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THE SECOND SEASON OF BARD SUMMERSCAPE, EXPANDED TO RUN FROM JULY 8 TO AUGUST 22, FEATURES AN EXTRAORDINARY NEW SEASON OF OPERA, MUSIC, THEATER AND FILM

Mark Primoff
845-758-7412
primoff@bard.edu
08-22-2004

SUMMERSCAPE 2004 FEATURES THE 15TH ANNUAL BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL—"SHOSTAKOVICH AND HIS WORLD"—EXAMINING THE RUSSIAN COMPOSER OVER TWO WEEKENDS OF CONCERTS, PANEL DISCUSSIONS, AND OTHER SPECIAL EVENTS

SHOSTAKOVICH'S RARELY HEARD COMIC OPERA, THE NOSE, GETS A NEW PRODUCTION DIRECTED BY FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO, WITH STAGE DESIGNS BY RAFAEL VI„OLY; SHOSTAKOVICH'S MUSICAL, MOSCOW: CHERRY TREE TOWERS, RECEIVES ITS U.S. PREMIERE; FURTHER SUMMERSCAPE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE A CELEBRATION OF GOGOL, INCLUDING VALERY FORKIN'S PRODUCTION OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL; A NEW CHAMBER OPERA BY MEL MARVIN — GUEST FROM THE FUTURE; PUPPETS FROM ST. PETERSBURG; FILMS FROM RUSSIA, AND MORE

BARD COLLEGE'S CELEBRATED NEW FRANK GEHRY—DESIGNED RICHARD B. FISHER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS IS SUMMERSCAPE'S PRIMARY VENUE

"Bard, under the leadership of Leon Botstein, has ended up with what may be the best small concert hall in the United States."
The New Yorker

"Already SummerScape looks to be the most important American festival since Lincoln Center started its summer festival seven years ago."
Los Angeles Times

"With the addition of the Fisher Center at Bard É the Hudson River Valley is on its way to becoming one of the premier cultural destinations in the nation."
— Boston Globe

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College has announced the second season of its diverse SummerScape festival, featuring an astonishing array of opera, music, theater, dance and film, and the 15th annual Bard Music Festival: "Shostakovich and His World," in a newly expanded season running from July 8 through August 22. This year's Bard Music Festival — focusing on Russian composer Dmitrii Shostakovich (1906 -1975) — will take place over two concentrated three-day weekends between August 13 and 22, with ten concerts ranging from chamber works to full orchestral programs.

SummerScape highlights include Shostakovich's rarely heard comic opera The Nose (based on a Gogol story) and his only musical, Moscow: Cherry Tree Towers, a Soviet Rent, following the lives of new residents of a Muscovite paradise — a communal housing project. Francesca Zambello will direct both works in her double debut at Bard. SummerScape will place a second great Russian creative talent under the magnifying glass this year: Nikolai Gogol (1809 - 52), many of whose extraordinary stories are to be presented in various forms, including performances of his two-act play, The Inspector General, and theatrical versions of his stories The Overcoat and Nevsky Prospekt. SummerScape will also feature a new chamber opera, Guest from the Future, by Mel Marvin; and a Russian film festival featuring films with scores by Shostakovich and stories by Gogol. Among the guest artists will be several companies from St. Petersburg, including the Alexandriinsky Theatre, and an international roster of soloists, chamber musicians, directors, and actors. The American Symphony Orchestra, under its music director, Leon Botstein, is in residence.

* * *

SummerScape opens on July 8 with Nikolai Gogol's classic satire, The Inspector General, hailed by Vladimir Nabokov as "the greatest play written in Russian." Directed by Valery Fokin, Bard's four performances — in the Sosnoff Theater — star the Russian actor Alexei Devotchenko as a penniless rake confused with a government official.

The Festival's first performance of the Shostakovich opera The Nose will be given on July 28. Francesca Zambello — one of opera's most widely acclaimed directors — has recruited singers she has worked with in Russia and elsewhere in Europe for this thrilling new adventure. Famed architect Rafael Vi¯oly is the set designer for the three-act opera, based on a famous short story by Nikolai Gogol and composed in 1927-28. In this hilarious comic opera, a petty official awakens one morning to find that his nose has disappeared from his face and is parading around town in the uniform of a more senior official. The five performances will be in Russian with English titles in the Fisher Center's Sosnoff Theater, which has received accolades from writers worldwide. A critic for the Los Angeles Times wrote last year, "The 900-seat Sosnoff Theater, in its first outing as an opera house, proved an acoustic jewel with voices and orchestra alike sounding clear and immediate."

SummerScape's two other music-theater presentations — Shostakovich's only musical Moscow: Cherry Tree Towers (also directed by Zambello) and the new chamber opera by Mel Marvin, Guest from the Future — will be performed in the Fisher Center's Theater Two. Guest from the Future is based on the true story of a love affair in postwar Leningrad between philosopher Isaiah Berlin and poet Anna Akhmatova. Written by Mel Marvin (music) and Jonathan Levi (libretto), and directed by David Chambers, it is a follow-up to the creative team's Don Juan in Prague, presented at last year's inaugural SummerScape. Guest from the Future premieres on July 22, with seven performances to follow. Moscow: Cherry Tree Towers was named after a notorious Moscow housing development described in the Soviet promotional material of its time as offering its inhabitants "paradise." It will premiere on August 11 with four performances to follow.

"Shostakovich and his World," the Fifteenth Annual Bard Music Festival, opens on Friday, August 13 in the Fisher Center's Sosnoff Theater, with an 8:00 pm pre-concert talk by Leon Botstein as a prelude to the first concert of the Festival. The opening night concert, Dmitrii Shostakovich: The Character and the Career, presents chamber and solo pieces by the composer, ranging from early piano dances and a jazz suite to songs and a late string quartet.

The Bard Music Festival's examination of Shostakovich, under the combined artistic directorship of Leon Botstein, Christopher H. Gibbs, and Robert Martin, falls two years before Shostakovich's centennial, and will cast light on many aspects of the composer's creative life. Ten concert programs, ranging from solo piano pieces and chamber works to full orchestral programs, will be presented over the Festival's two weekends, alongside panels and symposia, all designed to bring vividly to life the musical world of Dmitrii Shostakovich.

During Bard SummerScape, many of Shostakovich's film soundtracks will be heard over a six-week period, when the films for which he composed them will be screened. Also on the program will be filmed stories by Gogol, Soviet comedies, and special film events with readings of poetry by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Aleksandr Blok.

As in 2003, SummerScape will offer many additional presentations, including late-night cabaret-style performances in its "Nightscape" series on four Saturday evenings, and dramatic performances of Nikolai Gogol's short stories: The Overcoat by the Bulgarian clown troupe Credo (in English), Nevsky Prospekt by St. Petersburg's Potudan Theater (in Russian with English surtitles), and the Russian AKHE Theater's White Cabin (wordless physical theater). Opening night of this group, under the heading "Petersburg Tales — Diary of Gogol," is August 4, with 16 further performances through August 22.

More program details are given below. In the near future, Bard College's Fisher Center web site will have more complete information and updates on SummerScape. The site will also provide phone numbers, ticket information, and directions for getting to Bard (only 90 minutes north of Manhattan). The SummerScape box office, which begins selling tickets on May 1, 2004, can be reached at 845-758-7900. Tickets will also be available on the Fisher Center website, www.bard.edu/fishercenter.

* * *

BARD SUMMERSCAPE BY GENRE

Opera:

  • The Nose, July 28-August 7, Sosnoff Theater

Theater:

  • The Inspector General, July 8-11, Sosnoff Theater
  • Petersburg Tales — Diary of Gogol, August 4 - August 22, Resnick Drama Studio

Music Theater:

  • Guest from the Future, July 22-August 1, LUMA Theater
  • Moscow: Cherry Tree Towers, August 11-15, LUMA Theater

Music:

  • The Fifteenth Annual Bard Music Festival, Shostakovich and his World, August 13-15 and August 20-22. The opening concert on Saturday, August 13, begins at 8:30 p.m.; successive Friday evening concerts begin at 8pm. Saturday concerts are at 1:30 and 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 1.30 and 5pm, 10 programs in all, in the Fisher Center's Sosnoff Theater and Bard's Olin Hall

Film:

  • Russian Film Festival, 22 screenings, July 15 - August 21, Film Center
  • Some of the films have soundtracks by Dmitrii Shostakovich

Clowns, Marionettes, Russian Engineers and others,

  • Summerscape's wildly popular Nightscape on Saturday nights at 10:30 from July 10 - August 21

* * *

BARD SUMMERSCAPE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

THE INSPECTOR GENERAL — a play in two acts by Nikolai Gogol
4 performances (July 8-11, Sosnoff Theater)
A presentation of the Alexandriinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, directed by Valery Fokin and starring Alexei Devotchenko. In Russian with English surtitles.

"The best play written in Russian." — Vladimir Nabokov

Virtually every important director has staged Gogol's The Inspector General, the classic satire of officialdom and petit bourgeois obsequiousness, since its 1826 premiere in Moscow. Dostoyevsky said that everything in Russian literature started with Gogol.

Valery Fokin, the new artistic director of St. Petersburg's Alexandriinsky, where the famous Meyerhold production of Revizor (as The Inspector General is known in Russian) premiered, has created an artistically exciting and tremendously entertaining production. The remarkable actor Alexei Devotchenko stars as the rake who is mistaken for an Inspector General who has come to visit a provincial town. The production features a marvelously costumed cast of 30, including Russia's most famous contemporary chorus, Remake, performing an original score by Leonid Desyatnikov.

The production is the first of five Presidential Productions by the Alexandriinsky, St. Petersburg's great old theater, supported by the Ministry of Culture.

GUEST FROM THE FUTURE — a new chamber opera in two acts by Mel Marvin, with a libretto by Jonathan Levi
8 performances (July 22-August 1, LUMA Theater)
Music direction by David Levi. Stage direction by David Chambers.
Set design by Darcy Scanlin.

The world premiere of a co-production with Nine Circles Chamber Theater, Guest From The Future is an unusual love story set in Leningrad in November of 1945, a few months after the end of World War II, when British philosopher and diplomat Isaiah Berlin returned to his native Russia. A chance remark led to an introduction to the legendary poet Anna Akhmatova, then 55, who was living in Leningrad's once splendid Fountain Palace. All that is known for certain is that the 35-year-old Berlin entered Akhmatova's flat at 3 p.m. one day and left at 11:00 the following morning. As a result of Akhmatova's night spent with a foreign diplomat, Stalin himself denounced her and removed all her privileges: she didn't publish again until after his death. According to Akhmatova, the Cold War started that night — indeed, Winston Churchill made his famous "Iron Curtain" speech only a few months later. But equally important, that night inspired some of Akhmatova's most moving love poetry and reimagined Berlin as the Guest from the Future, a character in her masterwork, "Poem Without a Hero."

This production brings back to LUMA Theater the creative team that directed SummerScape 2003's Don Juan in Prague. This is the first opera by Marvin, composer of five Broadway shows, including Tintypes, for which he received a Tony¨ nomination.

Dmitrii Shostakovich: THE NOSE — an opera in three acts with epilogue, based on the story by Nikolai Gogol.
5 performances (July 28, 30 and August 1, 6, 7 Sosnoff Theater)
Music direction by Leon Botstein
Stage direction by Francesca Zambello
Set design by Rafael Vi¯oly

A hilarious, rarely-performed opera written by the very young Shostakovich, The Nose follows the story of a minor civil servant who awakes one morning to find not only that his nose has fled his face, but that it is parading around town in the uniform of an official more important than himself.

Francesca Zambello is arguably the most important and sought after stage director working in opera today. Her productions have been seen worldwide: at the Met, Covent Garden, and in Paris, Moscow and Sydney. Zambello, who was a Russian Studies major in college, is casting several Russians for the productionÑsingers she has worked with in Paris and Moscow.

Rafael Vi¯oly, chosen to design Bard's future Science Center, continues Bard's tradition of encouraging artist-architects to focus their flair for the dramatic onto the opera stage.

RUSSIAN FILM FESTIVAL
22 performances (July 15-August 22, Dance Studio)

The films will be presented in three categories:

1. STORIES BY GOGOL:

The Overcoat (Shinel) directed by Grigoriy Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg (1926)
Gogol's most famous short story of a lowly civil service clerk, whose all-important overcoat, so critical to his well-being and prestige, is stolen from him. (84 min, b&w, silent)
Thursday, July 15, 7 pm
Thursday, August 5, 6 pm

Spirit of Evil (Vij) directed by Georgi Kropachyov (1967)
Gogol's early Ukrainian story of a young priest ordered to preside over the wake of a witch in a remote villageÑthree nights alone with a corpse with only his faith to protect him. (78 min, color)
Friday, July 16, 7 pm
Friday, August 6, 5 pm

The Complete Works of Yuri Norstein (1968-1978), including the unfinished The Overcoat (1978) Six films by the world's greatest living animator, Yuri Norstein, including his masterwork-in-progress, Gogol's The Overcoat. The August 7 showing includes a live string orchestra performance of the U.S. premiere of Russian composer Alexander Bakshi's Dialogue with The Overcoat. (88 min, color)
Saturday, July 17, 7 pm
Saturday, August 7, 5 pm

Happy Days (Schastlivye dni) directed by Aleksei Balabanov (1992)
For Balabanov, a "great-grandson" of Gogol, St. Petersburg is a city that lies and deceives - a vast metropolis that dwarfs the ordinary individual. His Happy Days has become a classic Petersburg tale for the post-Communist era. (86 min, b&w)
Sunday, July 18, 5 pm
Sunday, August 8, 6 pm

2. SCORES BY SHOSTAKOVICH:

New Babylon (Novyj Vavilon) (1929) directed by Grigoriy Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg
Shostakovich's first film score was for this early silent Soviet production, based on the events of the "forgotten revolution" of the Paris Commune of 1871. The story of a young woman caught up in the struggle against the bourgeois. (120 min, b&w)
Thursday, July 29, 5 pm
Thursday, August 12, 6 pm

October (Ten Days That Shook the World) directed by Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Alexandrov
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1917 revolution, Eisenstein re-created the events of that October in their original setting with an enormous cast. This re-released version — featuring sound effects and music composed by Dmitrii Shostakovich — was directed by Grigori Alexandrov in 1967. (99 min, b&w)
Friday, July 30, 5 pm
Friday, August 13, 5 pm

Hamlet (Gamlet) directed by Grigoriy Kozintsev (1964)
Shostakovich's first great Shakespeare movie with Boris Pasternak's "modern language" translation of the text and Kozintsev's somber imagery. Awarded a special jury prize at the Venice Film festival. (150 min, b&w)
Saturday, July 31, 5 pm
Saturday, August 14, 5 pm

King Lear (Korol Lir) directed by Grigoriy Kozintsev (1969)
The final Shostakovich film and arguably the finest on-screen adaptation of Shakespeare. Olivier himself acknowledged the brilliance of this stunning film, shot in Lithuania, with a moving performance by Juri Jarvet as Lear. (137 min, b&w)
Sunday, August 1, 7 pm
Sunday, August 15, 7:30 pm

3. COMEDY BY BARNET:

A rare opportunity to see three films by the extraordinary Boris Barnet, largely unknown in the West but long hailed as the father of Soviet comedy and an inspiration to greats such as Tarkovsky and Bertolucci.

The House on Trubnaya Square (Dom na Trubnoj) directed by Boris Barnet (1928)
Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin
This pointed comedy about the tensions of class in an emerging urban landscape follows the story of Parasha, a domestic servant girl, who finds romance and political consciousness upon moving to Moscow. Barnet had six scriptwriters collaborate to create this most entertaining work, which surely deserves its unofficial title of best Soviet silent comedy ever. (64 min, b&w)
Thursday, August 19, 6 pm

Dark is the Night (Odnazhdy nochyu) directed by Boris Barnet (1945)
This film, with Barnet as actor and director, was thought to be lost before its rediscovery only a decade ago. Shot in 1944, it tells the allegorical story of a patriotic Russian schoolgirl who, upon witnessing the German invasion of her hometown, helps to hide several Russian soldiers amidst the real life ruins of war-torn Stalingrad. Daring in its portrayal of a defiant Russian community and of the consequences of such resistance. (81 min, b&w)
Friday, August 20, 7 pm

Alenka directed by Boris Barnet (1961)
Barnet's penultimate film is set in 1955, when many migrated from Russia to settle parts of Kazakhstan. While on their journey through the Steppe, the title character and other travelers recount their memoirs, which are cinematically articulated through experiments in narration, temporality and animation. (88 min, b&w)
Saturday, August 21, 5 pm

PETERSBURG TALES — DIARY OF GOGOL
17 performances (August 4-August 21, Resnick Drama Studio)

The Fisher Center's Resnick Drama Studio hosts three intimate works in extraordinary productions that not only illuminate the writing and spirit of Nikolai Gogol, but also introduce American audiences to rich new talents from Eastern Europe.

The Overcoat (in English)
August 4-8
Dostoyevsky said that all Russian literature comes out of Gogol's Overcoat. So it is fitting that St. Petersburg Tales opens with a two-person clown show performing Gogol's tale about the poor St. Petersburg clerk whose soul is smothered by a long dreamed-of overcoat. Credo Theater of Bulgaria has played this production in eight languages around the world, winning many awards.

Nevsky Prospekt (in Russian with English surtitles)
August 11-15
Gogol's tale of the "Sunset Boulevard" of St. Petersburg, in an extraordinary version for marionettes by St. Petersburg's young Potudan Theater.

White Cabin (wordless physical theater)
August 18-21
The St. Petersburg AKHE Theater is one of the most imaginative and visually stunning physical theater groups in the world. This production won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003 and is an extraordinary display of how Gogol continues to bewitch successive generations of artists of St. Petersburg.

MOSCOW: CHERRY TREE TOWERS
A musical in two acts by Dmitrii Shostakovich.
5 performances (August 11-15, LUMA Theater)
Stage Director: Francesca Zambello.
Musical direction and adaptation: Sergei Dreznin; Dramaturg: Cori Ellison
Choreography: Dan Pelzig; Set and Costume Design: Skip Mercier; Lighting Design: Mark McCullogh

Shostakovich's only musical, Cheryemushki (which takes its name from a notorious 1950s Moscow housing project that promised its residents "paradise"), translates roughly as Cherry Tree Towers. It is a tale of love and corruption, with a level of social commentary that was just barely permissible in the years just after Stalin's death.

Francesca Zambello, who is also directing Shostakovich's opera, The Nose, envisions this reduced version as a cabaret-style musical, with a handful of performers and musicians.

15th ANNUAL BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL
SHOSTAKOVICH AND HIS WORLD
August 13-15 and August 20-22
The Bard Music Festival was founded in 1990 to promote new ways of understanding and presenting the history of music to contemporary audiences. Under its founder and artistic director, Leon Botstein, the 2004 festival promises a concentrated examination of Soviet composer Dmitrii Shostakovich (1906-75) two years before the centennial of his birth. Complete details will be published separately.

Works by Shostakovich, his contemporaries and predecessors, his successors and his followers, will be performed. There also will be lectures, panel discussions, and symposia.

Some of the scheduled themes of panels and programs are: Shostakovich's Character and Career, his Public and Private Personas, and From Success to Disgrace: The Early Career. Other topics will cover Ideology and Individualism, Art and Culture in the Soviet Era, Out of the Shadow of 1948, and Soviet Popular Music.

Shostakovich's works to be played in concert include Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 1; late String Quartets; Symphonies Nos. 1, 4, 10 & 14, some of the solo Piano Preludes; and choral and other vocal works. Other composers to be performed include Prokofiev, Skriabin, Glazunov, Miaskovsky, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, Denisov, Shebalin, Krennikov, Dzerzhinsky, Gnesin, and Popov.

Guest-scholars will include Shostakovich experts Laurel E. Fay and David Fanning, as well as Caryl Emerson and others.

# # #

(2.16.04)

Bard SummerScape Box Office Phone: (845) 758-7900

Bard College website: www.bard.edu/fishercenter

SummerScape Press contact: Mark Primoff (845) 758-7412, primoff@bard.edu

21C Media Group contact: Glenn Petry (212) 625-2038, gpetry@21cmediagroup.com

Website: http://summerscape.bard.edu

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This event was last updated on 05-24-2005