(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The world-renowned Bard Music Festival returns for its 23rd annual season, filling the last two weekends of Bard SummerScape 2012 with a compelling and enlightening investigation of Saint-Saëns and His World. Twelve concert programs over the two mid-August weekends, complemented by pre-concert lectures, panel discussions, and expert commentary, make up Bard’s examination of Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), whose long and remarkable career spanned and helped shape the course of French music from Gounod to Ravel.
The twelve concerts offer an immersion in the music of Belle Époque France, with its trademark opulence and emotional richness, presenting masterpieces from all genres of Saint-Saëns’s prodigious oeuvre, including a rare concert performance of his grand opera Henry VIII, alongside a wealth of music from contemporaries and compatriots. Weekend 1, “Paris and the Culture of Cosmopolitanism” (August 10–12), situates Saint-Saëns within his native city, which, as the new musical capital of Europe, was attracting a young generation of composers from abroad. Weekend 2, “Confronting Modernism” (August 17–19), explores the ways the French late-Romantics set the stage for modernism’s subsequent upheavals. Together, Bard’s offerings present a vivid portrait of a dazzlingly creative and colorful era in European history: a Golden Age of promise and possibility that came to an end with the tragedy of World War I.
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.