The Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie on Oct. 13 will unveil new enhanced sound technology and host the 2018-19 season kickoff for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Video by John W. Barry/Poughkeepsie Journal
Thanks to a new wireless amplification system, listening to live music is about to get easier at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie.
The nonprofit arts organization based in the city on Oct. 13 will welcome the Hudson Valley Philharmonic as it opens its 59th season with “A Night of Opera Ballet Music.” The Bardavon manages and presents the philharmonic.
The Bardavon that night will also unveil its new $20,000 hearing loop system, which amplifies sound performed on stage for those sitting in ground level seats. The new system sends a signal to t-coil equipped hearing aids and cochlear implant devices, and hearing loop receivers with ear buds loaned out by the box office.
The technology utilizes a metal wire, an eighth of an inch wide, buried in a grid across the Bardavon floor this past summer. It replaces an infrared system from the 1980s that no longer worked.
The Bardavon was able to install the new system thanks to donations from retired state Court of Appeals Judge Albert Rosenblatt and his wife, Julia, Dutchess County residents; and Rita and Morton Alterman, former Dutchess residents.
Both couples are longtime supporters of the Bardavon and Hudson Valley Philharmonic. And Albert Rosenblatt on Oct. 14 will receive an Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal.
Speaking of the hearing loop system, Julia Rosenblatt said, “This is a big step forward, not only for the Bardavon, but for the community.”
The opening of the philharmonic season and the new technology underscore the wide reach of the Bardavon, which was built in 1869 and operates on a $4.6 million annual budget. In addition to hosting concerts in Poughkeepsie and at the Ulster Performing Arts Center and the Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, the Bardavon presents a range of concerts by the philharmonic.
“This is a world tradition,” Silva said of orchestral music. “It’s a form of music that is a natural evolution of everything that was primitive, from banging on drums to finding a string to pull that made a noise. It has evolved very slowly, but it has evolved over centuries.”
A selection of 2018-19 Hudson Valley Philharmonic performances at the Bardavon includes:
- Nov. 17: “The Silk Road,” with Asian influences in composer Igor Stravinsky’s “Nightingale” and Bela Bartok’s “Mandarin.” This performance is being held in partnership with the Poughkeepsie Public Library District’s participation in the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read. In Dutchess County, the NEA Big Read features the book “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng, which focuses on a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio.
- Dec: 15: George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” with more than 150 instrumentalists and vocalists.
- May 4: “The Mighty Hudson,” featuring a range of compositions inspired by the Hudson River and complemented by images from Hudson Valley filmmaker Jon Bowermaster and Leonard Bernstein’s musical score for the film “On the Waterfront.”
The new hearing loop system will be important for philharmonic performances because the music is acoustic and performed without microphones.
But audience members will be able to use the new technology for any performance at the Bardavon, including those featuring live acoustic or electric music, live spoken word and video broadcasts.
“I’m thrilled,” Silva said. “We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.”
John W. Barry: firstname.lastname@example.org; 845-437-4822; Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo
If you go
Visit www.bardavon.org for information on upcoming performances, including those featuring the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.
Did you know:
The Dutchess Philharmonic Community Orchestra was founded more than 80 years ago by four local amateur musicians. Conductor Claude Monteux later elevated the orchestra to a fully professional ensemble, renaming it the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.
The Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season marks the orchestra’s 20th year under Bardavon management and its 26th year under the music direction of conductor Randall Craig Fleischer.
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