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Blockbusters Come to Bard

Felix Mendelssohn composed his great oratorio, “Elijah,” just a year before his death in 1847. It is one of his most enduring works. Suffused with the Romantic style of his generation, which Mendelssohn helped to define, it also looks back to the oratorios of a previous era, the Baroque. It was Mendelssohn who is largely credited with bringing the masters of the Baroque, particularly Bach, to public attention. Full of soaring choruses and compelling solos, “Elijah” is a musical setting of the story of the prophet Elijah, written in English. “Elijah” will be performed Feb. 17 and 18 at Bard’s Fisher Center by the Bard College Chamber Singers, members of the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and the Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir, joined by members of the Bard Conservatory Orchestra and American Symphony Orchestra. Leon Botstein will conduct, and Sanford Sylvan will sing the title role. The following weekend, the American Symphony Orchestra returns to the Fisher Center for two performances of three 20th-century classics: Ravel’s “La Valse,” Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, and Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” The last, with its primal, violent rhythms, dissonance and story of a virgin sacrifice, upended the music world of 1913 and caused a riot at its premier. All these decades later, its uncompromising score still shocks. Leon Botstein will conduct and Jiazhi Wang will be the violin soloist in the Prokofiev. “Elijah” will be performed Feb. 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for the orchestra and $15 for the parterre/first balcony. The American Symphony Orchestra will perform Feb. 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25, $35, and $40. The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts is on the Bard College campus in Red Hook, NY. For information and tickets, call 845-758-7900 or go to fishercenter.bard.edu.

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