Opening Night Concert: Time for Three. Photo by Shervin Lainez
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has announced a compelling line-up of performances for this year's Princeton Festival, the PSO's annual live arts extravaganza. The majority of the Festival takes place June 9-25, 2023 within an enormous tented pavilion erected seasonally on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden, complete with concessions and gathering spaces. Events range from a beloved comic opera by Gioachino Rossini to independent tributes honoring the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US, plus orchestral concerts, chamber music and dance, a Juneteenth celebration, a Family Day, and genre-defying performances by top ensembles and three 2023 Grammy Award winners.
Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the creative force behind it all, says of the Festival’s variety of events, “We wanted to create a Festival that was fun, yet relevant – connecting with new audiences through music, dance, and theater – proving that age-old art forms can be fresh and full of meaning for today’s arts lovers.”
Milanov conducts the Festival’s centerpiece, Rossini’s opera buffa masterpiece The Barber of Seville, sung in the original Italian with English subtitles, and starring Festival opera veterans Kelly Guerra as Rosina and Nicholas Nestorak as Count Almaviva.
Harvey Milk performance ensemble. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Anchoring the Festival is Andrew Lippa’s theatrical oratorio I Am Harvey Milk, which celebrates the life of the first openly gay man to hold public office in California. The show’s creator, Andrew Lippa, will conduct, and Adam Kantor and Scarlett Strallen sing the roles of Harvey and Soprano, respectively. The production is directed by Noah Himmelstein.
Opening weekend features a Friday night performance by the 2023 Grammy Award-winning trio Time For Three. The trio’s members, Ranaan Meyer (double bass), Nick Kendall (violin), and Charles Yang (violin) wowed the crowd at the 2022 Festival with their musical versatility and easy-going audience rapport. Saturday evening’s soulful Aretha: A Tribute stars vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Devlin, and is followed Sunday by a piano recital featuring the talented Christopher Taylor.
Later in the Festival, Broadway’s Next Hit Musical offers an evening of hilarious improv fun as audience members come up with ideas for a hit Broadway tune to be converted into an instant show by a quick-witted cast. Marking Juneteenth, a celebration is planned with community events and a song recital by Metropolitan Opera star baritone and 2023 Grammy Award winner Will Liverman.
Will Liverman, baritone. Photo by Adam Ewing
Also scheduled are a collaboration of the 2023 Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet with American Repertory Ballet, concerts with The Claremont Trio and Boyd Meets Girl, and Baroque music with The Sebastians at Trinity Church. Mazel Tov Cocktail Party, conceived & created by clarinetist David Krakauer & Kathleen Tagg, is described as a “good vibes explosion.” The Festival culminates with a Family Day with fun-filled activities leading up to a production of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf featuring the theatrical antics of Really Inventive Stuff’s Michael Boudewyns.
2023 Princeton Festival tickets are available now, and range in price from $10 - $125. While most performances take place at Morven Museum & Garden, some are located inside at Trinity Church. For dates, times, program information, and tickets, visit princetonsymphony.org/festival.
Peter and the Wolf with Michael Boudewyns. Photo by Robert Cort
Founded in 2004, the Princeton Festival quickly established a reputation for artistic excellence and innovative programming in the performing arts. Every year in June, thousands of people from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond come to the Festival to enjoy the quality and variety of its programs. Offerings include opera, musical theater, dance, and a constantly evolving selection of other genres, including jazz, world music, orchestral pops, choral concerts, country music, chamber recitals, and an annual piano competition. The Festival has long-standing partnerships with public libraries and local churches, and promotes life-long learning in the arts through free educational lectures presented to a wide and diverse community.
Health and Safety: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is closely monitoring and adhering to the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 Requirements. Princeton Festival attendees will receive information regarding safety procedures, entry, seating directions, etc. in advance of their selected live performance(s).
Accessibility: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is committed to ensuring all programming is accessible for everyone, working with venues such as Morven Museum & Garden and Trinity Church to provide needed services. Contact ADA Coordinator Kitanya Khateri for questions about available services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-905-0973. Note: some services require at least two weeks’ notice to arrange.
Programs, artists, dates, and times are subject to change.
The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a cultural centerpiece of the Princeton community and one of New Jersey’s finest music organizations, a position established through performances of beloved masterworks, innovative music by living composers, and an extensive network of educational programs offered to area students free of charge. Led by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the PSO presents orchestral, pops, and chamber music programs of the highest artistic quality, supported by lectures and related events that supplement the concert experience. Its flagship summer program the Princeton Festival brings an array of performing arts and artists to Princeton during multiple weeks in June. Through PSO BRAVO!, the orchestra produces wide-reaching and impactful education programs in partnership with local schools and arts organizations that culminate in students attending a live orchestral performance. The PSO receives considerable support from the Princeton community and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, regularly garnering NJSCA’s highest honor. Recognition of engaging residencies and concerts has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the PSO’s commitment to new music has been acknowledged with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and a Copland Fund Award. The only independent, professional orchestra to make its home in Princeton, the PSO performs at historic Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.