If you didn’t have the good fortune to live here in the mid-Hudson Valley, but instead were sweltering in Manhattan through this seemingly endless spell of the dreaded Hazy, Hot and Humid, right about now you’d be dreaming and scheming ways to leave the sizzling pavement behind for a spell. And being an aficionado of the performing arts, one of the enticing heat mirages shimmering before your eyes would be this year’s lineup at Bard SummerScape, chock-full as it is with choice offerings that rival anything that you could find in the Big Apple. Bard is even furnishing bus trips from the City for some of those performances.
But lucky you: SummerScape in all its glory is just a short hop away, and starts this Friday with a special opening-night event in the fabulous Spiegeltent featuring comic Sandra Bernhard. All you need to do now is check out the schedule, decide what to go see and grab your tickets before they’re all gone. Fair warning: Some performances are listed on Bard’s ticket ordering page, https://maxtix.bard.edu/scripts/max/3000/maxweb.exe?action=order, as sold out already. So now’s the time to make your move.
The centerpiece of SummerScape is always the Bard Music Festival, dedicating two full weekends to a rich stew of orchestral and chamber music concerts, lectures and panel discussions focused on the life, cultural/historical milieu and artistic legacy of one A-list composer. Surrounding that core is a seven-week festival of the arts – including dance, drama, opera, film and cabaret – for which the composer of choice serves as an inspiration and unifying thread. This year the Music Festival microscope is trained on a 20th-century giant whose astonishingly diverse output changed the face of classical music like no other: Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971).
As of presstime the official kickoff to SummerScape, the Bernhard performance this Friday, July 5 at 8:30 p.m., had “limited seating only” available. The ticket prices range from $30 to $60; call the box office at (845) 758-7900 to see what’s left.
The rest of opening weekend is traditionally dedicated to the art of dance, and this year Bard has managed to snag one of the most celebrated of top-tier contemporary choreographers: two-time Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones. On Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will collaborate with Anne Bogart’s (Bard Class of ’74) SITI Company in the performance of A Rite, a new work commemorating the centennial of the raucous Paris premiere of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet score The Rite of Spring. Curtain time is the Fisher Center’s Sosnoff Theater is 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday, with tickets going for $24 to $55.