by Kelly Seiz
The 13th annual Bard SummerScape begins on June 25 and runs for eight weeks through August 16th. An array of music, dance, theater, opera, cabaret, and film acts take the stage, though the true star of the SummerScape is the 26th Bard Music Festival.
This year, the festival focuses on Carlos Chávez, the 20th century Mexican composer that influenced the development of modern Latin American music as one of the first composers to reference Mexico’s indigenous beginnings. The festival will showcase a vast amount of his work, with performances by the American Symphony Orchesta (ASO).
The ASO will also perform The Wreckers by Ethel Smyth, an opera based on the impoverished coastal Cornish towns in Britain that extinguished beacons, allowing ships to crash on the rocky shores. Leon Botstein will conduct the performance under the direction of Thaddeus Strassberger.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! will also be performed. Director Daniel Fish “creates a boldly intimate chamber production” of the classic show, according to the SummerScape website (http://fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape/). The production also includes new music arrangements by Daniel Kluger.
A theater-installation hybrid performance piece titled “Everything by my side” by Fernando Rubio, a contemporary artist from Buenos Aires, features seven actresses in seven pristine white linen beds. Individual audience members remove their shoes, hop in beside them, and listen as they recount vivid childhood memories in intimate whispering voices.
Bessie-award-winner Pam Tanowitz choreographed a postmodern ballet for a debut SummerScape performance featuring the highly-acclaimed American FLUX Quartet. In addition to the nine-dancer show, there will be a world premier of an en pointe solo created specifically for this year’s SummerScape by Ashley Tuttle, former principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre.
In addition, “Reinventing Mexico,” a film series that delves into the way Mexican culture influenced Chávez’s work, will be showing films each weekend from July 11 to August 2. The series starts with Redes (The Wave), with music composed by Chávez’s protégée, Silvestre Revueltas, and ends with a group of international films like John Ford’s adaptation of The Power and the Glory and Sergei Einstein’s unfinished work. An extensive retrospective of surrealist master Luis Buñuel, whose worldly influence on his films is often compared to that of Chávez, will also be showing.
Tony-nominated performer Justin Vivian Bond will present live music and a cabaret every weekend in the Spiegeltent, the Fisher Center’s on-site restaurant. The mirror-lined tent will host a schedule of world-class performers, musicians, and DJs.