The theme for this summer’s Bard Music Festival in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York is “Saint-Saëns and His World,” encompassing two August weekends of music by the composer and his contemporaries in Belle Époque France. Leon Botstein will conduct the resident American Symphony Orchestra in three concerts, the first being an August 11 program “Saint-Saëns, a French Beethoven?,” featuring Saint-Saëns’s Symphony in A and Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”). A “Spiritual Sensibility” program on August 17 features the ASO, Bard Festival Chorale, and vocal soloists in Saint-Saëns’s oratorio Le deluge, Gounod’s Stabat Mater, and Fauré’s Les Djinns for Chorus and Orchestra, plus psalms by Florent Schmitt and Lili Boulanger. The sole work on the festival’s concluding program on August 19 will be Saint-Saëns’s opera Henry VIII, with the Bard Festival Chorale and soprano Ellie Dehn, mezzo Jennifer Holloway, and tenor John Tessier. The two festival weekends also incorporate chamber music concerts with the Bard Festival Chamber Players; pre-concert lectures; and two panel discussions, “Prodigy, Polymath, Globetrotter, and Reactionary” and “Exporting Western Music Past and Present.”

Posted May 10, 2012