Distant Sound. The opera's five performances (July 27 & 29; August 1, 3, & 5) involve the festival's resident American Symphony Orchestra with music director Leon Botstein.

This summer, Botstein also leads an all-too-rare concert performance of Saint-Saëns's own grand opera Henry VIII, which will bring the 23rd annual Bard Music Festival – indeed, the entire seven-week Bard SummerScape festival – to a thrilling close on Sunday, August 19.

The performance will showcase soprano Ellie Dehn, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway, and Juno Award-winning tenor John Tessier, supported by the Bard Festival Chorale with James Bagwell, Music Director of the Collegiate Chorale and Bard Music Festival's Director of Choruses since 2003. With the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein, the presentation on August 19 will follow a pre-concert talk by French music specialist Hugh MacDonald, General Editor of the Complete Edition of the Works of Hector Berlioz.

For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit www.fishercenter.bard.edu.



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