ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Giacomo Puccini and His World , the 27th installment of the acclaimed critically acclaimed Bard Music Festival, opens Friday, Aug. 5 with performances of Weekend One: Puccini and Italian Musical Culture .
The first of the weekend’s five themed concerts, Program 1: Opera, Politics, and the Italian, examines the ways Italians perceived their newly unified homeland in the comparatively peaceful half-century between the Risorgimento and the First World War. It is displayed through operatic and other excerpts by Giacomo Puccini, who lived from 1858 to 1924, and his contemporaries.
“This year’s Bard Music Festival is different from previous music festivals on several accounts. First, we are focusing on a composer from Italy," said music director, festival co-artistic director and president of Bard College, Leon Botstein. "We’ve never really had an Italian composer."
In examining Puccini and his work, Bard aims to present the performances within the era's larger historical context.
“Puccini’s incredible international success was a tribute to his skill and genius, but also made him the subject of enormous controversy in Italy," said Botstein. "He was attacked by Italian nationalists as being an internationalist. So we look at the controversies that have surrounded Puccini as we enjoy at his work and that of his contemporaries.”
Drawing on recent scholarship, the Festival’s programming places an emphasis on context and history in order to provide a platform for a reexamining one of the most paradoxical composers.
To watch Botstein discuss Puccini and the Bard Music Festival, click here .
For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758- 7900 or visit the website here .