The Princeton Festival is a world-class summer festival of performing arts. It extends Princeton’s cultural season into June, and has offered fully staged operas, musical theater, jazz, chamber music, symphonic concerts, piano, organ and vocal recitals, dance, world music, and a piano competition since 2005. The 2016 season will run from June 4 – 26.
It kicks off with its biggest fundraiser of the year, the 2016 Princeton Festival Gala, which makes the upcoming season possible. It will be held at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville on Saturday, April 30 at 6 PM. Cocktails and dinner will be served, and there will be live and silent auctions, plus entertainment and dancing. Tickets can be purchased online.
This year’s season has been announced, and appears to be another strong season. The appointed opera will be Peter Grimes with music by Benjamin Britten and libretto by Montague Slater. It will be directed by Steven LaCrosse and conducted by Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk. Its story explores themes of isolation and the fate of the anti-hero by pitting a conflicted dreamer against a village that rejects and persecutes him. Peter Grimes will be performed on the Matthews stage at McCarter Theatre Center. Peter Grimes will be sung in English with English supertitles.
Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music has been chosen as the Festival’s musical for its 2016 season. This award-winning show comprises of 19 different songs, including the huge hit Send in the Clowns. There will be 10 performances. Opening night will be on June 11th and features a Meet the Artist reception. The final performance will be on June 26th. The Festival’s General and Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk says “It’s funny, witty, sophisticated, and touching. Audiences will love its wonderful songs, vivid characters, and great story.” A Little Night Music won six Tony awards when it premiered, including Best Musical. It will be performed in the Matthews Acting Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University.
This year’s dance offering is Complexions Contemporary Ballet brought to Princeton by Founding Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden along with Co-founder Desmond Richardson. They share a refreshing approach to ballet by showcasing choreography that combines classical and contemporary ballet and by having an ethnically diverse company. Complexions Contemporary Ballet will dance on the Berlind stage at McCarter Theatre Center.
Cécile McLorin Salvant is this year’s Princeton Festival jazz performer. Her album For One to Love just won a Grammy on February 15, 2016 for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Salvant’s Princeton Festival performance is scheduled for Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19 at 7 PM on the Berlind stage at McCarter Theatre Center. She is an up and coming jazz singer who has been compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Cécile McLorin Salvant will sing on the Berlind stage at McCarter Theatre Center.
Other performances include:
- A Cappella: Two groups bringing you the best in present-day a cappella
- Chamber Music: Concordia Chamber Players, Festival favorites for 11 years
- Choral: Bach Cantatas with period orchestra and chamber chorus
- Oratorio & Film: Voices of Light with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the film The Passion of Joan of Arc
- Orchestra: Festival Baroque Orchestra, back for an encore after their acclaimed debut in 2015
- Organ: Krystiaan Seynhave, hailed in Europe for his mastery of the pipe organ, on his first American tour
- Piano Competition: over 100 young artist ages 6-25 compete for cash prizes; preliminary rounds (free) and the final round (tickets required) are open to the public
The Princeton Festival also offers several free programs for the community to complement its programming. This includes lectures, talks and conversations, intergenerational “Music for All” programs, open rehearsals, and pre-performance events, plus previews and exhibitions. Click here for more details, and here for ticket information.