Haydn’s Creation at Bard

This large-scale oratorio features members of the American Symphony Orchestra, the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra, the Bard Festival Chorale, the Bard Chamber Singers, the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program and the Longy Chorale. (photo by Karl Rabe)

This large-scale oratorio features members of the American Symphony Orchestra, the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra, the Bard Festival Chorale, the Bard Chamber Singers, the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program and the Longy Chorale. (photo by Karl Rabe)

Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation (Die Schopfung), one of the prolific classical master’s most revered and enduring works, will be performed at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College on Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7. The Creation was inspired in part by Haydn’s exposure to Handel’s Messiah, the “Hallelujah” chorus of which prompted Haydn to declare Handel “the master of us all.”

The Creation, in fact, is derived from an English libretto intended for Handel. Haydn, like Handel, was immensely popular in England. He was presented with the original English libretto of The Creation (author unknown) on his first visit to London in 1791. Haydn took the libretto to his friend Baron Van Swieten, who, taking many liberties, adapted it into German, and who later oversaw a recreation of an English version.

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Based on biblical passages and borrowing freely from Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Creation tells the creation story in three voices: the archangels Gabriel  (soprano), Uriel (tenor) and Raphael (bass). The Creation will be conducted by Leon Botstein, music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO). This large-scale oratorio features members of the ASO, the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra, the Bard Festival Chorale, the Bard Chamber Singers, the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program and the Longy Chorale. The 8 p.m. performances will be preceded by talks by chorus master James Bagwell.

Additional information can be found at https://fishercenter.bard.ed. Tickets cost $25 to $40 and can be ordered online at https://fishercenter.bard.edu or by calling the box office at (845) 758-7900. The Fisher Center is located on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.

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