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In the Berkshires, at 7:30 p.m. on a warm summer night at Tanglewood, you’ll see a crowd of concertgoers with lawn tickets to the 8:30 p.m. Boston Symphony Orchestra performance entering through the Main Gate. They drag wagons and carts behind them, piled high with all the items needed to create a temporary home on Tanglewood’s sweeping lawn: wine bottles, lawn chairs, blankets, candelabras, and picnics that range from peanut butter sandwiches to extravagant three course meals.
There are countless things that make the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home so special — the breathtaking scenery, the serene sunsets, a revolving door of world-class guest artists, and unforgettable performances — and for many visitors, this pre-concert scene has a magic of its own.
We like to think that a feeling of happy anticipation descends all across the Berkshires before an evening performance in the Koussevitzky Music Shed; markets and specialty food shops help guests create the perfect picnic baskets; restaurants time their meals for easy access to concerts; waiters share their own Tanglewood memories with diners; enter any area hotel, and you’ll hear music lovers talk about upcoming performances.
When guests step onto the Tanglewood grounds, the bustle of the parking lots disappear, and views of the Stockbridge Bowl create a scene of almost overwhelming beauty. And as the sounds of the orchestra warming up fill the air, some say you can sense the Berkshire Hills quietly singing along, in perfect harmony.
Highlights of the 2013 Tanglewood Season
Among the many highlights of the 2013 Tanglewood season are two appearances by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Mr. Ma first performs Dvořák’s romantic Cello Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (8/4). He is also joined by American string virtuosos Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan to perform a program inspired by their recent genre-defying recording, The Goat Rodeo Sessions (8/15). The Tanglewood Music Center, with Mark Morris directing, will present a double opera bill of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Britten’s Curlew River (7/31, 8/1), in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth.
One of the festival’s most beloved traditions, the ever-popular Tanglewood on Parade (Tuesday, August 6), gives audiences a chance to hear all of the festival’s orchestras perform in a single extended concert. Renowned conductors Stéphane Denève and Charles Dutoit are joined by Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, and Laureate Conductor John Williams for a program that will include Borodin’s familiar Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor, as well as the traditional TOP finale, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. This festive concert features performances by the BSO, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and the Boston Pops, followed by fireworks over the Stockbridge Bowl.
What’s your favorite Tanglewood memory? Tell us in the comments!
This post was contributed to MassFinds by the good folks at Tanglewood. Photos by Hilary Scott.