The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

Tony Award-winning actress Bebe Neuwirth will narrate “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as Grammy Award-winning violinist Gil Shaham and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s play Felix Mendelssohn’s accompanying music.

The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is kicking off its 67th International Music Festival with a show of Shakespearian proportions with performances by Tony Award-winning actress Bebe Neuwirth and Grammy Award-winning violinist Gil Shaham.

On Saturday, June 23, Caramoor presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” featuring music by Felix Mendelssohn and excerpts from the famous play by William Shakespeare.

“It is one of the great nights up here in Westchester,” said Michael Barrett, Caramoor’s general director and chief executive. “It’s out of the ordinary. It is very special. It is not just another concert at Caramoor. It is Shakespeare, and one of his great plays. It is full of humor and it is full of depth, and the music is spectacular.”

The evening’s performance fuses symphonic melodies that were created to surround the Shakespeare play, highlighting some of the most famous excerpts from the fantasy play.

“It’s great,” said Mr. Barrett. “It’s pretty high-class entertainment. It is going to be a lot of fun. We have a lot of star power with Gil Shaham and Bebe Neuwirth and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. We are expecting it to be a really memorable event.”

The event will be Ms. Neuwirth’s first time performing at Caramoor, which she said that she is looking forward to, as she recently finished a run in the off-Broadway play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in New York City.

“It is a play that I love,” said Ms. Neuwirth. “Shakespeare wrote beautiful and fascinating plays. His storytelling is remarkable and his characters are remarkable. It’s beautiful — it is profoundly beautiful. And it has a lot to do with love and finding love and what love actually is.”

At Caramoor, Ms. Neuwirth will narrate the event, bringing life to the well-known speeches of the fairies Puck, Titania and Oberon.

“The play is very appealing,” Ms. Neuwirth said. “It has gorgeous music and it is a gorgeous play. I am very familiar with the play. It is gorgeous. I am very familiar with the texts and I am familiar with what the characters say and who the characters are.”

According to Mr. Barrett, Ms. Neuwirth brings star power to the event as well as a dry sense of humor that she will illuminate the characters with, adding strength and creativity to the text.

Caramoor director Michael Barrett.
The show will also feature the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, which has been Caramoor’s orchestra-in-residence for over 30 years. Its performance will be led by conductor Roberto Abbado. The Orchestra of St. Luke’s is necessary, said Mr. Barrett, as Caramoor cannot have a festival without an A-list orchestra to count on. He referred to having the orchestra as a “privilege” and a “treat” to work with.

“It would not be the summer without Caramoor,” said Katy Clark, the president and executive director of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. “We love it, we absolutely love it. It is like home to us. The orchestra became an orchestra at Caramoor, and it has been a home for us ever since. We love it.”

As the Orchestra of St. Luke’s has been in existence for nearly 35 years, several audience members have told Ms. Clark that they grew up listening to the musicians and feel a personal connection with them. Coincidentally, that connection is what Ms. Clark said was extraordinary about the group.

“Watching the orchestra play, the communication between the musicians onstage is extraordinary,” she said. “You feel caught up in their performance. That is a very special feeling, and it does not happen with all orchestras. You feel like you are part of the concert, and they are not only communicating with each other but with the audience. You really feel like you are part of the action. And that is a very special thing. It is about the quality of the music-making and the quality of the communication.”

Caramoor’s International Music Festival runs through the middle of August. It will include shows featuring classical guitarist Jason Vieaux, the American Roots Music Festival, Grammy Award winner Paquito D’Rivera, the Brentano String Quartet, the Linden String Quartet, folk-rock guitarist Richard Thompson, the Pacifica Quartet and the Trio Cavatina.

Caramoor is located at 149 Girdle Ridge Road in Bedford. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” begins at 8:30 p.m., and tickets range from $15 to $85. For more information about “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or any other show in the International Music Festival, call 232-5035 or 232-1492, or visit

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.


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June 22, 2012

Caramoor debuts summer season