Rare French Comic Opera Gets Contemporary Treatment at Bard SummerScape

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) –  To enrich its immersion in the music of Belle Époque France, Bard SummerScape 2012 presents the first staged revival of The King in Spite of Himself (Le roi malgré lui) by Emmanuel Chabrier in its original 1887 version, in five performances (July 27 & 29; August 1, 3, 5) featuring the festival’s resident American Symphony Orchestra with music director Leon Botstein.

The production, starring the “lyrical, expressive baritone” (New York Times) of Liam Bonner, will receive a contemporary treatment from Thaddeus Strassberger, whose previous SummerScape opera treatments rank among Bard’s undisputed success stories.

This summer, drawing the 23rd annual Bard Music Festival’s exploration of “Saint-Saëns and His World” to a close, Botstein also leads an all-too-rare concert performance of Saint-Saëns’s own grand opera Henry VIII on Sunday, August 19.

Bard is in the happy position of restoring Chabrier’s masterpiece in its original form to the opera house in a new, fully-staged production, highlighting Botstein’s tried and tested musical direction in a modern treatment by Thaddeus Strassberger.


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