Storytelling with the Lake George Music Festival: L’histoire de Babar

LGMB-Babar-Poulenc5:00 pm • Saturday, August 20th 2016
Shepard Park Amphitheater • Lake George, NY

The Lake George Music Festival opened its 2016 summer festival earlier this week. Along with chamber music concerts, nightclub events, and steamboat excursions, Saturday finds the LGMF Symphony Orchestra in the village’s Shepard park for a performance of Francis Poulenc’s L’ Histoire de Babar with storytellers Sara Valentine and Michael Boudewyns who are “Really Inventive Stuff.” As most of what is on the classical music docket this weekend is geared to the older and more experienced listener, I thought it appropriate to highlight something for the whole family, young and old(er) and every age in between.

Like many musical works, Poulenc’s L’histoire de Babar was inspired by an existing tale or story. In this case, inspiration comes from Jean de Brunhoff’s introduction to what has become a worldwide popular and beloved storybook character, Babar the Elephant. de Brunhoff first brought Babar to life through a tale (one his wife Cecile had dreamed up for their children) and his illustrations in his famous French children’s book L’histoire de Babar le petit éléphant. Upon its publication (1931), it was an immediate success. So, it is not surprising that during a 1940 visit with the children of his cousin (Sophie, Sylvie, Benoit, Florence and Delphine Périer, Yvan, Alain, Marie-Christine and Marguerite-Marie Villotte, and their two friends Marthe Bosredon and André Lecoeur), Poulenc sketched out a musical background to de Brunhoff’s children’s story. In 1945 Poulenc returned to his musical sketches and completed L’ Histoire de Babar as a work for narrator and piano. This charming piece is considered to have some of Poulenc’s finest piano music.

In 1962, the composer and pianist Jean Françaix transcribed Poulenc’s L’histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant for orchestra. With an English translation of the text was made by Nelly Rieu, Poulenc’s music has since found its way to the ears of many children (of all ages) around the world with much delight.

It is this orchestration that the Lake George Music Festival brings to Shepard Park on Saturday … with some assistance by storytellers Sara Valentine and Michael Boudewyns. Their imaginative, playful, and entertaining storytelling, no doubt, will have everyone engaged and intensely listening to this endearing story and wonderful music.

I encourage you to check this little gem out at 5:00 pm on Saturday. At about 25 minutes long, you’ll have plenty of time to catch the evening offerings at SPAC (the Philadelphia Orchestra’s season finale), Hubbard Hall, etc. For those who wish to explore the instrumental world, rumour has it there will also be an “instrument petting zoo” to touch and play. OH … have I mentioned there is no admission charge? Sounds perfect for all ages …  especially those 12 and under. Happy musicking!

 

Upcoming Events

  • Lake George Music Festival Symphony Orchestra with Mako | Adams, Reich, Glass, Mako
  • Shepard Park, Lake George, NY
    Wednesday, August 24th 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Glimmerglass Festival: The Thieving Magpie | Rossini, Gherardini
  • Alice Busch Opera Theater, Springfield Center, NY
    Thursday, August 25th 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Lake George Music Festival Symphony Orchestra: Kodály, Brahms
  • Lake George High School Auditorium, Lake George, NY
    Thursday, August 25th 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Glimmerglass Festival: Sweeney Todd | Sondheim, Wheeler
  • Alice Busch Opera Theater, Springfield Center, NY
    Friday, August 26th 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Maverick Concerts: St. Lawrence String Quartet | Haydn, Adams, Schumann
  • Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock, NY
    Friday, August 26th 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Glimmerglass Opera: The Crucible | Ward, Miller & Stambler
  • Alice Busch Opera Theater, Springfield Center, NY
    Saturday, August 27th 2016 at 1:30 pm

  • Berkshire Opera Festival: Madama Butterfly | Puccini and Illica & Giacosa
  • Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
    Saturday, August 27th 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Glimmerglass Festival: “La Bohème” | Puccini with Illica & Giacosa
  • Alice Busch Opera Theater, Springfield Center, NY
    Saturday, August 27th 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Maverick Concerts: violinist Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz | “Shiksa”
  • Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock, NY
    Saturday, August 27th 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Tannery Pond Concerts: St. Lawrence String Quartet | Haydn, Adams, Golijov
  • The Tannery at the Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY
    Saturday, August 27th 2016 at 8:00 pm

  • Maverick Concerts: Enso String Quartet | Haydn, Dutilleux, Turina, Ginastera
  • Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock, NY
    Sunday, August 28th 2016 at 4:00 pm

  • Berkshire Opera Festival: Madama Butterfly | Puccini and Illica & Giacosa
  • Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
    Tuesday, August 30th 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Berkshire Opera Festival: Madama Butterfly | Puccini and Illica & Giacosa
  • Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
    Friday, September 2nd 2016 at 7:30 pm

  • Tannery Pond Concerts: Strauss-Dyachkov-Poletaev | Beethoven, Fauré, Taneyev
  • The Tannery at the Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY
    Saturday, September 17th 2016 at 6:00 pm

  • Albany Symphony with Deborah Voigt, Jeffrey Williams, and Albany Pro Musica: “Roscoe” | Mack / McGuire
  • Palace Theatre, Albany, NY
    Saturday, October 15th 2016 at 7:30 pm