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Caffé Lena @ SPAC

Jul 21, 2021

“Caffè Lena @ SPAC” Returns for a Free Two Day Festival on the Charles R. Wood Stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center

New York City Ballet Dancer performs Balanchine's "Apollo"
Paul Kolnik / New York City Ballet


  The New York City Ballet returns to SPAC this summer - but owing to an abundance of caution related to Covid19, the full company will not grace the SPAC stage this year. Instead, tonight through Saturday, a small group of NYCB dancers and musicians will present “NYCB On and Off Stage,” an intimate, up-close look at selected excerpts from the Company’s extraordinary repertory of ballets. 

 

This series of educational programs has never before been presented for Saratoga audiences. All shows will be hosted by a NYCB Principal Dancer who will introduce the excerpts and provide insights on each ballet.

 

Jonathan Stafford is the Artistic Director of New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet and he joins us.

 

The two organizations have announced and do plan on a full NYCB season at SPAC in summer 2022.

Artwork for "A Midsummer Night's Supper" at SPAC
SPAC / SPAC

Saratoga Performing Arts Center will be presenting “A Midsummer Night’s Supper,” inspired by George Balanchine’s ballet "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" and "The Ballet Cook Book."

Conceived by Meryl Rosofsky as an homage to Balanchine’s love of cooking and New York City Ballet’s storied history at SPAC, which began 55 years ago with a performance of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," the magical dining experience is slated for Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. in SPAC’s new, outdoor Family Pavilion.

The suppers will serve as the kick-off to New York City Ballet’s appearance at SPAC, scheduled for Wednesday, July 14 through Saturday, July 17.

We welcome food scholar Meryl Rosofsky and Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of SPAC.

The logo for the All Together Now collaborative summer program with the Tang Teaching Museum and other cultural organizations in the Saratoga region
Image courtesy Skidmore College, Tang Teaching Museum

Arts organizations in the Saratoga region are collaborating this summer on a number of exhibitions as they look to recover from coronavirus setbacks.

At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last year they had more than 200 events on their campus – including a total of 10,000 visitors, 50 people at a time, from July to December. During that time, their operations and facilities team worked according to very strict COVID protocols and created a blueprint for events that kept their guests and staff safe and healthy.

As they move into the 2021 season, their number one priority is creating a safe environment for everyone – audience members, staff and performers. And they have a wonderful season full of music, dance and surprises – perhaps even to them.

Elizabeth Sobol - president and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center joins us.

Elizabeth Sobol
provided

At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last year they had more than 200 events on their campus – including a total of 10,000 visitors, 50 people at a time, from July to December. During that time, their operations and facilities team worked according to very strict COVID protocols and created a blueprint for events that kept their guests and staff safe and healthy.

As they move into the 2021 season, their number one priority is creating a safe environment for everyone – audience members, staff and performers. So, they do not yet know when they will be allowed to open – nor, more importantly, at what capacity. There are many questions. And for answers – we welcome Elizabeth Sobol - President and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The stage inside UPH can be removed to accomodate different types of events
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Arts organizations in the Saratoga region are having a collective conversation about how to operate in a post-pandemic reality. 

Saratoga Performing Arts Center during the COVID-19 pandemic is almost completely empty.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

Despite a summer season upended by the coronavirus pandemic, Saratoga Performing Arts Center is in a solid financial position for 2021 – even if the organization’s top brass is unsure what next year will look like. 

On September 21, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will present Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, a GPS-enabled work of public art in the Saratoga Spa State Park that uses music to illuminate the natural environment.

Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid and co-commissioned by Saratoga Performing Arts Center as part of its SPAC REIMAGINED 2020 season, Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is an immersive audio experience tailor-made for the Saratoga Spa State Park. The installation will remain accessible in the park until November 1.

Co-commissioner The New York Philharmonic presented the World Premiere of Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK on September 10 in New York City's Central Park.

Composer Ellen Reid won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera, "p r i s m."

Jonathan Biss (man sits in a sparcly decorated room)
Benjamin Ealovega

For the past decade, Jonathan Biss has immersed himself in the music of Beethoven, especially the piano sonatas, solidifying his place as one of the renowned interpreters of the composer’s music.

With his original performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center having been curtailed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Biss has carefully curated a special program recorded live from his home in NYC that is exclusive to the Saratoga Springs audience. He will guide viewers through an exploration of Beethoven’s prolific sonatas for solo piano including a performance of two of his favorite works as part of SPAC's Beethoven 2020 celebration.

Beethoven 2020 At SPAC

Aug 19, 2020

Saratoga Performing Arts Center announces the continuation of SPAC REIMAGINED with a virtual Beethoven 2020 festival, which will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Highlighting the virtual festival are special events including an exclusive Beethoven recital with pianist Jonathan Biss (8/21), the World Premiere of "Testament" (8/22), a theatrical production in collaboration with Saratoga Shakespeare Company, and more.

Elizabeth Sobol is president and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York is associated with summer in our region, but over the last few years, SPAC has begun offering programming year-round through collaboration with other community venues and organizations.

But, these are tough times – especially for the arts. CEO of SPAC Elizabeth Sobel is here to discuss the huge threat to survival all artists and arts organizations are confronting right now – and also discuss some of the ways art brings us together in times of uncertainty – and how one engages with art in an era of pandemic.

Elizabeth Sobol is the President and CEO of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York is associated with summer in our region, but over the last few years, SPAC has begun offering programming year-round through collaboration with other community venues and organizations.

Over the next few weeks, SPAC will present “The Nutcracker” by Salzburg Marionette Theatre, an Orchestra St. Luke’s concert of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and British vocal ensemble VOCES8.

Elizabeth Sobol is the President and CEO of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Reflecting Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park
photo provided

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center has completely reimagined their Saratoga Wine and Food Festival – happening this coming weekend. The festival will feature a collaboration between renowned regional chefs and international culinary talent including UK farm-to-table chefs.

Adding to the ambiance of the festival will be a sculpture garden presented by The Hyde Collection featuring works by artist John Van Alstine, considered one of America’s most important sculptors, in addition to live music curated by Caffè Lena, and photographic works of art created from compostables by Terri-Lynn Pellegri.

The festival is set around the Spa State Park reflecting pool, slated for October 4-5. We are joined by President & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center Elizabeth Sobol and Caffè Lena Executive Director Sarah Craig.

Steve Martin and Martin Short
courtesy of the artists

Steve Martin and Martin Short bring their new tour "Now You See Them, Soon You Won't" to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York on Friday, September 13. The comedy-variety show also features Grammy Award winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Jeff Babko.

As two titans of comedy, Steve Martin and Martin Short have conquered film, television, and the stage in the course of their long, dazzling careers. But the live shows that grew out of both their friendship and their undeniable comedic chemistry create something special enough to stand out even among the many achievements of these two show-biz veterans.

"New York Times" bestselling author Charles Fishman has become one of the most provocative and inspiring voices on water issues in the last few years. He will be part of SPAC's Speakers Series on September 12, discussing his book "The Big Thirst."

Water is going to turn out to be the most important and the most contentious resource issue for almost every country in the world in the next 50 years, even places like the United States where water has typically been abundant, safe, and inexpensive. Climate change, economic growth, and the growing middle class around the world will put pressure on water supplies like never before. People will live or die, and countries will succeed or fail, based on their ability to re-imagine how to use water in the new era of scarcity and climate change.

 **Note: This interview was recorded before yesterday’s announcement that Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin to withdraw from tonight and tomorrow’s orchestra performances at SPAC. The performances will go on with Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe stepping in.**

The Philadelphia Orchestra's three-week residency is underway at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. The season is and has been highlighted by premieres ranging from classical masterpieces to innovative contemporary compositions, marking a record number of pieces that have never before been performed on SPAC’s stage. Performances run through August 17.

Beginning tonight, the season showcases two weeks under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director of both The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Metropolitan Opera. Nézet-Séguin will conduct the closing night performance of Mozart’s Requiem. The remainder of the Orchestra’s season also features a line-up of acclaimed and emerging artists appearing at SPAC for the first time including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and classical pianist Christian Blackshaw; making their SPAC debuts in 2019 are Jan Lisiecki and Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center joins us.

The New York City Ballet will return to its summer home, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, for four distinct programs over seven performances July 16 -20. The run will be highlighted by the story-ballet "Coppélia." Considered one of the greatest comedic ballets of the 19th Century, "Coppélia" premiered in Saratoga in 1974 and was co-commissioned by SPAC.

Sterling Hyltin is a dancer with the New York City Ballet. She will be performing in two dances during the season at SPAC: Varied Trio (in four) (Harrison/Frohlich) and Apollo (Stravinsky/Balanchine).

This summer, Saratoga Shakespeare Company celebrates its 19th season with two of Shakespeare’s greatest works in two different venues: "King Lear" in Historic Congress Park and "The Tempest" on the grounds of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Both productions deal with themes of stormy family relationships, human frailty, revenge, and redemption.

Building on last year’s successful collaboration, Saratoga Shakespeare begins the season joining forces with SPAC and Radial Arts to present Poetry in the Pines, bringing a new, innovative and music-filled production of "The Tempest" on the SPAC grounds. Performances will take place at the Reflecting Pool on Friday, July 19 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and on Saturday, July 20 at 11 a.m.

"King Lear" opens the following week with performances on Tuesday, July 23 through Saturday, July 27 and Tuesday, July 30 through Saturday, August 3. All performances will be at 6 p.m. in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, on the Alfred Z. Solomon Stage.

We we welcome Saratoga Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Lary Opitz (who is playing King Lear); and production Directors Marcus Dean Fuller ("The Tempest") and Wesley Broulik ("King Lear").

George Benson
Austin Hargrave

George Benson's career spans five decades, more than 30 recordings as a leader and ten Grammy Awards. NEA Jazz Master, Benson, has used his jazz roots as the foundation for an engaging mix of pop, R&B and other shades that add up to a style that appeals to a broad mainstream audience. Along the way, he has also established himself as a formidable jazz singer, one whose biggest career hits have showcased his vocals as well as his guitar chops. In short, this guitar man is the complete package.

He'll headline the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC on Saturday, June 29.

This summer, The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will present perennial favorites such as Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, the New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Opera Saratoga, plus exciting new programming.

SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol joins us with a preview of the season.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center has released the lineup for June’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival.

The New York City Ballet, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will all be returning to Saratoga Springs this summer. Saratoga Performing Arts Center has released details of its upcoming season.

WAMC's David Guisitna speaks with Miles Reed, Editor of The Daily Gazette, about Tuesday's Regional Economic Development Council awards. The pair also discuss the vigil Tuesday in Ballston Spa for 12-year-old murder-suicide victim Emma Jones.

Joshua Bell
http://joshuabell.com

With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. In addition to being a highly sought after soloist, Bell is the Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958.

He will be at SPAC in Saratoga Springs, New York this week for two very special programs with The Philadelphia Orchestra. On Friday, August 17, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct a program featuring Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, and Bell playing a Bruch Violin Concerto.

On Saturday, August 18, Joshua Bell and the orchestra, led by Michael Stern, will play John Corigliano’s Academy Award winning score to the film “The Red Violin” as the film, released in 1998 and directed by François Girard, plays in SPAC’s Amphitheater. Bell was the solo violinist on the soundtrack and was a violinist double in the film.

Jacomo Bairos
https://www.nu-deco.org/

Based in Miami, Florida, Nu Deco Ensemble is an eclectic chamber orchestra group that through adventurous classical music performances presents various styles of music, art, and media collaborations in both traditional and alternative venues. Working in conjunction with local Miami musicians, composers, DJs, dancers, visual and media artists, Nu Deco Ensemble creates a new hybrid of musical and multi-media experiences.

The Nu Deco Ensemble will perform as part of the SPAC on Stage series in Saratoga Springs on Monday, August 13. Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Jacomo Bairos joins us.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Jan Regan

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra which is celebrating its annual residency at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center through August 18.

Nézet-Séguin has been the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal since 2000 and this year he steps aside as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra to take over as Music Director of The Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

With the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC, Nézet-Séguin will conduct six concerts over the nexty two weeks.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center's Out of This World Festival features the first speaker series on the SPAC Stage. Attendees will sit in the orchestra chairs on the main stage of the SPAC amphitheater while renowned guest speakers lead captivating talks from the conductor’s podium on a variety of topics that bridge the worlds of art, science, and nature.

Speakers @ SPAC: Earth and Other Worlds is presented in cooperation with the Academy of American Poets. Science writer Dava Sobel ("Galileo’s Daughter;" "The Glass Universe") will be in conversation with poet, science writer, and author Diane Ackerman ("A Natural History of the Senses;" "The Human Age;" "The Zookeeper’s Wife"). Dava Sobel joined us.

Lauren Lovette in “Romeo + Juliet”
Paul Kolnik


  The New York City Ballet is in residence at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York July 17-21.

Lauren Lovette has been a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet since 2015; jeteing from the School of American Ballet to apprentice, to corps de ballet dancer, to soloist and now, principal dancer. She’s performing the role of Juliet in “Romeo + Juliet” at SPAC on July 19, 20, and 21; and she will dance in Warren Carlyle’s tribute to Jerome Robbins’ “Something to Dance About” at SPAC’s New York City Ballet Gala.  She’s also choreographed a work entitled “Not Our Fate” that will be part of SPAC’s 21st Century Choreographers program on July 19.

Lake George Opera, now Opera Saratoga, began with a production of "Die Fledermaus" at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230 people. The company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually.

This season, Opera Saratoga presents productions of “The Merry Widow,” “The Consul,” and a double-header with the American Premier of “Rocking Horse Winner,” and the World Premiere of a chamber version of “Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera.”

The season runs through July 15. Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson joins us.

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