Saratoga Springs

SPAC summer classical: NYCB with full roster, Philadelphia Orchestra featuring new artists

Adrian Danchig-Waring and Emilie Gerrity in "Summerspace," which will be performed this summer at SPAC by the New York City Ballet. (Erin Baiano)

Adrian Danchig-Waring and Emilie Gerrity in "Summerspace," which will be performed this summer at SPAC by the New York City Ballet. (Erin Baiano)

The summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will look a bit more traditional this year with the return of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the full company of the New York City Ballet.

“After two long years without the full New York City Ballet in residence at SPAC, it is tremendously exciting to be announcing the return of the full Company in July 2022,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC.

The NYCB is slated to perform at SPAC July 12-16, with a roster of more than 90 dancers under the direction of Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, accompanied by the New York City Ballet Orchestra, led by Music Director Andrew Litton.

The residency will include a mix of iconic works and contemporary debuts. NYCB will perform the full-length story ballet “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” One of the evening performances during the company’s residency will be dedicated to 20th-century masters, highlighted by Merce Cunningham’s “Summerspace.”

There will also be a program showcasing new works by contemporary choreographers like Jamar Roberts and Pam Tanowitz. Justin Peck’s “In Creases” will return to SPAC for the first time since its world premiere in 2012. 

The NYCB On and Off Stage presentation, which started last year as a way to conform to COVID-19 guidelines, will return, introducing the season with an up-close look at excerpts from the company’s repertory.

“It will be a perfect kickoff to the residency — as both an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at NYCB as well as a poignant reminder as to how far we will have come since March of 2020,” Sobol said.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s SPAC residency features nearly three weeks of concerts scheduled between July 27-Aug. 13. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead four programs from Aug. 10-13, including a finale featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Highlighting the residency is the return of world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Aug. 5 and violinist Joshua Bell alongside star soprano Larisa Martinez on July 29.

A diverse roster of artists will also make their SPAC 2022 debuts including 14-time Grammy nominee Ledisi, who will sing the music of Nina Simone, pianist and NPR host Lara Downes, soprano Angel Blue, 26-year-old violinist Randall Goosby, and Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, BalletX, performing a new work choreographed by NYCB’s Tiler Peck.

Also featured will be more than a dozen SPAC premieres, including the East Coast premiere of “Contact” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts composed for the genre-crossing ensemble Time for Three.

“SPAC’s ambitious and artistically inspiring programming continues our effort to bring significant contemporary works and iconic classics that have never been performed at SPAC to our stage, while also presenting a record number of works by BIPOC and female composers throughout the season,” Sobol said.

The popular film nights will return this summer as well, with two movies, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” on July 30 and “The Princess Bride” on Aug. 6.

Tickets will be available beginning on March 7 for SPAC members and on March 16 for the general public. New for this season, evening performances will be held at 7:30 p.m.

Health and safety guidelines have not yet been announced for this summer’s classical programming.

“SPAC will continue to monitor health and safety guidelines mandated by New York State and the CDC and will adjust ticketing and safety policies accordingly,” the company said in a statement, adding that full guidelines will be available before each show.

The venue, which has undergone major renovations during the last few years, most notably with The Pines, will continue renovations backstage. 

“. . . we continue to invest in our physical campus and amphitheater, working to provide up-to-date COVID-19 safety plans, enhanced security measures, and better working conditions for our staff, crew and our beloved resident companies,” Sobol wrote in a statement. “This year, thanks to our partnership with Live Nation, there will be significant work done to the backstage of the venue to modernize and make the dressing rooms and workspaces for artists and crew more comfortable.”

There will also be new chairs and stands for the Philadelphia Orchestra and a new performance curtain and dance floor for the New York City Ballet. 

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Here’s a look at the season schedule:

New York City Ballet: July 12 – 16

NYCB On and Off Stage – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 12

20th Century Masters – 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16
Featuring “Chaconne” (von Gluck/Balanchine), “Summerspace” (Feldman/Cunningham) and “Glass Pieces” (Glass/Robbins)

Evolution – 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14
Featuring New Roberts (Shorter/Roberts), “Gustave le Gray No. 1” (Shaw/Tanowitz)
“In Creases” (Glass/Peck) and “The Four Temperaments” (Hindemith/Balanchine)

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 16

The Philadelphia Orchestra: July 27 – Aug. 13

Festive Fireworks – 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27
Featuring conductor Erina Yashima and BalletX. The program includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and 1812 Overture, as well as Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem for Unity” (a SPAC premiere).

New Worlds – 7:30 p.m. Thusday, July 28
Featuring Yashima and Time for Three, with a program including the SPAC premieres of Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) and Puts’ “Contact, for string trio and orchestra.”
Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”) will also be performed.

Voice and the Violin – 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 29
Featuring Joshua Bell and Larisa Martinez, led by conductor Michael Stern. An evening of romantic arias and modern classics from Mendelssohn’s “Infelice” to Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” In Concert – 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30
Featuring conductor Justin Freer and Albany Pro Musica

Ledisi Sings Nina – 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3

Lara Downes Plays Price – 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4
Featuring Downes and conductor William Eddins. The program will include the SPAC premieres of The Strayhorn Concerto and Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 will also be performed.

Yo-Yo Ma Returns – 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5
Featuring Villa-Lobos’ “Ária (Cantilena),” from Bachianas brasileiras No. 5, Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade

“The Princess Bride” In Concert – 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
Led by conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos

Beethoven’s Fifth – 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10
Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and featuring Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead, Habibi’s Jeder Baum spricht and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Beethoven’s Eroica – 7:30 p.m. Thusday,Aug. 11
Conducted by Nézet-Séguin and featuring Randall Goosby on violin. The program includes Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1, Hunt’s Climb (SPAC premiere) and Beethoven Symphony No. 3.

Angel Blue Sings Coleman & Barber – 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12
Featuring Rossini’s Overture to The Thieving Magpie, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915,
Coleman’s New Work for Voice and Orchestra (SPAC premiere) and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7.

Beethoven’s Ninth – 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
Conducted by Nézet-Séguin, featuring Blue and Jennifer Johnson Cano (mezzo soprano), Russell Thomas (tenor), Ryan McKinny (bass-baritone) and Albany Pro Musica (chorus).
The program includes the SPAC premiere of Frank’s Pachamama Meets an Ode, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

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