Bard’s Golden ‘Danae;’ Black Lips, ‘Mommyville’: Summer Preview

“Bitter Sweet”
“Bitter Sweet” by Noel Coward. The production is staged by Michael Gieleta. Source: Bard SummerScape via Bloomberg

Venture north to Bard College’s captivating grounds and Frank Gehry-designed theater.

Nothing quite compares to the fascinating summer programs popping out of Leon Botstein’s brain.

Last night, the Bard president conducted a bizarre opera written during the Nazi era by Richard Strauss, “Die Liebe der Danae” (The Love of Danae).

Falling bombs cancelled the Salzburg premiere in 1944, condemning this musically lush mash-up of Greek myths to the sidelines ever since.

The production, set in the present and replete with projections and lots of gilt, is a collaboration among architect Rafael Vinoly, set designer Mimi Lien and stage director Kevin Newbury. Meagan Miller sings the title role. Also on Sunday at 3 p.m.

‘Bitter Sweet’

“Bitter Sweet,” by Noel Coward in a wistful mood, looks back through the eyes of a grande dame at devil-may-care love before reality and tragedy set in.

Coward wrote both book and score for this rarely seen 1929 operetta, whose best-known songs are “If Love Were All” and “I’ll See You Again.” (Coward reserved the sappy film version, starring Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, for his own memorable brand of derision.)

This production, staged by Michael Gieleta, stars Welsh actress Sian Phillips, whom PBSophiles will remember as the ruthless Livia in “I, Claudius.” Performances run August 4 through 14.

Sibelius Redux

Finnish great Jean Sibelius takes the spotlight in the orchestral portion of SummerScape. Botstein puts his band, the American Symphony Orchestra, through its paces in a series of concerts exploring the music of Sibelius and his influence on contemporary European composing through the work of Grieg, Rachmaninoff and others. The first performance is Aug. 12; others continue through Aug. 21.


And of course, there’s Spiegeltent for the usual polyglot cabaret. This summer’s offerings range from African dance music presented by Balla Kouyate to singer comedian Lea DeLaria and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens.

Bard College is in Annandale-on-Hudson, about a 2-hour drive or train ride from Manhattan. For information on SummerScape, call +1-845-758-7900 or go to

NADA Hudson

While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the inaugural edition of NADA Hudson, an art fair organized by the New Art Dealers Alliance. The New York-based group is bringing 51 emerging art projects to Basilica Hudson, an 1884 foundry recently converted into a performance art space steps off the riverfront.

Spend some time at the booth-free installation of sculpture and video art inside the cavernous space. The fair runs Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Basilica Hudson. Information:

Back Home

If you’re staying in the city, consider those perennial bad kids, the Black Lips. They play the Bowery Ballroom.

Though super-producer Mark Ronson spit-shined the sloppy garage-rock on their newest album, “Arabia Mountain,” the dirty foursome still owns its collective sneer.

Expect shouted group choruses and frenetic beats. Word of warning: once they’re on-stage, watch for projectiles -- streaming rolls of toilet paper, beer cans, euphoric audience members.

At 6 Delancey St. Information: +1-212-533-2111;

‘Sex in Mommyville’

Anna Fishbeyn’s furious “Sex in Mommyville” begins with a young mother, played by the author, complaining about the end of sex with the arrival of spawn. After 17 frustrating days, Artemis just wants to get it on with her husband Zeus, an overworked, undervalued Wall Street lawyer on a track leading away from partnership.

Actually, that’s not all she wants. She wants to finish her book about the hijacking of feminism by everyone from magazines and Madison Avenue to Hollywood and, for all I know, the Trilateral Commission. And for her Russian-born parents to stop barging in without calling. And on and on.

Irritating as the play can be, I’ll still take her spleen over the sitcom slickness of Zach Braff’s “All New People.”

At the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, 303 W. 42nd St. Information: +1-646-329-6588;

‘A Joyous Sound’

Sunday night at 10:30, tune in to Channel 13 for “A Joyous Sound,” film maker Julie Cohen’s charming portrait of Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra.

We join the conductor at home with his flutist wife, kids and their heroic turtle, Hector, as he prepares for rehearsals and muses on his role in making music come alive for new audiences.

We follow musicians, like an ABBA-loving young violinist and a tuba player who wins marathon medals, as they tour, record and play -- everything from Mahler to Johann Strauss.

Information: +1-212-560-1314;

(With assistance from Katya Kazakina and Zinta Lundborg. Jeremy Gerard is a critic and editor for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE