Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Bard.edu: Bard’s Acclaimed Production of Ernest Chausson’s Opera, King Arthur, Returns for Week-Long Encore Streaming on World Opera Day (Oct 25) 9:00 AM

 Chausson’s opera, first performed in 1903, richly deserves to be rescued from obscurity.” – Wall Street Journal

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — One of the crowning glories of the 2021 Bard SummerScape season, the festival’s lauded production of Ernest Chausson’s only opera, King Arthur (“Le roi Arthus”), will be available for on-demand viewing from October 25 to November 1 on the Fisher Center’s streaming service, UPSTREAMING. Coinciding with World Opera Day (Oct 25), this release will be accompanied by a recorded talk with conductor and Bard SummerScape founder and co-artistic director Leon Botstein, an interview with celebrated mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, who sang Guinevère, and other bonus material. Viewers can pay what they wish and registration is required. This summer’s production – the first fully staged American treatment of the opera – featured Cooke and charismatic baritone Norman Garrett along with tenor Matthew White in an original staging by Princess Grace Award-winner Louisa ProskeIn addition to viewing King Arthur, UPSTREAMING audiences will be able to access all Bard’s archived opera productions free of charge and on demand here


Bard SummerScape’s signature dedication to resurrecting operatic rarities and giving them their rightful due has earned the festival and its founder singular praise; OperaWire noted in its review of King Arthur, “Leon Botstein is what a lot of artists should aspire to. A man with a vision who stays true to it.” (A video of Botstein and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe discussing their love of rarely performed operas can be found here.) King Arthur continued Bard’s long history of successful opera presentations, garnering glowing reviews: “This show came across as high theater and absolute music,” declared the Boston Musical Intelligencer, and the New York Times proclaimed, Superb singers and a clear production make a strong case for Ernest Chausson’s seldom heard ‘Le Roi Arthus.’” Indeed, Bard’s latest rediscovery was an essential, exhilarating experience (Parterre). The encore streaming event from October 25 to November 1 will allow the work to reach a richly-deserved wider audience.


While SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival are among the most visible events produced by the Fisher Center on Bard’s bucolic campus, the center is a year-round venue producing and presenting a wide variety of concerts and events. Upcoming live-streamed events available via UPSTREAMING include: Mahler’s magisterial Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection (Oct. 23-24), performed by the Bard Conservatory Orchestra with members of The Orchestra Now (TON), soloists from the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program, Bard College Chamber Singers, and the Bard Festival Chorale, with choral director James Bagwell. On November 23 and 24, The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, will be joined by violinist Gil Shaham and mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter in a program featuring a world premiere by Scott Wheeler, Julia Perry’s Stabat Mater, and George Frederick Bristow’s rarely performed Symphony No.4, ArcadianOn December 11 and 12, TON will be joined by soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, the Bard Festival Chorale and Bard College Chamber Singers for performances of Handel’s Messiah. On November 6, the Bard Conservatory Vocal Arts Program will present Songs from the Real World: The French Cabaret, with versatile, internationally heralded mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and members of Bard’s Vocal Arts Program. The program will explore the beginnings of the French cabaret scene, in a benefit for the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Scholarship Fund. More information about the Fisher Center’s Fall Season can be found here.



Launched in 2020, the Fisher Center’s streaming service UPSTREAMING offers new content, including digital commissions, and beloved performances from the Fisher Center archives. Featured works highlight a different aspect of the breadth of programming the Fisher Center offers, including performances from the Bard SummerScape opera and Bard Music Festival archives, lectures, and artists in conversation, all streamed on the Fisher Center’s website and social channels. UPSTREAMING broadens the Fisher Center’s commitment to reaching audiences far beyond its physical walls, and offers new ways of engaging with artists.


The 2021 SummerScape season was made possible in part through the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Advisory Boards of the Fisher Center at Bard and Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center and Bard Music Festival members, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.







King Arthur encore streaming event


King Arthur (“Le roi Arthus,” 1886–95)

Music and libretto: Ernest Chausson (1855–99)

Available to stream on Upstreaming

October 25 to November 1


American Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by Leon Botstein


Bard Festival Chorale 

Chorusmaster James Bagwell 


Director:  Louisa Proske

Set designer: Matt Saunders

Lighting designer: Scott Zielinski

Costume designer: Kaye Voyce

Movement director: Zoe Scofield

Fight director: Thomas Schall


Arthur: Norman Garrett

Guinevere: Sasha Cooke

Lancelot: Matthew White

Merlin: Troy Cook

Mordred: Justin Austin

Lyonnel: Andrew Bidlack

Allan: Wei Wu

The Laborer: Andres Acosta


*Patrons may pay what they wish; registration is required



PHOTO CAPTION: Sasha Cooke as Queen Guinevère; Norman Garrett as King Arthur; Matthew White as Lancelot (photos: Maria Baranova)



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