“A haven for important operas … elegantly antic … with abundant charms.” — New York Times
Bard SummerScape is internationally recognized for staging critically acclaimed opera productions, complete with magnificent sets and costumes and gorgeous music. To enrich its immersion in Russia’s profound and far-reaching impact on 20th-century culture, Bard presents Oresteia (1887–94), by Stravinsky’s compatriot Sergey Taneyev, marking the first time this towering work will have been staged in its entirety outside Russia. Bard’s new and original production comes courtesy of visionary director Thaddeus Strassberger, winner of the European Opera Directing Prize (2005) and creator of SummerScape’s previous hit treatments of Les Huguenots, The Distant Sound, and The King in Spite of Himself. Oresteia’s five performances (July 26, 28, and 31; August 2 and 4) will feature the festival’s resident American Symphony Orchestra with music director Leon Botstein. With a huge, international cast, this year’s production of Russian composer Sergey Taneyev’s Oresteia is a gripping tale of lust, murder, and revenge.
A tantalizing story of moral gravity with ageless appeal, Aeschylus’ powerful drama about the cursed House of Atreus—from Agamemnon’s fateful return from Troy to the trial of his son Orestes—propels us from the monstrous to the divine. Rimsky-Korsakov considered Oresteia “striking in its wealth of beauty and expressiveness.”
Bard’s production boasts a strong, predominantly Russian cast, anchored by mezzo-soprano Liuba Sokolova as Clytemnestra. Since taking first prize at the International Vocal Competition in Perm, Sokolova has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, and La Scala. Clytemnestra’s doomed husband, Agamemnon, is bass Maxim Kuzmin-Karavaev, a laureate of the 2009 International Glinka Singing Competition, with tenor Mikhail Vekua and soprano Olga Tolkmit as Orestes and Elektra, respectively. Vekua’s leading roles include a “strongly sung, dramatically involved Edgardo” (New York Times) in a Moscow Lucia di Lammermoor, while Tolkmit’s portrayal of Mimi in a St. Petersburg La bohème was recently nominated for Russia’s Golden Mask Award for Best Female Performance in an Opera. Maria Litke embodies the role of Cassandra, the enslaved daughter of the Trojan king, Priam. Set design is by Madeleine Boyd, winner of Independent Opera’s 2008 Design Fellowship, with costumes by Mattie Ullrich, whose “time-tripping costumes happily further[ed] Mr. Strassberger’s ends” (New York Times) at SummerScape last season.
For more information, visit fishercenter.bard.edu or call 845-758-7900.