Antonin Dvorak’s Rarely Performed Masterwork
This year Bard SummerScape is dedicated to the Romanticism in music and is celebrating Chopin. Adding Antonin Dvorak’s rarely staged operatic jewel Dimitrij to the program makes a lot of sense as Dvorak is rightly considered to carry on Chopin’s Romantic tradition, and this complicated drama is well placed in the lineup celebrating Slavic roots and historic influences.
The opera brings back a murky history of Russian Tsars at the “time of troubles” at the beginning of 17th century. The story starts at exactly where Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” leaves off with the death of Tsar Boris and the dark times of uncertainty approaching. The plot of Dimitrij is centered around a young pretender to the throne who appears in Moscow surrounded by Polish nobles and claims to be Dimitrij. His quest to rule is validated when the widow of Ivan, The Terrible recognizes him as her long lost son attempting to avenge her own grievances with the rulers. But the secret is bound to be revealed with all the ambitions at play. The intrigues of the power struggle, society division in pledging loyalty to competing clans, conspiracy theories and treacherous deceptions are only amplified by gorgeous music and powerful choral renditions. Sounds too familiar? It might be because a drive for power is as universal as love and death. The director of this Dimitrij production Anne Bogart thinks that the subject is particularly relevant today.
In the words of the Boston Globe “Shakespeare could hardly have bettered” this tragic story. In fact the story was developed by a librettist Marie Cervikova-Riegrova who based it on an unfinished plot by F. Schiller’s Demetrius. It is also worth noting that apparently Dvorak, working on the opera in 1881-1882, was not familiar with Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” which was completed between 1868-1873 to A. Pushkin’s drama with the same title.
Bard SummerScape opera performance takes place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Art which is located on the campus of a picturesque Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Bard College is well known for its rigorous and diverse art education program and the best in class roster of summer performances in upstate NY. Only two hours away from hustle and bustle of New York City, the campus is sufficiently insulated for full concentration and study, yet affords a convenience of being accessible via train connection to the city.
Book the tickets for Dimitrij here.
Dates: July 28 & 30, August 2,4 & 6, 2017
Places to eat around Bard College.