Re­gion plans sev­eral cel­e­bra­tions of Leonard Bert­stein’s work

The Record (Troy, NY) - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Bob Goepfert For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

SARATOGASPRINGS, N.Y. » If you didn’t re­al­ize this year was the 100th an­niver­sary of the birth of Leonard Bern­stein – you will by the end of sum­mer.

This is the year of Len­nie. His sym­phonies will be per­formed, his scores for bal­lets will be danced and his Broad­way mu­si­cals and op­eras will grace stages re­peat­edly. Even the fa­vorite clas­si­cal pieces that he con­ducted will be hon­ored in his mem­ory.

In­deed, the im­pact of one of Amer­ica’s most gifted clas­si­cal mu­si­cians is both great and en­dur­ing. Bern­stein (Aug. 25, 1918- Oct. 14, 1990) was the first Ameri- can con­duc­tor- com­poser born and ed­u­cated in the United States to achieve world­wide fame.

He was not only a pas­sion­ate con­duc­tor who led the New York Phil­har­monic (1957-1969), Bern­stein was also a com­poser who was at home on Broad­way. He com­posed the mu­sic for sev­eral hit shows. The most en­dur­ing was “West Side Story,” but “On the Town,” and “Won­der­ful Town” were also suc­cess­ful. “Can­dide” has an al­most cult-like fol­low­ing.

Most of his Broad­way and bal­let suc­cesses were col­lab­o­ra­tions with chore­og­ra­pher Jerome Rob­bins, who also has a cen­ten­nial birth­day this year. “Fancy Free” is, ar­guably, the most en­dur­ing of their work in bal­let.

Though Bern­stein’s tal­ent was prodi­gious, his per­son­al­ity was equally bril­liant. He was an artist born for the tele­vi­sion age. At the podium his en­thu­si­asm and en­ergy al­most eclipsed the mu­sic sur­round­ing him. He was hand­some, elo­quent and a born teacher. These traits made him a nat­u­ral for tele­vi­sion. He was the host lec­turer on the CBS se­ries “Young Peo­ple’s Con­certs” in 1957, which made him a me­dia star.

This di­ver­sity gives al­most ev­ery mu­si­cal arts or­ga­ni­za­tion a claim to honor Bern­stein’s tal­ent. For ex­am­ple, Bar­ring­ton Stage Com­pany in Pitts­field, Mass. is of­fer­ing “West Side Story” Au­gust 3- Septem­ber 1, Glim­mer­glass Opera in Coop­er­stown also of­fers the mu­si­cal in reper­tory July 7-24 and at Tan­gel­wood Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Lenox, Mass. The Bos­ton Pops will per­form the score while the 1961 film is shown on a gi­ant screen.

Saratoga Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter’s two res­i­dent com­pa­nies have cel­e­bra­tions planned. The New York City Bal­let is fea­tur­ing “Rob­bins and Bern­stein at 100” for their gala on June 21. Per­for­mances at 5:30 and 8 p.m.

The Philadel­phia Orches­tra will of­fer “All Bern­stein Cel­e­brat­ing 100 Years” on Au­gust 10.

Be­side 13 fully mounted pro­duc­tions of “West Side Story,” Glim­mer­glass Op- era will of­fer Bern­stein’s one-act opera “Trou­ble in Tahiti” Au­gust 7-24 (in rep) for 3 per­for­mances.

Tan­gle­wood has ti­tled the 2018 sea­son, “A Bern­stein Cen­ten­nial Sum­mer.” Bern­stein was closely as­so­ci­ated with Tan­gle­wood through­out his ca­reer and, in fact, con­ducted his fi­nal con­cert at Lenox on Au­gust 19,1990. That con­cert will be memo­ri­al­ized this sea­son.

But it is Au­gust 25, the an­niver­sary of Bern­stein’s death, that Tan­gle­wood pulls out all the stops. The con­cert will have five mae­stros lead­ing the Bos­ton Sym­phony with a num­ber of guest artists like Au­dra McDon­ald per­form­ing Bern­stein’s most beloved com­po­si­tions.

Also pre­sented at Tan­gle­wood will be his op­eras “Trou­ble in Tahiti” (July 12) and “A Quiet Place”(Au­gust 9). His Broad­way shows “On the Town” (July 7) and “Can­dide” (Au­gust 22-23) will like­wise be of­fered, and “Fancy Free” will be staged by the Bos­ton Bal­let (Au­gust 18). Through­out the sea­son, more than a dozen con­certs fea­tur­ing work com­posed by Bern­stein or in­flu­enced by his in­ter­pre­ta­tions will be avail­able.

The sum­mer of 2018 is more than a trib­ute to a tal­ented man. It is a ret­ro­spec­tive of an Amer­i­can ge­nius who shaped and in­flu­enced mu­si­cal tastes through­out the 20th cen­tury. There is not much you will want to miss.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.